arboreta garden paths garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public hardy perennials light light quality ornamental trees and shrubs shrubs trees woodland woodlands

A family holiday in Scotland – Part 4 – Dawyck Botanic Gardens

Jude and I had the opportunity to spend a day at Dawyck Botanic Garden, a garden which is part of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. What made our visit extra special was that we took our little granddaughter Arabella with us. At just 20 months old she is a great lover of gardens and especially trees.

Dawyck is a woodland garden rich with trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials to back them up. We have visited so many woodland gardens and arboreta over the years but we were amazed by how large Dawyck’s specimen trees were, the largest in girth and height we have ever seen.


Arabella was fascinated by the disinfectant pads which visitors had to walk through to help prevent the spread of tree desease to help protect our trees. Good to see the garden setting a good example. Too many of our trees seem to be under threat. Once Arabella realised we were off exploring the woodland she wanted her explorers back pack on. Then she was off!


We wandered off trying but failing to follow the yellow way-marked trail, stopping regularly to look up at the tallest trees and touch their bark and study their leaves.

A new word appeared for Arabella when she saw these trees – ENORMOUS! This was always followed a big “WOW”.


Arabella did however wear herself out so succumbed to a sleep time so Jude and I enjoyed a good rest too.

We were so fortunate to visit Dawyck on a day with brilliant light quality that emphasised texture and patterens in foliage and bark.


But trees cannot take all the praise as herbaceous perennials and ferns were of equal interest and beautifuly displayed and cared for.


I have saved this tree until last as it took our breath away and sent our granddaughter speechless for a while until she blurted out excitedly, “More enormous!”


It is rare that you can say that the seats in the cafe were worth a mention but these at Dawyck were beautifully carved from wood and each was original. They were comfortable too! A good end to an exceptional day with trees and a young tree appreciator.




allotments community gardening meadows Shrewsbury Shropshire

Celebrating Spring at our allotments

At our allotments, Bowbrook Allotment Community, we celebrate each season of the year. We celebrated Spring in late April, with activities and games for the children followed by a BBQ sat around our new fire pits.

One of our members, Sherlie had planned craft activities for the children including painting faces on pebbles complete with moving eyes and decorating plant pots.

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Our social celebration days provide the chance to catch up for a chat and to get to know each other better. It lets new members meet their fellow gardeners too. The fire pits draw people in like magnets.

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Out tea committee, the Tea Bags, were on hand to keep us all plied with tea and coffee and cake of course!

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Michael, our machinery expert always finds time to look after our machines and teach others as well as looking after his own plot. He showed us how to use our new strimmer and demonstrated different cultivators and tillers. This gave members the chance to try machinery out with Michael on hand to help out and advise. Everyone feels so much more confident after advice from Michael.

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We always try to involve children in some gardening activities too giving adults and children a chance to discover skills together. At our Spring Celebration we sowed wildflower meadows in pots. Everyone joined in from the youngest upwards. The youngest gardener is Edward who loves his gardening already especially watering. He has a wonderful sense of humour so he really enjoyed showering me with a hose!

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The children are now looking after their mini-meadows and we have made them responsible for watering and checking on them regularly. It is good to see how keen the youngsters are to sow seeds and tend them afterwards. These meadows will form a part of our display at this year’s Shrewsbury Flower Show – in fact we hope they will be the centre piece.

We also provided the children with games to play which involved them in exploring the site and its wildlife areas. We challenged them to fit as many tiny objects as possible into a matchbox, and challenged them to take their parents and/or grandparents off on a scavenger hunt. We love to see different generations getting involved in our activities. It is so heartening to see how involved children can be learning about and enjoying being close to nature and gardening.

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We finished off with a BBQ as has become a tradition here at our allotments. Our new table and benches proved a real hit. What a great day we had!

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