Edinburgh Botanical Gardens claims to be the oldest botanical garden in the UK and is well worth a visit at any time of year. Strangely the main gardens themselves, whilst small in comparison to Kew, are free to visit though a small entrance fee is payable to access the glasshouses.
As a side note the temperate glasshouse, pictured above, is a stunning building well worth a look and containing a range of the hardier exotic plants of display together with a good number of orchids. Note, incidentally, the angle of the sign on the right-hand side to give you an indication of the wind when I was there! The following photo is of the inside of this house with some of the flowering orchids showing down the right-hand side of the picture.
I visited recently and in addition to the standard bulbs in flower at this time of year I was pleasantly surprised that a visit in late March should be such a pleasant one.
The rock gardens in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens seemed very attractive and well worth a visit irrespective of season with all their conifers and evergreen shrubs. Furthermore the alpine house, with it’s collection of troughs, had numerous plants in flower even at this time of year.
Not only are the botanical gardens worth a visit in terms of the plants on show but it also seemed a haven for wildlife in the city. As well as a pond bulging from frogs and their resultant frogspawn I saw a wide variety of birdlife. Most interesting of all was the heron I saw very close up (but couldn’t get a good picture of) which was feasting on frogs.
The heron was catching them without any problems and after a bit of bashing them around they were swallowed whole. Not “nice” perhaps but certainly interesting and it made me think how much the herons must benefit from this glut of food after such a hard winter.
The only real disappointment for me were the aquariums on display at the gardens. Whilst the numbers were limited I was somewhat disappointed with the general condition of the tanks which looked like they needed a good clean.
Apart from this I would recommend a day out at the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens should you visit the city. Bring your binoculars with you and I’m sure you’ll have an enjoyable day.