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Heather in Bloom

Heather in Bloom, Scotland

This evening, I am focusing on the humble heather plant for which Scotland is justly famous. In fact, about half the world’s heather moors are located in Scotland, extending to about four million acres. The plant is in full bloom last week in August and first week in September when the hills and moorlands a layered with a rich purple blanket of  heather flowers.

Here are some interesting facts and information on heather:

  • Botanical name is Ericaceae which is derived from the Greek for heather or heath.
  • Plant is abundant beacuse of high reproductive capacity.
  • Can survive on many soil types.
  • Hardy and resistant to repeated grazing by cattle and sheep.
  • Is managed by burning off the older plants to encourage regeneration.
  • Red deer, rabbits and hares rely heavily on the plant for food.
  • Provides a natural habitat for birds, especially the Red Grouse which feeds on the young shoots.
  • Relatively unaffected by pests.
  • In rural communities heather has long been used for thatching,  fuel,  making brooms, baskets, doormats, floor tiles and rope.
  • More exotic uses include jewellery, paint colourings and dyes.
  • There is also a heather tea and heather honey. Being Scotland, heather has uses in the whisky making industry. The plant also has healing properties.

Overall, a very easy to  manage and versatile plant. Read more on Scottish Heather…

Spring blooms at Greenbank

Spring blooms at Greenbank, near Glasgow

This evening, I am posting images of Spring which I took yesterday at Greenbank Gardens near Glasgow, Scotland. I could not make a blog post yesterday due to technical problems, possibly due to the server. 

Yesterday, I availed of the mild spring weather and cycled round to historic Greenbank House which dates from the 18th century. Of equal significance is the garden which has a high reputation and is well maintained. After the horrors of the arctic winter, blooms, blossoms and flowers are beginning to emerge and which I have endeavoured to capture in the selection of images below. Snowdrops and various coloured crocus are in abundance. Read more on Spring is in the Air…

Statue at Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Statue at Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Portrack

This evening, I am focusing on an unusual, if not somewhat surreal, garden at Portrack in the Scottish Borders. This Garden of Cosmic Speculation was begun in the late 1970s to the designs of Maggie Keswick and Charles Jencks. The design takes inspiration from such disparate sources as historic British earthworks and Chinese gardens. There are lakes interwoven with the mounds and the water mirroring land and sky. Dotted around can be found statues, artworks and architecture.

This garden is not open to the public on a regular basis. If the opportunity arises I recommend  visitors take the time to quietly explore this unique site and absorb the interaction of artwork and landscape.  

Apologies for the mixed quality of images provided. My photography skills have moved on since these images were taken. However, the selection should provide the reader with a basic appreciation of the site. I will have to return to the garden and refresh my portfolio of images!  Read more on Garden of Cosmic Speculation…