Scotland 2018 Logo©Ken Woolfenden

Part 2

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.

To skip to the third report, featuring Parkhead Gardens, Branklyn Garden and Falkland Palace and Gardens, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 3. And for the fourth report, featuring the walled gardens of the Kingdom of Fife, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 4.

Jupiter Artland

Still 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

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©Ken Woolfenden

Jupiter Artland Entrance Gate

Entrance to The Light Pours Out Of Me by Anya Gallaccio©Ken Woolfenden

Entrance to the underground "The Light Pours Out Of Me"
by Anya Gallaccio

Crystal detail in The Light Pours Out Of Me by Anya Gallaccio©Ken Woolfenden

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©Ken Woolfenden

Falling down staircase in "The Quarry" by Phyllida Barlow

The Rose Walk by Pablo Bronstein©Ken Woolfenden The Rose Walk by Pablo Bronstein©Ken Woolfenden

"The Rose Walk" by Pablo Bronstein

Life Mounds by Charles Jencks©Ken Woolfenden

"Life Mounds" by Charles Jencks

Suck by Anish Kapoor©Ken Woolfenden
Suck by Anish Kapoor©Ken Woolfenden

"Suck" by Anish Kapoor

Firmament by Antony Gormley©Ken Woolfenden

"Firmament" by Antony Gormley

"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.

Weeping Girls by Laura Ford©Ken Woolfenden Weeping Girls by Laura Ford©Ken Woolfenden

"Weeping Girls" by Laura Ford

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.

Landscape with Gun and Tree by Cornellia Parker©Ken Woolfenden

"Landscape with Gun and Tree" by Cornellia Parker

Over Here by Shane Waltener©Ken Woolfenden

"Over Here" by Shane Waltener

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.

Carmen Miranda by Joana Vasconcelos©Ken Woolfenden

"Carmen Miranda" by Joana Vasconcelos

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.

Kevock Alpine Garden and Nursery

A 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.
An introduction from Stella©Ken Woolfenden

An introduction from Stella

Their house©Ken Woolfenden

Their house

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.

The garden and countryside beyond©Ken Woolfenden

The garden and countryside beyond

Looking back at the house from half-way down the garden©Ken Woolfenden

Looking back at the house from half-way down the garden

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.

Essential terracing on the sloping garden©Ken Woolfenden

Essential terracing on the sloping garden

Slope being re-landscaped©Ken Woolfenden

Slope being re-landscaped

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!

Path through a woodland part of the garden©Ken Woolfenden

Path through a woodland part of the garden

Heading back UP to the house©Ken Woolfenden

Heading back UP(!) to the house

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.

Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh

Our Brightwater-livery coach, dropping us off at RBGE©Ken Woolfenden

Our Brightwater-livery coach, dropping us off at RBGE

Map of Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh©Ken Woolfenden

Map of Royal Botanic Gardens 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.

General view of some of the colourful flower beds©Ken Woolfenden

General view of some of the colourful flower beds

Lilium humboldtii var. ocellatum©Ken Woolfenden

Lilium humboldtii var. ocellatum

Arisaema tortuosum©Ken Woolfenden

Arisaema tortuosum

Grove (I think) of Sequoiadendron giganteum©Ken Woolfenden

Grove (I think) of Sequoiadendron giganteum

Rhododendron 'Loderi' dated 1919©Ken Woolfenden

Rhododendron 'Loderi' dated 1919

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.

Champion Tree indicated by blue label©Ken Woolfenden

Champion Tree indicated by blue label

Rock Garden©Ken Woolfenden

Rock Garden

Rock Form by Barbara Hepworth©Ken Woolfenden Garden helper©Ken Woolfenden

Rock Form by Barbara Hepworth and small garden helper

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!

Palm House©Ken Woolfenden

Palm House

Alpine cold frame©Ken Woolfenden

Alpine cold frame

Alpine Courtyard©Ken Woolfenden

Alpine Courtyard

Demonstration Garden©Ken Woolfenden Demonstration Garden©Ken Woolfenden

Demonstration Garden

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©Fiona Woolfenden

C. 'Bill MacKenzie' and silver eryngium

C. cirrhosa growing through wall©Fiona Woolfenden

C. cirrhosa growing through wall

C. fusca or C. ianthina var. ianthina?©Ken Woolfenden

C. fusca or C. ianthina var. ianthina?

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. montana as part of the Nepalese collection of plants©Fiona Woolfenden

C. montana as part of the Nepalese collection of plants

C. akebioides on the East Gate Lodge©Fiona Woolfenden

C. fusca or C. akebioides on the East Gate Lodge

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:

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.

Herbarium Visit

In 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.
Echinops emiliae©Fiona Woolfenden

Echinops emiliae herbarium specimen

Herbarium cabinet©Fiona Woolfenden

Herbarium cabinet

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.

C. alpina in book published 1614©Fiona Woolfenden

C. alpina in book published 1614

C. gouriana in book published 1846©Fiona Woolfenden

C. gouriana in book published 1846

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. integrifolia collected in 1765©Fiona Woolfenden

C. integrifolia collected in 1765

C. napaulensis collected by George Forrest in 1912©Ken Woolfenden

C. napaulensis collected by George Forrest in 1912

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. cadmia collected in 1910 in Burma©Ken Woolfenden

C. cadmia collected in 1910 in Burma

C. 'Jackmani Alexandra' collected in 1997©Fiona Woolfenden

C. 'Jackmani Alexandra' collected in 1997

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. x cartmanii 'Joe'©Fiona Woolfenden

C. × cartmanii 'Joe'

A bit of fun!©Ken Woolfenden

A bit of fun!

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!

Arthur's Seat

Arthur's Seat behind Pollock Halls©Fiona Woolfenden

Arthur's Seat behind Pollock Halls

A happy group of climbers!©Ken Woolfenden

A happy group of climbers!

View of Edinburgh Castle©Ken Woolfenden

View of Edinburgh Castle

View across the Firth of Forth to Fife©Ken Woolfenden

View across the Firth of Forth to Fife

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 continue with the third report, featuring Parkhead Gardens, Branklyn Garden and Falkland Palace and Gardens, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 3.

For the fourth report, featuring the walled gardens of the Kingdom of Fife, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 4.

To reread the first report, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 1.

Return to top of page

Return to Homepage

@ K.Woolfenden