Garden visit, in search of berries…

… at The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, last week, pre stormy weather, snow flurries and temperature drops. I’d take an accurate guess that the garden won’t look quite the same a week on. Yesterday alone will have changed the landscape – it was a quite ‘orrible day.

Have one tree to straighten here today – moved 1 month ago so not properly rooted to spot. Fortunately my night cam survived the double storey (wooden) guinea pig hutch fall on it. Unfortunately the small gorrillapod tripod has been broken at the head. Better that than the cam.

The hutch was sighted under my pergola in a (lol) sheltered spot. The wind pushed through a substantial planting of ivy and that’s after a wind breaking ranch style fence and another structure with ivy just a few metres before it! We heard it thud down suspecting our chimney had come down… phew!

Okay… let’s leave the storms for now and we’ll try not think of likely damage to the Botanical Gardens and head back to a calmer, chilly, sunny morning last week…

As mentioned on my recent garden visit video post of this garden, here are the photos of what caught my eye on the first day of December. In search of plants and trees with berries, I went to my favourite area of this garden – The Chinese Hillside. I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m not sure on the ID of the black berries shown below (any suggestions please) but the red cotoneaster berries were very familiar after seeing them being eaten by Blackbirds in my garden. Actually, it was after that post I decided on the theme for this visit to the Botanics.

The orange/brown berries above, catching the sun, high up on a tree caught my eye. I never read the label when I took my photo before moving on (it was chilly, I wasn’t wearing gloves) and now realise that they were in fact fruits on the Malus, yunnanensis. Okay, not berries then. Pretty though 🙂

Not so pretty was the sight of the pink/white berries (Sorbus aff. filipes) on the ground beside the path. Shame, I thought, I wondered if the birds will eat them from there. Maybe the Blackbirds will find them as they scurry about the ground. I heard them clearly calling and chattering as I walked through this part of the garden.

The Hillside garden is my fav because of the thick planting of trees and shrubs that you wind your way through. I know so many birds will be in there but it isn’t until this time of year that you can get a chance to see what you hear singing, calling or chattering.

I only took my wide angle camera lens so couldn’t get close-up shots but was thrilled to be able to see what looked like a pair of Bullfinches – definitely a male (deep pink breast, bottom corner pic below) and female Bullfinch.

Hopefully, the montage below captures the feel of this area of the garden just before winter takes hold. There is more depth to the planting and design than is perhaps seen on first impressions. You can see the waterfalls were in full flow then.

Many visitors may just walk along the winding paths through large shrubs, bamboos and trees, over the small Chinese bridges and down to the Pagoda and pool at the bottom. Lol… chatting as they go too. I hear them when I stand with my camera. It’s good to see a garden come alive with ‘people’ visitors too especially families of all ages/generations getting out together 🙂

Catching my eye above, top pic RH corner, (yours too probably) was the Liriope platyphylla flowering. It’s one of those plants that is listed as having a blue flower but for me it was a wonderful purple/blue. With an upright flower spike growing above an evergreen grass-like clump it would fit nicely into my garden. Yep… flowering at this time of year too… definitely on the wishlist 🙂

My garden visit wasn’t long so I headed to my new (next favourite) part of this garden – The Biodiversity garden sited beside the John Hope Gateway Visitor Centre.

You can see below that this area has a naturalistic style of planting with flows of grasses, cornus and a variety other plants grouped en masse. You can also see we have paved, straighter winding paths here as well as soft curved ones. I’ve chatted long enough… it’s the weekend, I’ll let you enjoy a quite stroll by yourself 🙂

That Calendula on the path edge and poppy flower buds made me smile and show that plants do their very best to survive and set seed. I suspect the Calendula wont’s be looking like this today but perhaps the poppy will have held on. With a stronger drop in temps, its days are probably numbered though. Winter is on its way. Oh yes… not sure on that orange wall at this time of year.

One last thing before you go… note the bird feeders in the Biodiversity Garden. Yes, it looks like there is a camera there (perhaps images shown in the centre) but what interests me is that there are no plants below the tree with feeders on its branches (I try to do this too). Perhaps there were plants earlier in the year but now during winter when more birds come to the feeders visitors, people and birds, will get a clearer view of the area. For the gardeners who tend this area it makes for weed damage control too when uneaten seeds germinate. Win, win all round 🙂

Well, that’s enough from me, hope you’ve enjoyed (my) brief visit… lol! Wishing you a great weekend. Stay safe and warm 🙂

This post was written by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2011.

8 thoughts on “Garden visit, in search of berries…

  1. It is no wonder why you go back to the garden time and again. Such a beautiful place even in early winter. I see those planted areas with grasses. I don't like grasses in my garden much but when I see the winter interest they create I start thinking about where I could plant some. Almost all of those grasses need full sun. That is part of my problem. No full sun where I want to plant them. Oh well, I will find something to plant there. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

  2. I remember when the Chinese garden was first built and it matured so quickly. The new biodiversity garden is a great. Good to view while having breakfast…got my priorities right last time we were there.
    Lovley winter post, Shirley

  3. Shirley, just been watching Gardeners World. They used privet berries which are black and look like your photos. Privets originate in China.

  4. Shirley, your photos are just beautiful. What about those collages! (How did you manage them?)

    You have a great Eye with the Camera.
    Happy December!

  5. Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a great weekend!

    Lisa, delighted you’ve enjoyed seeing this one again. There are many parts to this garden as I’ve said before. The video last weekend shows you more.

    Ah now Lisa… my back garden doesn’t get full sun all day either. I’d say it’s partially shady. Maybe you might be interested in the grasses I have successfully grown there: Stipa tenuissima; Carex morrowii fishers form; Miscanthus sinensis 'Kleine Fontäne'; Carex buchananii and Miscanthus zebrinus. Maybe others might like to list ones they’ve had success with in shadier spots too 😀

    Janet, ah yes… I remember it when it first opened too. I was quite excited to see it then! Ah… it was breakfast on the balcony then. Thanks, hopefully this winter won’t be too harsh on us and we can get out to enjoy it.

    Thanks, Janet, for coming back with a second comment for my black berry ID. Not sure they are privet. My neighbours have that and I would have recognised the leaves. I think these leaves were bigger than privet. Out of curiosity, I’ll maybe email the Botanics my photo and ask them. Don’t know if they’d reply but I could try 🙂

    wellywoman, ah yes… you might guess I would recommend a visit here 😀

    Costas, thanks, it’s nice to pick out little bits of a garden isn’t it 🙂

    Shady, thanks… oh these collages take me quite an age and I am my own worst enemy and change things around a lot. (I crop photos, copy them on to a word doc, scale and join them, format them with white lines, group them, copy then to pint then save them as a jpeg). I am certain there are many programs that could do this automatically but this is the way I have always done them and its fairly automatic to me now 🙂 Thanks, I have fun with my camera that’s for sure… and a Happy December to you too 😀

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