Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Puzzle

I don't usually post pics of this part of my garden. It's a weedy wooded north-facing slope. I feel I should be doing something with it, yet each year I postpone starting anything major. I think the problem is knowing exactly what to do with it.

It's all been a bit of a puzzle for me, so that should be the clue to what this picture is of!

It's Araucaria araucana, better know as the Monkey-puzzle tree. It is the national tree of Chile, and is native to the south and central regions of that country. After WW2 it was planted frequently, and inappropriately, in suburban gardens in this country. It grows to 40 metres tall with a two metre diameter trunk. I was interested to see today, at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, newly planted examples of the tree.

The plan was to spend an hour or two at the gardens, to see if I could get some inspiration on what I might do with my own wild place. Mind you, it was a bit off-putting at the east gate, where these disinfectant mats had been laid to promote awareness of Sudden Oak Death, a serious plant disease whose spores can be spread on footwear.

The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh is a fantastic place, one that I spend too little time at. Cedrus atlantica Glauca is the most spectacular and largest of all the blue leaved conifers and this is a fine specimen at Edinburgh.

Tree photography is something I have to work on! This is Cedrus deodara.

Easier perhaps to concentrate on shrubs. This hydrangea was looking spectacular!

It's a fine place, but today was not one for inside! Did I get inspiration? Not really, but it was a pleasant day out!

This is Britain's largest plant fossil, trunk of a tree (Pitus withami) which was growing some 330 million years ago. It was found at Craigleith quarry not far from the Royal Botanic garden where it is now exhibited!

I can't resist showing these next couple of pics. On my walk back I crossed over the Water of Leith where I spotted what I thought must be an early Festival Fringe installation. A small audience was watching this heron, which was seemingly unaware of us, just looking for its dinner.

Unsuccessfully, during the time we watched. Indeed, a local resident told me that he had often watched the heron, and had yet to see it ever catch a fish.

But we did see it having a scratch!

Photos © Skip Cottage

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