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Author Topic: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden  (Read 152092 times)

David Nicholson

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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2013, 07:55:41 PM »
Well done CF, surely one of Scotland's "hidden" gems and should be much wider known. I've never been, but then I'm miles away, but I shall make it one of these days. I haven't read it all yet but I'm about to pour a large glass of red and do some savouring!
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
"Victims of satire who are overly defensive, who cry "foul" or just winge to high heaven, might take pause and consider what exactly it is that leaves them so sensitive, when they were happy with satire when they were on the side dishing it out"

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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2013, 09:12:35 PM »
Living in Aberdeen, David, I can confirm the assertion that the Cruickshank Garden is one of the city's best kept secrets- too many locals do not know of its existence, let alone have ever they visited it.
I rather think that many botanic gardens are to be found which also merit the title of  "Secret Gardens" - I am pleased that the CBG and it's supporters, the FCBG are able to share  a spotlight here - but what of other botanic gardens who may be relatively unknown in their own area ?
There must be ways for local groups in many areas to join together to support such gardens to mutual benefit.
I hope to encourage such projects for other gardens - help uncover these secret treasures.

Cruickshank Botanic Garden, Aberdeen
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/botanic-garden/

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Garden Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden- January 2013
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2013, 03:43:10 PM »
Cruickshank Garden Notes   January  2013

So, as the rampant revelry finally peters out, a new year visit to a deserted Cruickshank Garden on a sunny afternoon provides a change of pace.  The sun and burgeoning buds combine to bring a feeling that the new growing season and peradventure warmth approach - a comforting illusion.  The ground, however, remains super soggy, with many fields sporting hopefully temporary ponds, if not lakes and indeed the lawns in the Cruickshank, squelch with every step, and a period of relative drought would be hugely welcome.

Rhododendrons seem to have enjoyed the wet autumn and many are well covered in large promising buds. The wet weather doesn’t seem to have stopped work in the Garden, with new paths proliferating, radical pruning and turf lifting and laying in a number of places and a resultant and impressive pile of debris to be dealt with. The first snowdrop buds are just visible in the small lawn to the right of the Chanonry entrance, though the yellow violas bedded out in front of the nearby greenhouses provide the biggest splash of colour.  Framed against the blue sky, the tangled head of the weeping ash, Fraxinus excelsior ‘Pendula’ is very pleasing - will it survive this latest threat to its species?


Ulmus 
in CBG, photo Roma Fiddes

The two weeping elms further into the garden, again at their best I think bare-branched, have so far not succumbed to Dutch elm disease but maybe this is just luck; other mature elms in various Chanonry gardens are already victims.


Prunus 'Moerheimii'
[size=0pt]©  [/size]Dave Emley
 (photo by  courtesy of Dave Emley from Keele University, where a National Collection of Cherries is held http://www.keele.ac.uk/cherries/  )

The branches of the wide–spreading cherry, Prunus ‘Moerheimii’, in front of the Auris building, are studded with clusters of buds, too early for any colour yet, not so for another fine small weeping tree further on  the left, Parrotia persica, a witch hazel relative, whose buds are just showing red as the petal-less flowers emerge.  Its patchwork bark is seen to advantage in winter. A new grass path is been created near the north west corner of the Auris building, allowing both access and interesting new views through to the pond and old order bed area beyond. The large holly to one side of this path has had its skirts lifted, allowing space and light to large witch hazel, Hamamelis mollis, and the fascinating chimaera + Laburnocytisus adamii on its northern side.


Hamamelis mollis   photo Ashley Allshire, Co Cork

An old path has been cleared at the eastern of the sunken garden allowing views down the scree beds to the bulb lawn - a splendid way to revitalise an established garden.  It is too early yet for the spring display in the bulb lawn where only a few leftover bedraggled colchicum flowers are visible.
 The as yet uncleared  herbaceous border looks interesting in shades of brown, with multiple seedheads waving in the breeze, food for hungry birds.  On the long wall near the terrace the dangling buds of the Chilean shrub, Crinodendron hookerianum, promise a fine display of large red lanterns in early summer; too tender for cold inland gardens it can make a magnificent show in a sheltered spot in Aberdeen.  At the other end of the wall, by the gate through to the rock garden, the grey-green catkins of another wall shrub, the evergreen Garrya elliptica from California are already 6cm long and growing.


 Crinodendron hookerianum
in the CBG  photoRoma Fiddes

It is still too early for the spring feast of flower even in the rock garden area, though here again the shapes of trees both young and mature, the varied colours of the evergreens, the structure of the beds and  rock work all provide a pleasing leisurely food for the senses.  The weeping ‘Katsura tree’ Cercidiphyllum japonicum f. pendulum, looks particularly good by the lowest pool, and the large southern beech, Nothofagus obliqua with its four large trunks is always magnificent. So home to start planning for the long hot summer of 2013.  Hmmm!


David Atkinson

 
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 08:38:07 PM by Cruickshank Friend »
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2013, 08:27:42 PM »
30th Anniversary celebrations and Noel Pritchard Memorial Lecture  30th May -Speaker to be announced.


Full FCBG newsletter can be downloaded here
 http://www.abdn.ac.uk/botanic-garden/uploads/files/CBG%20Jan__13.pdf


Next FCBG  meeting is on 11th March 2013 - SRGC/FCBG members Ian and Clare Alexander have made a wonderful garden in Aberdeenshire and  Ian will tell us all about it.

« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 04:06:39 PM by Cruickshank Friend »
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2013, 03:15:00 PM »
The  speaker for the evening of 30th Anniversary celebration of the FCBG is now confirmed as Timothy Walker, the Director of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. His  subjectwill be "From Diaz to Diamonds" - Plants of South Africa.


At the AGM of the FCBG  on 11th April, David Atkinson was elected as President.

David, whose Garden Notes enliven this diary, has served a previous term as FCBG President which, like his period as Convenor of the SRGC Aberdeen Group, was so long ago, that none of us  can quite recall when it was!

Congratulations, David!
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2013, 03:18:46 PM »
Cruickshank Garden Notes, end of March 2013

What a contrast to last year, when my spring meander round the Cruickshank garden was conducted in warm sunshine, with cheery groups of all ages enjoying the fresh air and abundant flowers. Though admittedly the temperature plummeted the first week of April when we had snow and more damagingly, serious frost which caught many rash plants unawares. No chance at the moment of plants getting ahead of themselves; the temperature is well below average and though the city is now snow free, we still have a good 15cm or so lying and disconsolate chickens at Craigievar.

So having descended through the snowline, I arrived at a chilly Cruickshank, with an icy wind and occasional sleet showers. The snowdrop hybrid, ‘Fred’s Giant’ is still flowering under the large beech by the Chanonry entrance but no daffodils are visible yet. The fresh green foliage of Allium ursinum, ramsons or wild garlic, provides attractive ground cover and its characteristic garlic odour, under the shrubs on the left, including an early-flowering pink un-named rhododendron whose blooms had miraculously escaped the frost. Ramsons, though attractive under trees and with culinary uses as flavouring in salads or cooked as a vegetable, is too invasive for ordinary garden purposes.

The large double gean, Prunus avium ‘Plena’ on the right and the smaller flowering cherry in front of the Auris building, Prunus ‘Moerheimii’ which was in full flower this time last year, are both well budded up waiting for warmer weather. The former peat beds, now rebuilt with logs rather than peat blocks are also waiting for warmer weather to enable replanting. The new path which has been opened to the old order beds and the attendant pruning give an interesting view across the wild-life pond and of the ‘ancient’ hedgerow where the skilful laying of the hedge can be appreciated.  The large witch hazel, Hamamelis mollis just beyond the new path is past its best but small petal-less red flowers can still be seen on its near relative Parrotia persica, whose pleasing patchwork bark is clearly visible at the moment – as it its ambition to swallow up the nearby path!

Past the weeping elm, Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’ already in flower, the shrub border leading down to the boundary wall is the scene of much activity. Most of the understorey of Skimmia has been removed and I look forward to the replanting.  The two somewhat sad maidenhair trees and the ancient conifer, Ginkgo biloba are now easily seen, though I fear we need some global warming for them to thrive up here. Hellebores of various sorts provide pleasing floral punctuation marks through the garden; there are Helleborus orientalis in various colours and the very weather-resistant stinking hellebore, H. foetidus – though I can’t detect a strong smell in these cold conditions and the less hardy H. argutifolius with pleasant lime green flowers on rather floppy stems.

The foliage of dog’s tooth violets, Erythronium dens-canis are already visible in the bulb lawn at the bottom of the sunken garden, soon to be joined by other delights, crocus, miniature daffodils, fritillaries, orchids and more, all looking pleasingly natural coming through the grass. Beds round about are filling with the vivid blue of scilla, corydalis in various pleasing colours, trilliums and so on.

As usual the herbaceous border is neatly ready for action, last year’s foliage in a big pile in the compost area and shoots beginning to show, with a rather fine dark-leaved bergenia occupying the western  tip.  The terrace is hugely improved by the removal of the lowest branches of the big pine which had been increasingly overshadowing it and I look forward to a fine display  from the Paeonia rockii which should thrive with more  sun. Despite the bad winter, a specimen of the not entirely hardy curry plant, Helichrysum italicum seems to have survived in a pot here.

The Garrya elliptica by the gate through to the rock garden is wreathed in long grey catkins, looking good against  its grey-green evergreen leaves. Through the gate, even the rock garden is only just waking up after winter, with the early bulbs putting on a brave show with some support. The dwarf forsythia, F. viridissima ‘Bronxensis’ is already covered in yellow flowers.  The Cyclamen coum, nestling at the base of the large monkey puzzle tree are splendid, their fuchsia pink flowers a beacon of hope! Scilla, dwarf narcissus and early primula add to the display.

I hope that in the next set of notes I will be complaining about the heat and the problems of keeping plants alive through a long hot summer – hmm!
David Atkinson.
 
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 03:29:12 PM by Cruickshank Friend »
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Future of another Botanic Garden under threat
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2013, 03:27:16 PM »
St. Andrews Botanic Garden

The future of St. Andrews Botanic Garden is under threat as a result of a proposed cut in funding. Fife Council leases the site from the University of St. Andrews and provides finance to run the Garden but new arrangements will  be needed as this is about to be significantly reduced.

A Steering Group has been set up and authorised by the Friends of the Botanic Garden, and is currently drafting a Business Plan for the future management of the Garden. This Plan will be considered by the University in June and must be approved by them before a future lease can be negotiated.
If you would like to help us keep this beautiful and important Garden open, please show your support by signing the petition

For further information and to consider signing a  petition (before  5th May) to save the Garden, see their website :

http://st-andrews-botanic.org

« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 06:02:13 PM by Maggi Young »
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2013, 02:28:37 PM »
Head Gardener of the Cruickshank, Richard Walker with his wife Anne and family were in the press recently as they planted a tree in the arboretum in memory of their son Cameron who died tragically three years ago.




« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 02:40:09 PM by Cruickshank Friend »
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2013, 02:41:43 PM »
Cruickshank Garden Notes – early July - David Atkinson


After a long drawn-out winter, it actually feels like summer; shorts and t-shirts are the order of the day and barbeque smells waft across the evening air.  Plants in general seem to be thriving and a late start with no unseasonal frosts means that growth has been steady and in some cases almost invisible! The barley in the fields around us, which was sown weeks later than usual, has already caught up and the foreshortening of the season has increased the visual impact of the floral display and allowed the enjoyment of combinations not usually seen.

Many trees and shrubs seem to be having a very good flowering year. Rhododendrons in many gardens were covered in bloom, rowans have flowered profusely in the countryside, as have gorse and broom, and early roses like ‘Canary Bird’ and Rosa moyesii forms are splendid, as indeed are the wild dog roses by roadsides.

So to the Cruickshank Garden on a pleasant warm morning, with foliage still looking fresh and new, birds singing, buds swelling and gardeners hard at work. The grass under the large beech, home to many snowdrops is now mown but in the bed beyond it the New Zealand iris relative, Libertia grandiflora (probably!) is seeding itself around. This evergreen perennial forming a large clump of erect, linear leaves, with clusters of white flowers borne on stiff stems in late spring and early summer, followed by conspicuous seed capsules, is best suited to this slightly rank situation – there are not quite enough flowers for the amount of foliage to my mind and indeed whilst it seems to thrive in Aberdeen, it’s not reliably hardy further inland.
The former peat beds – now log roll beds? – have a variety of pleasant primulae – P. secundiflora and P. burmanica enjoying the relatively cool conditions in a northish facing situation but even more striking is a giant lily Cardiocrinum giganteum var. yunnanense some two metres or so tall and about to open its large trumpet shaped flowers, white with pleasant purple stains at the base of the petals.  This bulb takes about five years to reach flowering size, when it flowers and dies, leaving a number of daughter bulbs as offsets. In my experience these daughter bulbs survive best if dug up in autumn and are established in pots before being planted out in a moist rich sheltered position, though the plant is hardy enough to stand winters inland.


Richard and the lily
 
There are (were?) some fine lettuces and other tempting delights in the new display vegetable garden, on the old ‘Order Bed’ area. Wandering past this new addition led me to the boundary wall by St. Machar Drive, where I noticed for the first time a fine specimen of the American maple Acer macrophyllum which does indeed have very spectacular leaves here, 30cm or so across but reaching 60cm in the wild. This species is native to North America from southern Alaska to southern California and if Wikipeda is to be believed, provides wood that is used for veneers in furniture and musical instruments and has similar concentrations of sugar in its sap as the sugar maple, A. saccharum but makes a differently flavoured syrup.
Just to the west of this tree, also next to the wall, a fine medlar Mespilus germanica is covered in relatively large white flowers over leathery leaves, whilst, further along in the rose garden the display is just beginning with the species rose R. moyesii, both ‘Sealing Wax’ and ‘Geranium’ flowering well, as the more refined roses are still getting into their stride.
The herbaceous border is also just coming on stream, becoming increasingly colourful day by day and all beautifully and almost in visibly staked, as usual. Geranium sylvaticum forms are striking as is the Geranium macrorhizum, which occupies the south-east corner of the border, gently smothering all opposition. A meadow rue, Thalictrum lucidum nearly two metres tall with good dark green foliage and sprays of yellow flowers also catches the eye as does a good American Jacob’s ladder, Polemonium foliossimum with lots of pleasant  bluey-purple flowers.


The terrace wall, photo Roma Fiddes 2010

On the terrace wall the fiery orange-red flowers of the Chilean fire bush, Embothrium lanceolatum stand out, though the tree itself  looks in danger of being smothered by the super vigorous climber Vitus coignetiae – the crimson glory vine. Below it the subtler charms of the bladder senna, Colutea x media ‘Copper Beauty’ with bronzey orange pea flowers can also be enjoyed. The nearby wisteria and Ribes speciosum – the fuchsia flowered gooseberry – have all but finished flowering as has the excellent tree paeony, P. rockii.

Ribes speciosum,  photo Roma Fiddes 2010

The pools and stream in the rock garden are delightful on a warm day and the shapes of the trees and shrubs please even as the spring floral display lessens, though it is still worth a close look to spot late joys like the hardy gingers Roscoea humeana and the diminutive R. alpina.
So let’s hope that the present warm spell continues, with rain overnight a couple of times a week – perfect gardening weather!   
   
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 02:57:24 PM by Cruickshank Friend »
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2013, 03:00:55 PM »
 More photos of trees and shrubs in the CBG from  June 2010 by Roma Fiddes here:  http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=5561.msg156285#msg156285



One of Roma’s photos from 2010 showed Juniperus recurvus coxii :


Juniperus recurvus coxii

This past week vandals broke into the garden and set fire to a plastic bin in this fine tree burning the tree beyond saving and it has had to be removed. A sad and shocking thing to happen.

Report of the vandalism, again from the Press and Journal:


 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 03:03:04 PM by Cruickshank Friend »
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2013, 03:06:27 PM »
The press report of the flowering of the Cardiocrinum earlier in the month was more cheerful news:





Copied from the Press and Journal of 6th July 2013


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Garden Open: Birken Cottage, Burnhervie
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2013, 03:46:31 PM »
Garden Open with CBG connections!

Birken Cottage, Burnhervie     

This is the garden of Ian and Clare Alexander.  Ian is the retired Regius Professor of Botany at Aberdeen University and former Keeper of the Cruickshank Botanic Garden and Clare too, is a botanist. 
Open on Sunday  July 28 from 2-6pm. £4 entry
The steeply sloping one acre garden rises from a wet, streamside gully to woodland, past  sunny terraces and a small parterre to dry, flowery banks.
Packed with plants, this is its first season of opening to the public.
A proportion of the proceeds will go to the Cruickshank Botanic Garden. The Friends of the CBG enjoyed a talk on the creation of the garden earlier in the year.   
Burnhervie is three miles west of Inverurie. Leave Inverurie by the B9170, Blackhall  Road or the B993, St James’ Place.   
E-mail: i.alexander@abdn.ac.uk Tel: 01467 623013
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 03:50:10 PM by Cruickshank Friend »
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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2013, 07:09:54 PM »
 The FCBG Lecture Programme 2013-14
Meetings are on THURSDAYS in the Zoology Building at 7.30pm 
Zoology Lecture Theatre, Zoology Building, Tillydrone Avenue ABERDEEN AB24 2TZ

  Everyone welcome!  FREE to Friends of the Cruickshank Botanic Garden.

   Non-members -donation at the door. 
 

10th October 2013    'On Auriculas'
Alison and Mark from Angus Plants give an overview of the history, cultivation and propagation of auriculas, describing many popular types of this delightful plant
 

14th November 2013 'Plant classification: Syzygium APG stories'
James Byng from Royal Botanic Gardens Kew describes his work revising the Myrtaceae genus Syzygium for Africa and India and explains the molecular APG plant family classification in everyday language
 

12th December 2013 'Plant hunting in North Vietnam'
Jamie Taggart from Linn Botanic Gardens Hellensburgh talks about temperate flora seen on his trip to North Vietnam in November 2011 and the acquisition of many new plant introductions
 

9th January 2014 'Growing organic: skills and practice'
Wendy Seel from Vital Veg in North Tillydaff Midmar gives experienced, practical insights into gardening organic
 

13th February 2014 'Honeybees and their hives in the Botanic Garden'
Ewan Campbell from the School of Biological Sciences Aberdeen talks about research on honey bees carried out at the University of Aberdeen and the purpose of the hives in the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens
 

13th March 2014 'RHS Lecture'
RHS Growing for Success lecture. The RHS are currently reviewing their lectures.
 

25th March 2014 'Birds in gardens- with sound effects!'
Stan da Prato Scottish Ornithologist's Club reveals the birds in our gardens and their songs. This is a joint meeting with the Scottish Rock Garden Club and please note it is on a TUESDAY
 

10th April 2014 'Fungi: friend or foe?'
Liz Holden from Grampian Fungus Group introduces us to the diversity of the kingdom of fungi explaining how fungi function all around us and, in the main, to our benefit.
 

8th May 2014 'Genetics, biodiversity and conservation'
Pete Hollingsworth from Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh describes his work on the evolution of plant biodiversity and the processes of taxonomic complexity and diversification
The Noel Pritchard Memorial Lecture
 

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Maggi Young

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Re: Notes from the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2014, 04:47:22 PM »
St. Andrews Botanic Garden

The future of St. Andrews Botanic Garden is under threat as a result of a proposed cut in funding. Fife Council leases the site from the University of St. Andrews and provides finance to run the Garden but new arrangements will  be needed as this is about to be significantly reduced.

A Steering Group has been set up and authorised by the Friends of the Botanic Garden, and is currently drafting a Business Plan for the future management of the Garden. This Plan will be considered by the University in June and must be approved by them before a future lease can be negotiated.
If you would like to help us keep this beautiful and important Garden open, please show your support by signing the petition



   

The future of the St Andrews Botanic Garden seems secured  - http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~gdk/stabg_new/fbg/GardenFutureDec13.html

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~gdk/stabg_new/fbg/images/PressRelease6sep13.pdf

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~gdk/stabg_new/fbg/images/REPORT%20FROM%20THE%20CHAIR.pdf

http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~gdk/stabg_new/fbg/images/Botanic%20Garden%20Vision%202019.pdf     "Vision for the Garden in 2019 "
and a Director is sought....   http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=11321.new#new
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 04:51:24 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

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Cruickshank Botanic Garden- Winter notes for January 2104
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2014, 01:30:15 PM »
 Winter notes  January 2104- David Atkinson

So this is past Christmas, and what have we done. Another year over and a new just begun-well nearly, I’m writing this on a dreich New Year’s Eve. Time, perhaps, to take stock and reflect on the last 12 months in the garden. Somewhat tardily Spring finally appeared and stuck around with no relapses or late frosts, giving way graciously to a warm, sunny and dry summer. Plants late into growth flourished with no check and in general the floral display has been luxuriant. Vegetables which sulked in last year’s damp cold have thriven and many people had a fine crop of soft fruit. This warm summer has been followed by a mild and prolonged Autumn, helping to ripen wood in trees and shrubs against the rigours of winter, though the very strong winds of late somewhat colour this rosy picture. A lot of mature trees have been blown down, fences, walls and hedges destroyed or damaged, and a reminder given to many of how much we rely on electricity!So to the Cruickshank on a dark, dreich December day, with a stiff wind and driving rain making the juggling of notebook, pencil and umbrella a bit trying and diminishing the joy of being out in a garden. Still, there are pleasures to be found, and already signs of the new season can be spotted. The tips of spring bulbs are, for example, precociously poking through the grass under the big beech tree by the Chanonry entrance while on the other side of the path, the winter flowering Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ is already covered in sweet-smelling pink flowers- a must for any garden. The mass of rhododendrons to the north of this small lawn has been extensively pruned and a circular path through them established, revealing a fine specimen of Magnolia kobus, which I have failed to notice until now. This tree, native to forest areas of Japan, is closely related to the better known Magnolia stellata, but unlike this latter is taller growing and does not flower till it has reached an age of 12 to 15 years. The specimen here must be at least that old so keep your eyes peeled this April! The swelling buds on the various witch hazels, Hamamelis mollis cvs, near the path through to the weeping elm, will have opened by the time you read this as have those on the specimen planted near my front door, though it requires a still mild day for the sweet fragrance of its sulphur yellow spidery flowers to really fill the air. The weeping elm, Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’, as yet unaffected by Dutch Elm Disease, is as pleasingly architectural with the tracery of its bare winter branches studded with the already swelling buds of its early wind pollinated reddish flowers. I note in passing, courtesy of Hillier’s Manual of Trees and Shrubs, an indispensable reference book even in our online world, that the ‘Dutchness’ of Dutch Elm Disease, does not connect it with the Dutch Elm, or imply that it originated in Holland, but refers to the fact that the early work on the disease was carried out there. So dull and wet was the day of my visit that the glistening white berries of, the snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus (probably), that fringe the southern edge of the sunken garden actually gave me momentary pleasure, my usual interaction with this plant, being attempts to eradicate its fiercely suckering thickets from mildly neglected gardens, its resurgent abilities admirable in a more desirable species. The first signs of spring bulbs in the bulb lawn at the bottom of the sunken garden are just visible, while a good pink form of the South African, Schizostylis coccinea- now properly Hesperantha coccinea- is bravely flowering away on the south facing slope. This species, whose flowers range from good reds through pink to white, seems much hardier in our conditions than is implied in reference books, and thrives in moist, but well-drained sunny conditions. There is also a fine planting opportunity for choice rock plants, on the west facing slope, created by the untimely demise of the conifer that previously occupied the site. There have not yet been severe enough frosts to cut down the splendid grey pinnate foliage of an another South African native, Melianthus major on the terrace, still giving off a peanut butter like smell from its bruised leaves. Further along the evergreen Killarney strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, is covered with small white bell flowers. On the south side of the herbaceous border the newly extended and planted bed of deciduous azaleas promises a fine spring display. In the rock garden, you can find groups of Galanthus reginae-olgae, a lovely autumn-flowering snowdrop from the Taygetos Mountains of Southern Greece and more clumps of Hesperantha  coccinea. Though the flowers have gone, the beautifully marbled foliage of Cyclamen hederifolium is delightful in the dawn redwood bed, soon to joined by the flowers of its early spring flowering relative, Cyclamen coum. The weather as I write this is just as unpleasant as the day I visited the Cruickshank, so time for planning and gardening in the mind and hope for another warm summer.


David Atkinson
Cruickshank Botanic Garden, Aberdeen
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/botanic-garden/

Friends of the Cruickshank Botanic Garden
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/botanic-garden/friends/

 


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