You've all heard of the Spring Fling (if not, good grief, get with the programme people!) that was held last spring in Austin, Texas where so many garden bloggers met up and had a whale of a time. And guess what, there was a Spring Fling in Edinburgh, Scotland too last month, albeit a mini fling as it was just 2 garden bloggers who met up; my garden friend Shirl, from Shirls Garden Watch, and I.
Shortly before I went on holiday in Scotland I'd written a post about my visiting several gardens in Scotland and Shirl suggested that we should meet, an idea that appealed to me, very much so in fact. So we exchanged mobile phone numbers and a lot of frantic e-mailing and texting went on shortly, make that very shortly, before I left for Scotland. As Shirl lives not all that far away from Edinburgh we decided to meet there while I was visiting the Edinburgh Royal Botanical Gardens.
So on Saturday, the 14th of June, Shirl and I were going to meet for the first time at the entrance of Edinburgh's Royal Botanical Gardens at ten in the morning. There was a slight problem however; neither of us knew what the other looked like as we'd never met before and we're both too shy to put our pics on our blogs. On arriving at the Royal Botanical Gardens I noticed that there was more than one entrance. Oops. But as the west entrance was closed off I went to the east one and hoped that Shirl had done the same.
When I arrived at the east entrance I got out my mobile phone to give Shirl a ring to find out where she was. While doing so I saw through the iron gate a very nice looking lady taking out her mobile phone that was ringing. It was so funny to see Shirl through that gate while she was answering my call on her phone. The first words I said to her were: Hi Shirl, I can see you. She then looked round and saw me holding my mobile phone too. A big smile appeared on her face and then it was time for a hug!
Although we'd never met before we got on like the proverbial house on fire and it felt like we had been the best of friends for many, many years. For some reason I'd always thought of Shirl as someone with short blond hair and when we met, she had short blond hair! I must be psychic or something. Probably something. ;-)
It was so nice to meet her as she is such a kind and fun person, very bubbly, positive and outgoing.
While we were both chattering away like there was no tomorrow Shirl showed me her favourite bits of the Botanical gardens. They are so humongous that it is impossible to see it all in one go. So we went to see the rockery, the Chinese garden, the heath garden, the alpine garden, some gorgeous borders and one of the green houses.
The Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh are the oldest ones in Scotland and they were started in 1670 by Dr. Robbert Sibbald together with his colleague Dr. Albert Balfour on a bit of land no bigger than 12 square meters. Well, they are ever so slightly bigger nowadays.
The botanical gardens are smack in the middle of Edinburgh and are surrounded by many streets but when you are in the gardens it is so nice and peaceful there, not to mention quiet, that you forget that they are situated in a big and noisy city. Only when you catch a glimpse of houses along the edges you are reminded that they really are in a city.
Shirl and I had only 5 hours together as I had to catch the bus at 3 o'clock sharp, but luckily both Shirl and I can talk really fast so we managed to discuss the whole (garden) world and our opinions on it in that short amount of time. ;-) My friend Gerda, with whom I 'd come to visit Scotland, had a hard time catching up with us. She speaks English very well but at the speed we were going even native speakers would have a hard time to understand all that we were saying. The words motor mouth doesn't begin to describe it. ;-) Oh look, some more of those pretty blue poppies!
Lovely aren't they, those Meconopsis? If you're green with envy now and would like to grow them successfully too here's some excellent advice from me: simply move to Scotland as they are thriving like weeds there. I saw them in every garden I visited, except Drummond Castle garden, but that is not the kind of garden where you would expect poppies.
There were a lot of grey squirrels about at the botanical gardens and they were quite cheeky. Unfortunately for them we had brought no munchies, sorry!
After we had walked around the Botanical gardens for 2 hours we went to have lunch. My friend Gerda wanted to do a lot of shopping being somewhat of a shop-a-holic ( waves to Kylee) so we opted for a quick lunch with sandwiches and big mugs of coffee. We all hopped into Shirl's lovely blue car and went for a drive around Edinburgh, the real Edinburgh not the tourist-y one.We had our lunch at Princess Street garden, simply sitting there on a garden bench, enjoying the weather and each other's company, overlooking a lovely part of Edinburgh and while Edinburgh castle was towering high above us we were happily munching our sandwiches.
To make us feel welcome Shirl had given both Gerda and me a lovely present of Scottish delights and here they are.
Thanks Shirl, it was yummy!
And then it was shopping time and off we went, all up and down Princess street as that is the main street in Edinburgh with loads of shops. We went to Jenner's, a department store that is a must see in Edinburgh. It's like a Scottish version of Harrods but with much more charm, very oldy worldy. The building itself is absolutely lovely and they sell some nice stuff there too. Gerda was in hog heaven. ;-) Then we went into some other shops as well and I managed to buy a gorgeous tartan Kashmir scarf (50 % off!!!) and a beautiful Celtic broach with my favourite precious stone, amethyst. I love all things Celtic but that probably is because I am a Celt.
But all good things must come to an end and all too soon it was time to say goodbye to Shirl. Some pics were taken of the participants of this Scottish mini spring fling (sorry, they won't be found on this blog because Hello, shy!), hugs were given, goodbyes were said and then Gerda and I hopped on our bus, a last wave and smile for Shirl and off we went to Drummond castle.
My holiday in Scotland was wonderful and I enjoyed it greatly but one of its highlights was meeting Shirl.
If you want to read some more about this mini spring fling of ours in Edinburgh just pop over to Shirls blog to read all about it from her perspective. I'll be doing the same as I can't wait to hear what she has to say about it all.
We twa hae run about the gardens and pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
And seas between us braid hae roared,
Sin' auld short syne.
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gives a hand o'thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie-waught,
for auld short syne. ;-)
Poor auld Robbie will probably be turning in his grave. :-D