Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Edinburgh Spring Fling

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.

For Shirl:
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


shirl said...

Well hello again, Yolanda :-D

What fun this has been posting at the same time! How interesting to compare the same visit too. You were right on your first words on the phone – I have corrected my post ;-)

What can I say? We had a great time and I know we will meet again :-D

I have really enjoyed readin your posting and seeing your photos especially the seat in the greenhouse which we both loved!

A Scottish poem just for me – what can I say but ‘Thanks hen’ Mm… maybe that’s not Scottish enough ;-D

Wishing you a relaxing weekend in your garden :-D

Layanee said...

What a great post! So glad you got to meet a fellow blogger and Shirl, to boot. She is one of my faves also. Lovely photos. I'm sure you have a friend for life!

Annie in Austin said...

Yolanda, it sounds like a perfect way for two talented women to meet - a famous garden, lunch, shopping and non-stop conversation. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

How odd it must be to see blue poppies as a common plant!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gail said...

Such a lovely time I had and I was only looking at your photos...which are terrific...Can you believe the perennial bed in front of that green wall!

What a good time you all had! Oat cakes, yummy!


Cheryl said...

Wonderful surroundings and a new companion to share the time......the gardens look beautiful and I love the blue poppies, never had any luck with them myself.

HappyMouffetard said...

Wonderful photos and it's lovely to hear about friends made over a shared love of plants.

Barbara said...

It IS nice to meet bloggerfriends, I know! And you did it in Scotland (with all its beautiful gardens!) you just brought me some memories back from my last year's visit there. And if you should ever be lucky to grow this stunning blue meconopsis, please let me know the secret how you did it. It is an absolute fabulous plant....
Have a nice summer now in your country!

Flighty said...

It has been a real pleasure reading this and the previous two entries with all the stunning photos that you've included.
I've been to some of the places you went to but all many years ago. Scotland is somewhere that I'd love to go back to, and any such visit would certainly now include some of these wonderful gardens.
Happy lawn lounging! xx

Frances, said...

Oh YE and Shirl both, I was with you every step of the way, (wishing I really was in person). I can imagine the fast talking, about gardening and blogging of course. How wonderful. Even the lunch and shopping. Good choices, YE, my heritage is Celtic also. Someday I will go to Scotland.

Poppins said...

What a lovely holiday! I have never been in Scotland but planning to go there.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

What a blast! I can't imagine a better way to visit that gorgeous garden than with Shirl as your guide. Everything is so beautiful, but what I really like is that fanciful bench. I do feel for your friend Gerda, though. I know what's it's like when garden bloggers meet & it's mile a minute conversation.

lenie said...

ik heb de laatste tijd zoveel webbies ontmoet dat ik me wel kan voorstellen hoe leuk dat het moet zijn geweest ;))
wens je een fijn weekend alvast heb het haast té druk even te reageren overal ...ook deze tuin gaat door ;))
groetjes Lenie

Lisa at Greenbow said...

These garden pictures are just gorgeous. I can tell you had a good time and to meet a fellow blogger well, that is wonderful too. I can see why the bench caught your eye.

Carol said...

How great that you got to meet in person and get a guided tour of the gardens and the city. Just like in Austin, I'd say, when we all met and were quickly talking about gardens and blogging as though we'd known each other for a long time!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

guild-rez said...

Great story, great pictures and longlasting memories.
I always love to see pictures from Botanical Gardens, some of them look too perfect. Why?? The weeds are missing:)
We have a wonderful summer in Guildwood. After many rainy days the garden looks lush and beautiful.
Very soon Annabell hydrangea are in full bloom. Max is sleeping every day under large Hosta plants in the garden perhaps dreaming of little mice for dinner.
Fox, racoon, shunk and groundhog visisting the garden every day and we all respect each other.
-Cheers Gisela

Robin's Nesting Place said...

That was a very special treat for you both. I can just imagine the chatter and you two exploring the lovely gardens together. I'll be hopping right over to Shirl's blog now to read her take on the meeting.

Curtis said...

You both might of been talking real fast but I think my two Aunts on my Fathers side would give you a run for your money.

When they get together I want to tell them to come up for air.

Croma ;-) said...

(Voor het laatste stukje txt moet ik maar even naar Babel..;-)))
Wat een ontzettend leuk gevolg van bloggen (heb ik ook ervaren;-)om medebloggers te ontmoeten en dan ook nog in zo'n schitterende omgeving!
Zodra ik wat meer tijd heb klik ik even door naar Shirl..:-)

ladyluz said...

A fab trip Yolanda and a great treat for you and all of us reading about it. And was that Scottish tablet (a kind of fudge) that Shirl gave you? Yummee.

I'm off to read Shirl's now.

Betty said...

Thanks for the kind thoughts and visits...maybe next week I'll be back blogging...

Marion and I were posting ...each from our perspective....hope to be back to doing that too....Betty

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful Spring Fling. I envy your setting. What a beautiful garden.

When I picked Carol @ MDG up from the airport for Austin's Spring Fling, I had a moment of panic. Would I recognize her? Would we get along? Would it be awkward? But, of course, it was wonderful! It was like we had known each other forever. We didn't stop talking the whole time we were together.

Who knew that blogs could lead to such amazing friendships?

Viooltje said...

Yolanda, I was always impressed with your writing (both the intriguing style and the length). The 'motor mouth' part did it for me LOL. Thanks to your picturesque jotting, I can just about imagine you two chattering away. Edinburgh is such a wonderful city,
I have just the fondest memories from that mysterious place, but reading your adventures was as sweet as fudge. Once again, it was delightful traveling with BlissTours ;-)

P.S. Happy Paws just wanted to thank you for your sweet thoughts and let you know he's a lot better and back to his mischievous deeds.

Jane Marie said...

I'm so happy that you were able to meet and enjoy each other's company for a day. There's nothing like finding someone you have so much in common with. We enjoyed taking the tour with you.

Eve said...

That was a wondrful trip and the pictures are breathtaking.

You have awesome cats too.

Kerri said...

It sounds like a perfect day, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your charming account of it. What could be better...fabulous gardens, and a fascinating new friendship? I'm glad you had such a wonderful time.
When Apple and her sister, Country Girl, came to visit last September we were the same way...instant friendship, non-stop chattering and plenty of hugs. Blog friendships are such fun!
Thanks for showing us around via your lovely photos :)

kate smudges said...

It must be great meeting up with a fellow garden blogger inn such a beautiful setting. You'll have to make it an annual event. The greenhouse must have been a treat. Would have loved seeing a photo of the two of you...

garden girl said...

Yolanda, thank you for taking us along on the fling! What a wonderful time, and such beautiful gardens to enjoy together.

Cabs said...

Found your blog thru Shirl's...very nice!!! Great pictures. Hope you'll stop by and visit terranovadesign :-)
Carol New England

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hello all and welcome to spring fling-y Bliss!

* Shirl: about the poem: you did recognized I ripped off Robbie Burns's Auld Lang Syne, didn't you? ;-) It was lovely meeting you and we must do it again and soon(ish). I'm thinking way before 2012, perhaps next year?

* Layanee: it was great fun to meet Shirl and of course she's one of your favourites too. ;-) Heard you on your radio programme so now you can boast that you have listeners in Europe too. :-D

* Annie: it was a perfect day and one that I will remember always.

Yes, it was very odd to see those elusive blue poppies popping up in every garden I went too. And they were growing there in vast quantities too, just like weeds. Weird!

* Gail: glad you enjoyed it so much. Yup, that border in front of the wall is awesome. And there were more of those about. ;-)

* Happy Mouffetard: It's always a good thing to make and to meet a new friend. Welcome to Bliss!

* Barbara: the weather was lovely when I was holidaying in my own country but since then it's turned rather cold, wet and windy. I'm glad this post brought back so many happy memories for you of lovely Scotland.

* Flighty: so it's been a trip down memory lane for you too, Mike? Glad you liked it so much. I've only very recently returned from Scotland but I'm sure I want to go there again. And again. ;-)

* Frances: we would have loved to have your company too that day. Perhaps someday, who knows? Ah, another Celt I see. ;-)

* Poppins: Scotland is a great holiday destination and I'm sure you would love it there. Gorgeous scenery, kind people, beautiful gardens, great high teas ....... ;-)

* MMD: it was a blast and we had such lovely weather too so that everything was just perfect. It was great to have Shirl as our guide, made things very easy. Both Shirl and I loved that bench, glad you like it so much too.

* Lenie: zooooo, bofkont, heb jij al zoveel webbies in het echie ontmoet. Ik zie dat ik heel wat heb in te halen op dat gebied. :-D

* Lisa: it was a very special day for me, one that I was looking forward too from the day I left home. It was truly wonderful to meet Shirl and to hit it off the way we did. That garden seat is just so very beautiful, I agree.

Thank you all for visiting and commenting. I enjoyed it very much!

Hanneles paradis said...

Nice trip, I see.

Pam/Digging said...

How nice to know that you enjoyed a mini-Spring Fling of your own! It sounds like you and Shirl had a marvelous time. I can imagine just what it was like, having met quite a few garden bloggers now---there's no stopping the talk once you meet up.

Marian said...

Leuk, scroll scroll, mooi scroll scroll, gezellig. . .maar waar blijft die groepsfoto nou van jullie Edinburgh Spring Fling, verlegen, kom nou,laat me niet lachen!
Oatcakes en fudge, het water loopt me in de mond, maar het is wel op inmiddels neem ik aan ;-)
Fantastisch al die blauwe 'poppies', ik heb ze ook eens gezaaid, nooit iets geworden.

Outdoor Fountains said...

Love the photos. I would love to visit this garden sometime.