Monday, 27 March 2023

Tree Shadows

 After taking part in an event to celebrate Adult Learning with City of Edinburgh Council (you can browse the council's adult education courses here), I took a late lunchtime walk in Princes Street Gardens. The sun was shining brightly and the still mostly leafless trees were casting amazing shadows. Here are just some of them. 

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Rhododendrons in Bloom at Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh

 We visited the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh yesterday, to see the rhododendrons and Azaleas. They're not all in bloom at the moment, some seem to have finished blooming already and some haven't even budded yet. But there were plenty of lovely flowers to see, here's just a selection of photos we took. 

Some of the azalea bushes are full of mosses and lichens growing on the branches and twigs

As well as the rhododendrons and azaleas, a couple of species of larch trees are also in flower at the moment! Their flowers are a lot less showy, here are the flowers of the Polish Larch

and here are the flowers of the Gmelin Larch (a native of Siberia) - the first of these photos shows the young flower alongside a mature cone.


A cherry tree was also in flower

and some of the daffodils are still in bloom

We were also very surprised to find a few earth star fungi growing in the gravel next to the Botanics building, I've never seen these fungi growing in gravel before.

Friday, 24 March 2023

Rainbow Magpie Haiku


in a magpie's tail -
double rainbow
Only one rainbow shows up in the photo, but there were two rainbows arcing across the whole sky and a magpie on a chimney pot. Although magpies look very black and white, they have a lot of iridescent colour in their feathers. Just look at these photos in the Lothian Birdwatch Group on Facebook

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Willow Tree in Spring

 One of my favourite trees at this time of year is the pussy willow. There's a lovely example of this in North Merchiston Cemetery and it's looking wonderful at the moment. I took some photos during my lunchtime walk today. 

The daisies and dandelions are starting to flower now too

It's definitely starting to feel like Spring.

Sunday, 19 March 2023

Scarlet Elf Caps

 Yesterday, we had a lovely walk in Colinton and Craiglockart Dells alongside the Water of Leith. We were delighted to see these lovely Scarlet Elf Caps, in exactly the same place as in previous years, though we've never seen so many of these lovely fungi before. Here's a selection of photos I took:

We were also impressed by the variety of lichens we found on some fallen trees. Here are some of the photos of those - I've not identified them to species level yet, except for the yellow lichen which is a species of Xanthoria. The moss in some of the photos is a Bristle Moss.

The whole area of the Dells is looking very Spring like at the moment with daffodils particularly being in bloom:

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

The Little Book of Gaiku by Alistair Young


I recently started learning Scottish Gaelic (you can read more about that here). I was delighted to find this wee book of photos of the Scottish landscape with accompanying Gaelic haiku and English translations.

Alistair Young is based on the Isle of Skye, and his wonderful photos capture the wild beauty of this island and other parts of Scotland.

This is a beautifully designed and produced small book. Each page contains a landscape photo accompanied by a haiku in Gaelic with the English translation. 

The haiku celebrate the beauty of the landscape and the wildlife to be found there. The haiku below comments on the windfarms increasingly to be found in Scotland's wild places: 

nì crònag-dealain
an-fhloran as ainnimh
eadar-lìon rudan

the hum of electric voices
plundering power from wilderness
the internet of things

I particularly like this haiku about the Snow Bunting, a small bird of the wild high places: 

teachdair an t-àm
fiadhaich furachadh
gealag an t-sneachda 

harbinger of the
wild colding season
little snowflake

There is also an introductory essay in English. I would have liked to see the introduction also in Gaelic to give equal status to the two languages. Other than that, this is a lovely book for anyone who loves the Scottish landscape or haiku. 

You can browse Alistair's photos on his website

The Little Book of Gaiku by Alistair Young, published 2017.

Thursday, 2 March 2023

magpie haiku

the iridescence in a magpie's tail -
nothing is black and white


previously published in Under the Basho.