A great BIG smile

The sunshine lighting up my shadier back garden does make me smile as I look out today. Who doesn’t smile on a sunny day? However, that is not why I have a great BIG smile on my face as I write this. I am thinking of another day recently when I was smiling all day long!

There had been a little shopping…

Lunch out …

And a time check…

Okay, the last photo may have got you. It is an image from Wikipedia of the One O’Clock Gun that is fired every day (except Sunday) at precisely 13:00 from Edinburgh Castle. It allows citizens and visitors to check their clocks and watches although it can barely be heard if you are walking amongst the shoppers on the busy Princes Street on a Saturday as we were.

The origin of this tradition lies in the days before accurate timepieces, when sailing ships in the Firth of Forth needed a reliable time signal to check their marine chronometers. Now, I didn’t know that until I looked for an image! Okay this is not a history lesson. This is very much a post for the gardeners, garden Bloggers and one in particular!

Oh… this has been a difficult one to keep my lips sealed on. On Saturday 14th June I was waiting at the entrance of Edinburgh Botanical Gardens at 10am waiting for it to open. A tour bus drew up. The gates of the garden opened and we all walked in together. As I stood inside the gate, waiting with a great BIG smile on my face, my mobile phone rang and the voice on the other end said ‘Hi Shirl, I can see you’. Yolanda was standing outside the gate!

For those who don’t know of Yolanda she lives in the Netherlands and writes the garden blog Bliss. However amongst the blogging community Yolanda is well known for her inspiring posts, writing style, friendship, humour, cats and….

I am guessing there are a number of garden Bloggers going green with envy now. This is the first time I have ever met anyone through the internet and let’s just say my teenage daughters were a little concerned about this. Yolanda and her friend were more than a little amused to hear the warnings I was given before I left that morning! For the record – Yolanda isn’t a dodgy character.

The Rockery was the first part of the garden I took Yolanda and her friend to see. This is one of my favourite parts of this garden. You can see the castle in the final view. We walked and chatted past many borders to and from the Chinese garden – another favourite part of of mine. Some areas you may not recognise Yolanda!

My camera remained firmly in my bag on this visit as the chat was way too much fun to be bothering with it. Anyway, I wanted Yolanda to be the one posting pics as this was her Highland Fling. We didn’t get round all the garden and when I had the opportunity to return the following Saturday I walked with my video camera through the routes we travelled and some of the ones we didn’t have time for like the glasshouses.

These videos are for you Yolanda although I do hope others will enjoy our visit too. You will see in the final video below that the musical instrument in the Palmhouse played when I returned! I was delighted that I could share that with you. I walked through the glasshouses and filmed areas that weren’t too humid for the camera so you could get an idea of what was inside.

Okay so how could I end a special post like this? Well, after waving off Yolanda on her tour bus, as it disappeared along Princes Street heading off to another garden, I decided I would stop of at a favourite garden centre on my way home. I would buy plant to remember this special day by, I have bought many plants in my garden in this way. Just how do you choose?

Well, we stopped and admired candelabra primulas on our walk so when I saw them at the centre I knew it was the one! I know this plant isn’t pink, which we may associate with Yolanda, however it just said to me ‘vibrant and full of life’ and that is how I will remember her on our first meeting.

Oh yes… we will definitely meet again! For today though, we have both decided to post at exactly the same time. What fun – I can’t wait to see how Yolanda has posted on our meeting…

The videos shown above were taken by me in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens in June 2008.

The photos above were taken from Wikipedia. The photo of inside Jenners was taken by Christian Bickel see Creative Commons and Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Germany. The photo of Princes Street gardens was taken by Jaakko Sakari Reinikainen under GNU Free Documentation License. The photo of the one o’clock gun is in the Public domain at Wikipedia.

20 thoughts on “A great BIG smile

  1. Dear Shirl, thank you so very much for this lovely post and the wonderful vids you made of Edinburgh’s beautiful botanical gardens. What fun that that very special instrument in the Palmhouse started playing when you were there to record it. It’s lovely, music from the plants!

    Reading your post brought back so many happy memories, like the exact time that big gun went off when we were walking down Princess street and Gerda was the first to notice it.

    Looking at all the lovely vids brought back great memories (zillions of candelabra primulas!) of 2 blissful hours at the Botanical gardens! I must come again to see the rest too. 🙂

    BTW what a relief to read that I’m not a dodgy character. 😉

  2. Shirl: You are both so lucky! I did chuckle at the dire warnings of your daughters! As if someone with a garden like YE’s could be dodgy at all! When are you coming to the States?

  3. How wonderful that you got to meet! And your tour was outstanding, especially liked the Rockery – thanks!

  4. Hi again Yolanda, Layanee, Gail and Nancy 🙂

    Yolanda – Thank-you for your wonderful company. I’m a delighted I could leave you with some more images of the garden and our day. This post will be great to look back on and yes I too will thing of Gerda when I next her the one o’clock gun ;-D These candelabra primulas were stunning and I found a few more beautiful plantings on little paths as I walked on my return visit that I included in the video. Lol, I couldn’t miss out the dodgy character story!! Have a great weekend 😀

    Layanee – We were lucky that Yolanda’s tour fitted in with where I could get to. Yes, I thought the dodgy character reference would get a few chuckles! Oh… one day I just may visit the States. It could be a few years off at the moment though. It would be nice to meet up with you and some of the many American garden Bloggers I have enjoyed e-meeting!! One day… Have a great weekend 😀

    Gail – Thank-you, it really was great fun meeting up and so last minute too. It really was a wonderful day. Have a great weekend 😀

    Nancy – It was, it really was and quite unexpected. We only arranged it just days before Yolanda left. It nearly didn’t happen though as I originally gave her my Mum’s mobile instead of mine and she never has it on much! Glad you enjoyed the Rockery. I have memories of visiting it as a child when the scale of it was quite different than it is to me now! Have a great weekend 😀

  5. Oh Shirl, you and YE are both so lucky to meet and at such a masterpiece of a garden. I am indeed green with envy, but feel that I was tagging along, invisible, from the descriptions, photos and video. Someday I will go to Scotland and I hope if you come to the US we might get to meet. Maybe next year’s fling in Chicago?

  6. Shirl the videos do much justice to your visit with YE. You are lucky ladies to have been able to get together. I can see why you both liked the bench so. It blends in well with all the palms and ferns. Your choice of plant to remember your visit together is just perfect.

    I was beginning to wonder if all went according to plan since neither of you had posted about your meeting and tour. I am so glad all went well.

  7. I wish I could have a been a little bug riding along on your camera and listening in on the conversation. I’m interested to know if you discovered you had a lot in common other than gardening? Will you continue to try to meet again on another trip? It sounds like a lot of fun to meet someone like that.
    As for the tour, well who could even comment. It was just too perfect!

  8. How fun! It sounds like a great time, and lots to see and talk about. Yes, we garden bloggers are a lot of “dodgy characters”, aren’t we?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  9. Sounds like you two hit it off! The most telling sign is that you left your camera in the bag, content to talk.

  10. Hi Shirl – marvellous post and reading Yolanda’s and yours in tandem was a special treat.

    It’s a lovely idea marking your meeting with a special new plant for your garden and you picked the perfect one.

  11. Hi there Frances, Lisa, Jane-Marie, Carol, guid-rez and Robin 🙂

    Frances – It was great to meet up and walking around the space of a botanical garden was the way to go to chat at the same time as we did. It is great that we could share our visit. I am sure you would love Scotland too – especially the many shade loving plants like the meconopsis as Yolanda says is growing in so many gardens – mine too! I would love to come to the US but the timing of the fling conflicts with very important preparation/exams here for my daughter – only 3 more years to go. After that I might even revisit Chelsea too! Have a great weekend 😀

    Lisa – Thank-you, I can revisit this garden quite easily but I wanted to do the videos for Yolanda and hoped others would enjoy them too. It really was great to get together, that bench was wonderful and there was more than one and they were all tucked in with the plants . There were many things I thought about the primula including the fact that as it matures the rings of flowers increased – I saw that like a friendship too. I am guessing that you put two and two together that we were meeting up as I have posted on the Botanics before and suggested I had something to tell on a couple of posts. As Yolanda said this really was a very frantic last minute arrangement before she left. She went on Holiday again so soon on her return from Scotland there was little time to properly post on our meeting so we decided to leave it until her return. Thanks, it did go well 😀 Have a great weekend 😀

    Jane-Marie – Lol the video camera was in my bag as we went around the garden. I returned the next week to film. We did find some similarities but most of all we just clicked and chatted about all sorts. Yes, I do think we will try to meet again. I will be going to Holland for the next Floriade in 2012 so if we don’t meet up before maybe then. I am delighted you enjoyed the tour too. Have a great weekend 😀

    Carol – Yes it was and so last minute too. Yes, the chat was non stop as were the plants! Lol the thing is over here children are told so much to be so careful on the internet and seriously discouraged from meeting anyone no matter how nice they seemed. One of my daughters even suggested Yolanda could have been a man! I think I forgot to tell her that. Yes, we garden Bloggers are certainly characters – dodgy to some perhaps 😉 Have a great weekend 😀

    Guid-rez – It is and I always forget it has so many areas of planting. Yes, it was a great place for wandering, chatting and new memories. Have a great weekend 😀

    Robin – We did, as I said above it was very last minute and I am so glad it all fitted in as it did. It would have been a shame if we missed the opportunity. Yes, poor Yolanda probably didn’t get as many pics as she could have but she did get some as you will have seen on her blog. Have a great weekend 😀

    Ladyluz – Thank-you! Yes, it was fun posting at the same time I am glad you enjoyed it that way. Before going to the Garden Centre I really didn’t have a plant in mind but looking back at our meeting later it really was the only one to get. Had I not had meconopsis already I might have bought that as we saw so many clumps of them too. Have a great weekend 😀

  12. Such a lovely post. I am so pleased you had a good time – and what a good idea to buy a plant to celebrate your meeting with Yolanda Elizabet.
    It is lovely to meet with a fellow garden blogger. I felt the same joy when I met up with VP (Veg Plotting)

  13. Thanks to Yolanda, I have also found my way to the ‘lady answering the mobile phone’. I can only say we are certainly relieved to find out Yolanda is not a dodgy lady hiding behind her blissful blog LOL. It must be quite delightful for two outstanding people (mind you, gardeners ARE outstanding) to turn their blogging correspondence into one great friendship. And all that in the extraordinary place that Edinburgh is. I enjoyed reading both of yours’ point of view, I have been infatuated with Scotland since my first wandering about the Highlands, and Edinburgh remains one of my favourite places in the world, ever. And I’m glad I ran into such a great gardening blog, keep up the great work and may your friendship with Yolanda bloom as nicely as your garden.

  14. What fun you must have had. A great idea to buy a plant to remember the day. I think a lot of us gardeners have memory gardens of a sort….Mom’s plant, something from Grandma or a neighbor. My husband would love the “One O’Clock Gun” His watch has to be correct within a second. He is kept busy when the power goes off and he has to change all the clocks. Glad you had a good time.

  15. Shirl, what a fun day you both had, and fun for us to share the day by reading the two different points of view, and seeing the photos.
    You had a great idea to go back and film the videos. The gardens are fantastic, and the perfect setting for your meeting.
    Your daughters’ concern made me smile 🙂

  16. Isn’t it wonderful when your kids start worrying about you for the same reasons you worry about them? When I was seventeen my parents went out for thir once a year dinner dance and didn’t come back till 2am. I was frantic. I never, ever came home late without phoning after that!

  17. Hi there Karen, Viooltje, Balisha, Kerri and Sue 🙂

    Karen – Thank-you. It was a lovely day and I am delighted with my new plant. I read your post meeting VP and thoroughly enjoyed it too. I am guessing you could have the same very heavy rain as we are having. Have a good week 😀

    Viooltje – Thank-you, what a generous comment 😀 I am glad you enjoyed our postings and I do hope I can share more of Scotland with you in the future. I was out and about today filming red squirrels and birds. I also have images that you may enjoy from another garden for a future posting. Have a good week 😀

    Balisha – Thanks, yes we did and yes there will be many gardens like mine I agree. I smiled to read your comment about the gun to set your husband’s watch – that would be a wonderful turn around for technology 😉 Have a good week 😀

    Kerri – Thank-you, it was fun meeting and posting too. I didn’t have the video idea when we met. It only came to me the following weekend and I am so glad it did. We only saw bits of the garden in the time but I agree it was a great setting. I decided my daughters’ comments just had to be part of my posting when it amused Yolanda and Gerda so much. I never posted what was actually said 😉 Have a good week 😀

    Sue – You comment did make me laugh! I too have a very similar memory ‘waiting up’ for my parents around the same age. They bring this back to me often!! Apparently I stood at the top of the stair with my hands on my hips and exclaimed ‘What time do you call this?’ or very similar. I too was very worried as I knew they crossed a river alongside a railway line! The mobile phone is a wonderful thing now – even they have one now I made sure of that 😉 Have a good week 😀

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