Filed under: creativity, gardening, Scotland | Tags: botanical gardens edinburgh, orchids
In Edinburgh Botanical Gardens
Filed under: creativity, gardening, science, Scotland, stories | Tags: Amorphophallus titanium, botany, Corpse flower, Royal botanic Gardens Edinburgh, scottish botany, titus arum
Have you been following the progress of this beauty?
You can keep up to date with it here.
I’ve had my eye on it all summer.
It’s called Amorphophallus titanium which roughly translated means absolutely ginormous penis. And it’s growing right here in Edinburgh in the Royal Botanic Gardens’ greenhouse. Currently it is progressing by 10cm a day and when and if it flowers it will have been the first to do so in Scotland and is a very rare happening when cultivated.
Have a freaking look at this. (A specimen cultivated in Stuttgart)
It has the largest “unbranched” inflorescance of any plant in the world which roughly translated means it has humungous flowers.
And the best thing is…it smells like a rotting animal. Hence its common name “the Corpse Flower”.
Best get your ass down there for a look.
Filed under: family, gardening, Labour, work | Tags: Araucaria araucana0, chilean pine, monkey puzzle tree
Have you ever planted a Monkey Puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana). Worse; have you ever dug up a monkey tree and then re-planted it. Worse still; have you ever dug up a 7 ft Monkey Puzzle tree that has firmly established itself in the middle of a gorse bush? But worst of all; have you ever dug up a 7 ft Monkey Puzzle tree that has firmly established itself in the middle of a gorse bush and then had to remove the roots and stump of a 20ft apple tree before you can replant the aforementioned Monkey Puzzle Tree in its place?
Well, that’s what I did this weekend.
Did I mention to you that Monkey Puzzles have razor sharp leaves and that Gorse has needle sharp leaves and that together these make for a very uncomfortable combination?
No? Well they do.
However our communal garden area, just across from the house now has a lovely (slightly lopsided) 7ft Monkey Puzzle tree.
I suppose this makes it seem worthwhile…
Filed under: Arts, family, gardening | Tags: airstream, Andy Goldworthy, Antony Gormley, Bonnington House, Charles Jencks, circle cafe, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Jim Lambie, Jupiter Artworld, Laura Ford, Nathan Coley
Jeana and I went to perhaps the most remarkable exhibition space in Scotland today. It’s a forest on an estate at Wilkieston, between Edinburgh and Livingston on the Calder Road.
Artists of international repute are represented, with works that take nature as their theme.
You may have seen Charles Jencks’ Life Mounds at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Belford Road. That was a mere starter for 10. The mounds here are significantly more detailed and four times the size. Antony Gormley, Nathan Coley (whose In Memory is nothing short of stunning), Ian Hamilton Finlay, Jim Lambie, Andy Goldsworthy (whose Stone House is breathtaking), and Laura Ford all impress.
Laura Ford’s exhibits, called Weeping Girls, is my pick of the bunch; like walking onto the set of The Ring, these macabre, faceless Bronze girls beguil and intrigue. It is truly unique and possibly the most affecting piece of art I have ever seen.
I simply cannot find enough superlatives to review Jupiter Artland.
It fucking rocks.
And fucking rolls.
The cafe, run by Circle cafe at Canonmills is the best I’ve ever been at. Great food. Great value. Great Airstream.
Spotted at Gardening Scotland last week
Filed under: gardening, Jeana's Gardening, Suntrap Garden Centre for Lifelong Learning | Tags: evening classes, gardening, hobby, learning, Suntrap Garden, workshops
Suntrap Garden, in association with the Royal Caledonian Society, at Gogarbank have a number of night classes and workshops available for the autumn.
EVENING CLASSES 7.00 – 9.00 pm
Flower Arranging £75.00
Monday 24th August – 28th September (6 weeks)
Set of Workshops for both beginners & those who wish to develop their existing skills; limited to 12 places. (Materials and flowers extra.)
Design Your Own Garden £105.00
Wednesday 30th September - 9th December (11weeks)
Leisure Gardening £80.00
Thursday 1st October – 3rd December (10 weeks)
10.00 am to 12.00 Noon on Saturday Mornings
£25 for booking all three workshops or £10 each workshop
(Cost of plants and materials extra)
Winter Containers & Hanging Baskets 24th October
Explore how to fill containers for colour through Winter and Spring. (Plants, compost and containers supplied at cost or bring your own.)
Gardens by Design 21st November
This workshop offers guidance on basic design principles to help you make the most of your garden.
Christmas Decorations 19th December
Help is at hand to create two floral displays to make the home festive and colourful for Christmas. Be the envy of family and friends. (Materials approximately £25.)
To book or for more information contact Suntrap Garden –
0131 339 7283 (Answer Phone) or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you would like more information about Suntrap why not check out their blog.
It should be pointed out that my wife designed and uploaded massive files on this post.
Is that good or bad Mark? Did you want to design me something that looked good?
Filed under: gardening, Jeana's Gardening, life, Scotland, stories, Suntrap Garden Centre for Lifelong Learning, work | Tags: days out, Days out in Scotland, gardens, horticulture, suntrap, Suntrap Garden, what's on today, whats oin in Scotland
The sun is shining and Jeana and I are off the Suntrap Open Day where she will be smiling gracefully behind the plant stall whilst I humph sacks of shit from one end of the site to the other, sweating like a bag of cheese.
Filed under: gardening, Jeana's Gardening, photography, Suntrap Garden Centre for Lifelong Learning | Tags: Edinburgh, garden advice, gardening, gardening scotland, perennial, suntrap garden open day, visit scotland
It’s been a very busy month getting ready for the Open Day. It’s this Sunday, 24 May, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.
We’re donating to Perennial, Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society.
It’s always a good day out with gardening demonstrations, advice, plant sales, children’s games and this year there will be a beautiful 18 month old snowy owl called Eubee. For more information check out the Suntrap blog.
There’s an added bonus this year, Mark and I are volunteering in the garden centre.
Why not come along and enjoy a great day out.
Filed under: gardening, Jeana's Gardening, Scotland, Suntrap Garden Centre for Lifelong Learning, Uncategorized | Tags: garden advice, gardening classes, nightclasses, Oatridge College, sensory garden, Suntrap Garden, workshops
If you’re interested in learning something new this year why not take a look at the classes run at Suntrap. There are 2 hour workshops or you can take part in a longer block of night classes.
Saturday 10.00am – 12.00 Noon
£6 plus the cost of materials
All classes take place at Suntrap Garden, Gogarbun, EXCEPT for the Apple Pruning on the 7th February (return mid afternoon).
Saturday 7th February “Willie Duncan’s Apple Pruning Work Shop”
Meet at Suntrap Garden car park 9.15am. Mini bus transport to Willie’s garden at Drumeldrie in Fife. There will be a £2 cost per person for transport. Bring packed lunch, hot drink, warm clothes, strong footwear and secateurs. (Limited places available)
Saturdays 14th 21th 28th February “Flower Arranging”
Saturday April 18th “Vegetable and fruit growing in a small space” Container vegetable growing.
Saturday May 16th “Hanging gardens of Babylon “Tom Hardwick’s version” Practical workshop planting up containers and baskets for Summer. Containers, baskets and plants additional cost.
(7.00 – 9.00 pm)
‘Design Your Own Garden‘ 11 weeks starting 22nd April £105
‘Amateur Gardening‘ 10 weeks beginning 23rd April £ 80
To Book Workshops or Evening Classes or for more information contact Moira at Oatridge College – 01506 864807
Suntrap also has a blog, why not check it out?
Filed under: advertising, Arts, books, business, family, football, gardening, golf, Hibees, humour, Jeana's Gardening, jokes, life, movies, music, photography, politics, science, Scotland, sports, stories, theatre, tv, work | Tags: 1576, 2008, 60 watt, adrian jeffery, amadou and mariam, david reid, did lazarus dig, Ferry Fringe, Golley Slater, Graphic Partners, greenferry, Hibees, Hunger, mighty small, national theatre of Scotland, no country for old men, Poppyscotland, snailbooty, spider online., Story, stv, Suntrap Garden, the black watch, The lyceum Theatre, Traverse
As I head off to enjoy the Hogmanay celebrations it’s time to bring the 2008 blog to an end.
Looking back on the year it was a good one overall. No-one got hurt. Nobody died. We had several achievements as a family. I continued to pay the bills. Barrack Obama got into power.
My blog has hit 340,000 views in the year. Considering I only had 31,000 in 2007 that represents reasonable progress. I hope you enjoy it. And those of you who read but never comment, come on, open up a bit in 2009.
The Hibees were a joke in 2008. Very dissapointing in many ways, in fact Scottish football, full stop, came crashing back to earth after the heady highs of season 2007/8. Our clubs in Europe were pitiful and they became unrequired viewing the more the season progressed. Celtic are unbelievably bad and yet they are easily the best team in this country. God help us.
As The Hibees set off in pusuit of the Scottish cup for the 106th time since we last succeeded we face Hearts in Round 3. That could be a momentous occassion and who’s to say we won’t do it, after all we only EVER play good football when we are up against it. Last week against Kilmarnock totally summed Hibs’ season up… 2 – 2 at half time at home against only 10 men and we lose 4 – 2. That’s unprofessional.
Work was very rewarding and I enjoyed helping out Pete and Iain at 60 Watt in particular, in tough times it has to be said. I also won fabulous projects from PoppyScotland and The Black Watch. My work with the SMA was challenging but I’m pleased with the way it has developed. I suppose the event I led at Parliament in March has to be a professional highlight, but working on behalf on the industry can be soul destroying when people back off. I also did a lot of work with Golley Slater for which I am very grateful and ended the year with a hatrick of new commissions for stv, Ampersand (a stable of Advocates – yes indeed) and Whitespace. During the year I also enjoyed projects with Corporation Pop, as a mentoring programme for nmp, and have been asked to do more work with them in 2009. Story, Spider Online and Graphic Partners also gave me work in 2008 for which I am extremely grateful
I was delighted to be made a board director of The Lyceum in September and have taken on a fundraising role for FCT as well as taking part in the FAT Christmas show and rehearsing the 2009 Easter Show which is a ‘Best of FCT’ over their first 30 years. It promises to be simply stunning. I’m also chair of the Ferry Fringe but it is proving difficult to really get this rolling for 2009 despite the commitment of a small core of volunteers. Watch this space.
However, on a sad note, the demise of 1576, the company I co-founded, in February was a real shock and a truly sad moment. I’m glad to report that all who sailed in her appear to be in gainful employment and moving on; including both David and Adrian.
I’ve already crowed about my golf in 2008 which was my best ever and I really enjoyed it. I threw far fewer clubs about but still had my moments.
Amy’s Highers Grade results were very good and she was unlucky to miss out on her English which is focussing her mind as we go into 2009. We’re all desperately hoping she’ll get into Duncan of Jordanstone to study Art and she’s taking a Portfolio Course at Telford to help in that ambition. Here’s hoping.
Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap overtook mine during the year as he went from 21 to 15. He also got a hole in one in August, something I’ve never done, and won quite a few medals – but none of Ratho’s ‘majors’. I’m hoping that when he gets to 14, as he surely will, he will play against me in the men’s medals at Dundas Park. That’ll be really exciting
If he is not an Olympic Champion at X Box 360 by now he ought to be as he has put in unstinting effort. Shame we can’t say the same about his homework.
Ria continued to improve in her gymnastics but the elusive merit continued to evade her, still, she did master the bridge kick over at last and she was brilliant in Perth in November when her first vault was amazing (we’ll overlook the second one shall we?) She works really hard does Ria and that is showing up in really great results and a huge bunch of really nice friends. She deserves them because she is such a genuine young person.
Jeana won yet another award for South Queensferry in the Summer’s Britain in bloom competition with a Highly Recommended award. The village continues to progress under the Greenferry team’s amazing dedication. She also started her own blog which you can find here and whooped with joy about two weeks ago when she got her first ever comment. She’s not far short of her 1,000th view so get reading.
I had a sloppy evening at Cath’s 80th that constituted the Bad Hair Day of the year.
In books Cormac McCarthy’s The Road simply blew me away and was my favourite read.
In music it had to be Dig Lazarus Dig by Nick Cave but I am growing increasingly interested in African Music and Amadou and Mariam’s new album, Welcome to Mali, is lovely. But check out Je Pense a Toi and Dimanche A Bamacko too (the latter is stunning and their best to date).
And my movie of the year? Not my busiest ever year at the movies so it’s hard to choose a best but I guess it was going to be No Country For Old Men (also based on a Cormac McCarthy book) until Hunger (by Steve McQueen) came along. A really outstanding and breathtaking movie.
TV show of the year? I loved Gavin and Stacey, but my most anticipated show each week was Later with Jools Holland which seemed to find a much more interesting mix this year than of late.
Best theatrical experience, amongst many, was my cousin Susan’s show at The Traverse; Nobody Will ever Forgive Us, which was a stunner.
My gadget of the year was unquestionably the sublime Canon G9, what a wonderful wee camera this is. I also got myself a much more muscular beast – a Canon EOS 400D which is fab too and this has been reflected in my continued devotion to Flickr. I love Flickr. Undoubtedly my find of the year on Flickr was Snailbooty. I mean, look what he just posted today. How good is that?
My man of 2008, was unquestionably Barrack Obama.
Best day out was Alton Towers in the pissing rain in July. It rocked.
Result of the year? Terry got the all clear from his cancer and joined me at the School BBQ in June.
Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. Again.
Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.
And so to 2009.
Hibees win the Scottish Cup. (LOL. That is so stupid.)
Tom gets down to a 10 handicap.
Tiger Woods comes back and kicks ass. It wasn’t the same without him.
I win something, anything, at Dundas Park
Amy gets into D of J. (And enjoys it.)
I am healthy throughout.
The FCT 30th Anniversary show is as good as I hope it will be.
The credit crunch doesn’t ruin everything for everyone.
Filed under: Arts, family, gardening, life, Scotland, stories | Tags: beautiful scotland, flowers, greenferry, south queensferry
Jeana and the volunteer groups of South Queensferry are popping the champagne corks today having found out that they’ve won a silver medal in the Beautiful Scotland Awards. The award is testimony to the hard work that they (and I ) put in all year round.
Well done guys.
Filed under: Arts, family, gardening, Jeana's Gardening, life, photography, Scotland | Tags: fathers day
I had a delightful Father’s day spent mostly with Jeana as our three children were working (Amy), sleeping over (Ria) and not talking to me (Tom).
So, we went and met an old pal, Steven Tait, who was back in Scotland for a few days from Australia en-route to the Cannes Ad festival.
We had a really nice time spending a few hours in the wonderful Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.
Followed by a trip to a Wood Festival full of hippies that was actually good fun.
Then to the Mother-in-laws for a wee nip.
Finally, home to open my Father’s Day pressie from the kids.
A chrome and black fire pit. What self respecting dad would not have one of those to go with his barbie?
Sat in the garden for hours reading, looking at the sky, listening to music and football and generally chilling out with, at times, the kids.
Filed under: Arts, gardening, life, Scotland, stories, WordPress, work | Tags: artisans, artistic furniture, artists, carpentry, chrris holmes, craftsmen, elm burr elm, furniture, scottish carpenters, scottish furniture, scottish furniture makers
So, we’ve had a lovely wee trip to the Suntrap Open Day in the beautiful May sunshine when on the way back, crossing over the A9 on the RBS Bridge we spot this little beauty.
“Let’s investigate.” I ventured, and so we did.
Having crossed a dried out mud patch, which it transpired is the first cut of the final leg of the tram track, we entered the grounds of a lovely wee churchyard which, it turns out, is the workshop of Chris Holmes a “maker-designer of furniture in native timbers”. And three other woodworkers, who, unfortunately weren’t present. In actual fact Chris is an artist of considerable talent.
As you can see here.
And here. (This is actually a plan chest with sculptings of hills in the Scottish borders which double up as the handles of the chest.)
Greeted by a vociferous but fairly numptyish black lab who’s bark surely was worse than its bite Chris came out of the church to find out what had stirred the old pooch into life. He welcomed us into his workshop and then spent a very pleasant 20 minutes or so talking about Burr Elm, showing us photos of his work and sharing tips on how to start a blog on WordPress.
The bottom line is, if you ever want beautiful crafted Scottish native wood furniture. Chris Holmes is yer men.
Here he is at work
Filed under: gardening, Jeana's Gardening, life, photography, Scotland, work | Tags: days out, flowers, gardening, plants, suntrap open day
We’ve all been busy at Suntrap getting ready for the annual open day next Sunday. If you’d like to visit it’s on between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm.
There will be demonstrations on how to plant up hanging baskets and containers. Of course, if you can’t be bothered with the hassle of doing it yourself you could simply buy one. There’s also a demonstration from the Scottish Bonsai Association who house their collection of bonsai’s at Suntrap.
You might simply just fancy a stroll through the grounds looking at the beautiful plants and statues.
Or have a wee seat with a cup of tea and some home baking and watch the world go by. Whatever, we’d love to see you there. If you would like more information have a look at the blog.
Filed under: family, gardening, Jeana's Gardening, Scotland, Suntrap Garden Centre for Lifelong Learning, Uncategorized, work
If you’re thoughts are turning to the garden and what to plant this year.
Will I have hanging baskets or containers, or will I just stick to cutting the grass?
Why not come along to the Gyle this Saturday or Sunday between 10 am and 4 pm, all activities free of charge.
Carole Baxter of Beechgrove Garden fame is headling up a Flower Power weekend with garden advice and plant clinics. However, more importantly, Suntrap Garden will be there showing you how to plant your hanging baskets and containers.
There will also be lots of activites for the kids with a stilt-walker, table decorations to be made and lots more.