This is the second of what will probably end up as four informal reports of the Society visit and meeting in Scotland in 2018. As usual, a full set of articles by members of the group will be published in the next journal, Clematis International 2019. To those of you who came along, I hope it will bring back happy memories. To others, perhaps it will encourage you to join us on a future year. In Scotland 2018 - Part 1, I described the visits we made on the first two days - Edinburgh Walking Tour, Shepherd House, 101 Greenbank Terrace, Hunter's Tryst and Little Sparta. In this report we cover the next two days - I've written about Jupiter and Kevock and Fiona has done the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh, including the Herbarium visit.
Jupiter ArtlandStill based at Pollock Halls, University of Edinburgh, on Monday we headed west to Jupiter Artland. A private "sculpture and art park", it was started in 1999 when Robert and Nicky Wilson bought Bonnington House, a Jacobean manor house within an 100-acre estate. Over the following years they collected and installed sculptures and art works by many and varied artists. Some of the installations are permanent, others are exhibited for a limited time, to be replaced by another work, often by a different artist. You can read more of their philosophy by visiting www.jupiterartland.org. The coach had to drop us at the entrance gate as the drive is a bit too narrow. However this was quite useful. We were met and given maps of the grounds and thus had the possibility of taking various routes into the heart of Jupiter Artland. We quickly spread out, dividing into small groups heading in different directions. Fortunately the weather, whilst a bit cloudy, was dry. Over the next two hours we wandered from one installation to another. Some are hidden deep in woods, others are in the open. Some are large, such as the "Life Mounds" by Charles Jencks, others are more modest, for example "Suck" by Anish Kapoor or "Weeping Girls" by Laura Ford.
Jupiter Artland Entrance Gate
Entrance to the underground "The Light Pours Out Of Me"
by Anya Gallaccio
Crystal detail in the underground walls of "The Light Pours Out Of Me"
by Anya Gallaccio
Falling down staircase in "The Quarry" by Phyllida Barlow
"The Rose Walk" by Pablo Bronstein
"Life Mounds" by Charles Jencks
"Suck" by Anish Kapoor
"Firmament" depicts a crouching person holding a ball or globe out in front. It takes careful positioning to see the true shape, but once you've worked out the various limbs, knees, elbows, etc., it all fits very neatly into place.
"Firmament" by Antony Gormley
One of my favourite sculptures, they are set in woodland to one side of one of the paths. They convey a sense of sadness and foreboding. Their faces are hidden, yet one can sense their features. Disturbing, but compelling.
"Weeping Girls" by Laura Ford
The oversized shotgun, leaning against the tree, takes one completely by surprise. There is feeling of violence surrounding it, but I can't explain why. By contrast the web, set at the edge of the woods, is very compelling. It draws you towards it. But go around the other side and there is a transformation. The web, which looks quite grey on the first side you see, suddenly comes alive with a rainbow of colours on the reverse.
"Landscape with Gun and Tree" by Cornellia Parker
"Over Here" by Shane Waltener
My final choice is the metallic stiletto shoe, "Carmen Miranda". Apart from being shiny and massive – it is made of stainless steel saucepans and lids – making a very pointed statement as to the domestic role of women. Jupiter Artland is unlike any "art galley" I've ever visited and whilst we were pleased to be able to include it in our programme of visits, we were also a little nervous. We should not have worried, as everyone we spoke said they'd enjoyed the variety, thoughtfulness and fun of the various installations.
"Carmen Miranda" by Joana Vasconcelos
Kevock Alpine Garden and NurseryA specialist mail order-only nursery selling plants from around the world, with a wide selection of alpine and woodland plants, bulbs in season, trees and shrubs, Kevock Garden Plants and Designs also has a hillside garden that is open for group visits only. David and Stella Rankin live in a very interesting house overlooking their garden and the countryside beyond. The house, essentially a bungalow with rooms in the roof space, has glass and veranda along the whole of the side that overlooks the garden and is partially built out of the hillside. When it was built it was quite a revolutionary design, though David said that they have made various modifications to make it more livable, especially in winter.
Stella gave us a brief overview of Kevock Nursery and how the garden has evolved and we were then let loose to roam where we wished.
An introduction from Stella
The view from the house is absolutely amazing. We visited on a beautiful hot and sunny day and it was very easy to imagine sitting on the veranda in the early evening, surveying the scenery.
The garden and countryside beyond
Looking back at the house from half-way down the garden
The garden does pose some interesting challenges. All materials have to be carried down the slope to wherever they are needed, and excess and waste must be carried back up the hill. You can see that the section being re-landscaped utilizes a lot of stone, to provide crevices for planting and to help keep the soil from being eroded down the hillside. This garden would certainly keep you very fit!
Essential terracing on the sloping garden
Slope being re-landscaped
You'll have to wait until a full report on the visit appears in the 2019 journal for ideas of some of the special plants they have in the garden. Suffice to say, there was great interest in many of them. For my part, I just enjoyed meandering along the many paths that lead to different parts of the slope.
Path through a woodland part of the garden
Heading back UP(!) to the house
Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh
The next day was allocated to exploring and enjoying the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE). We arrived by our very visible brightly coloured Brightwater-livery coach. There were some organized activities and then people could either stay and enjoy the gardens and go into Edinburgh city for the evening or return to our accommodation on the coach. On our arrival we were met by 3 guides who divided us into 3 groups. David, Cathy and Jane then departed with their groups round the gardens.
Our Brightwater-livery coach, dropping us off at RBGE
Map of Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
General view of some of the colourful flower beds
Each group was taken around the same points of interest in the gardens but in a different order. There were a number of common and unusual plants in flower to admire. I was glad to see that the lily beetle did not appear to have got this far north. The trees were also interesting. The old Rhododendron dated 1919 was spectacular although it was past its flowering time. Weddings can be celebrated in the centre of a ring of sequoias which must be lovely in summer.
Lilium humboldtii var. ocellatum
Grove (I think) of Sequoiadendron giganteum
Rhododendron 'Loderi' dated 1919
Champion Tree indicated by blue label
One of the things that interested me was that a number of the trees had blue name tags. These indicated trees that are the biggest of their type in the UK known as Champion Trees. The guides were helpful and full of information for us. They had also done their research and showed us some of the clematis in the garden. Some of these are below – but not all that we saw. Positioned around the garden are a number of sculptures including this rather grand one by Barbara Hepworth near the Lower Woodland Garden. A nice touch is that the sculptures are marked on the map shown above. Certainly, one small garden helper was enjoying the view!
Rock Form by Barbara Hepworth and small garden helper
Alpine cold frame
We went past the Victorian Palm House, which was not included in our tour, to the Alpine House and Courtyard and then onto the colourful Demonstration Garden where our tour finished. By the end we felt that we had a comprehensive overview of the gardens. Our thanks to our guides David, Cathy and Jane who, I understand, were all volunteers for their help.
Clematis in RBGE
C. 'Bill MacKenzie' and silver eryngium
The most spectacular clematis that I saw was C. 'Bill MacKenzie' growing on the wall behind the Alpine Greenhouse. Bill MacKenzie had worked in the Alpine and Herbaceous Department at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and he gave the plant to the Gardens after he left. I loved the combination of the silver eryngium against the green foliage and yellow flowers. Further along the wall was a C. cirrhosa that had grown very large and had been cut right back earlier in the year. However, the stems had either got behind the stones or it had layered itself in the cracks and crevices of the wall and now appeared to be growing out of the wall. At the base of the wall several plants labeled C. fusca had recently been planted. Our group queried the label as the flowers looked more like C. ianthina var. ianthina. Our helpful guide found the head gardener for this part of the garden and a discussion ensued!
C. cirrhosa growing through wall
C. fusca or C. ianthina var. ianthina?
In the island beds in the garden there was a C. montana as part of its Nepalese collection of plants. The RBGE is doing taxonomic research, exploration, working with Nepalese organizations and conservation and development. More information can be found on the project website and although clematis are not featured as family, the locations of where Clematis montana has been found in Nepal can be found on their website: http://www.floraofnepal.org/. Elsewhere in the gardens we found C. akebioides growing on the side of the East Gate Lodge. Our guide found a few flowers but they were very small.
C. montana as part of the Nepalese collection of plants
C. fusca or C. akebioides on the East Gate Lodge
Herbarium VisitIn the afternoon we had a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Herbarium which had kindly been arranged by Brightwater Holidays. At the agreed time roughly just over the group met at the back door to the Science Block. We were greeted by three of the Herbarium Curators and divided into two groups. Half the group had a general introduction to the Herbarium while the other half went straight to see some clematis specimens. After about 45 minutes, we swapped over. The Herbarium was fascinating, and it was made very special by the effort and thought the curators had put into preparing what to show us. Helen and Zoe introduced us to the general principles of preparing, displaying and storing herbarium specimens, while Lesley concentrated on the clematis material.
Helen and Zoe explained that in a herbarium the plant specimens are pressed flat and stored on sheets of paper. In some cases, such as this echinops, it is difficult to press flat because the plant, especially the flower head, is so bulky so they use a box to store the specimen and card to protect delicate parts of the specimen. The little envelope is for any loose bits. Generally, individual specimens are held in folders and where there is more than one specimen for a plant then these are grouped together in a bigger folder. The folders are stored in a cabinet. Due to the dangers of pests such as herbarium beetle, the specimens must all be removed from the cabinets and frozen on a regular basis to kill any pests.
Echinops emiliae herbarium specimen
Before she showed us the herbarium specimens Lesley asked if we would be interested in seeing a couple of old books that she had located in the archives. We were fascinated by the pictures in these very old books and delighted to have been shown them.
C. alpina in book published 1614
C. gouriana in book published 1846
Lesley showed us the earliest clematis specimen held in the collection which was C. integrifolia dating from 1765. It was collected by Paul Dietrich Giseke but the herbarium sheet gives no information as to where the specimen came from. Lesley explained that the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was in the process of scanning all their herbarium specimens and making them available on the RBGE web site. She showed us the scan of this specimen, so we could compare to the original. You can see the scan on the right hand side of the photo. If you are interested, the scan can also be seen on the RBGE website. Click on the small image to see it in more detail. The next sheet contained a specimen of C. napaulensis collected by George Forrest in 1912 to 1913 in Yunnan, China. The Society visited Yunnan in 2012, so this was especially interesting to see where specimens were held once sent back to the UK. As you can see, there was a lot of seed on this specimen.
C. integrifolia collected in 1765
C. napaulensis collected by George Forrest in 1912
Flowers lose their colour when pressed but the size and shape is useful as well as the other botanical details that can be seen. I was delighted to see that the C. cadmia that Lesley showed us had a few flowers. This plant was collected in Burma on the first of March 1910. I knew that C. cadmia is found in China because of Ton Hannink's recent introductions, but I had not realized that C. cadmia is found also in India, Vietnam and other countries such as Burma. Using the RBGE web site herbarium search facility a list of all the specimens of one species can be listed. This link will give you a list of all the C. cadmia specimens. Unfortunately the C. cadmia specimen that we saw has not yet been scanned and made available on the web site. I understand that if there is a query about a specimen, then the curators will scan the relevant specimen and make it available. As well as wild collected plants the herbarium also contains cultivated plants. The second photo above is titled C. 'Jackmani Alexandra' and it dates from 1897. The plant was raised by George Jackman and disappeared after 1935. This means that the herbarium also contains a record of plants that no longer exist.
C. cadmia collected in 1910 in Burma
C. 'Jackmani Alexandra' collected in 1997
One of the specimens Lesley showed us was C. x cartmanii 'Joe'. This specimen was in a red edged folder which means that it was the specimen used for the description of the name. If there was any query in the future about whether a living plant was 'Joe' then it would be compared to this herbarium specimen. Enclosed in the folder was a letter from Henry Taylor dated 1992 with the original registration in Latin! I was fascinated as I have recently had some correspondence with Joe Cartman and I hope to meet him soon. And finally, a previous herbarium curator had a bit of fun with the final specimen pictured above!
C. × cartmanii 'Joe'
A bit of fun!
After the tour of the herbarium some of us caught the coach back to our accommodation in Edinburgh at Pollock Halls, below Arthur's Seat. The rest of the day was ours to do as we wished. It was such a lovely day that a small group of us decided to go for a walk up the rock and enjoy the view and it was fabulous! A lovely end to an interesting day. Next month I will cover our transfer to Fife, including a wonderful clematis private garden, and the first of the Fife walled gardens. To reread the first installment, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 1.
Arthur's Seat behind Pollock Halls
A happy group of climbers!
View of Edinburgh Castle
View across the Firth of Forth to Fife
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