Sunday 30 April 2023

Lauriston Castle Gardens

 Yesterday, we visited Lauriston Castle in the north west of Edinburgh.

Our main reason for visiting was to view the cherry trees, which were in full bloom in the Kyoto Friendship Garden. This garden was established in 2002 to celebrate the twinning of Kyoto and Edinburgh. 

The flowers are already starting to lose their petals 

In other parts of the castle grounds, the bluebells are almost in full bloom

and the pond has a lot of both Marsh Marigold (on the island) and the invasive Skunk Cabbage (around the edges)

Thursday 27 April 2023

Cherry Blossom in Edinburgh's Meadows

 Cherry trees are in bloom across Edinburgh and The Meadows is one of the best places to see these lovely blossoms. So I took a stroll there first  thing yesterday morning. Here are some of my photos.

it's not just cherry trees either! There's a beautiful crab apple tree


a few Norway Maples 

and a couple of Wych Elms (that are resistant to Dutch Elm Disease) including this magnificent old tree

And at home, we have this lovely view from our living room

Wednesday 26 April 2023

Stop Food Waste Day

Food waste is one of the topics that we cover in a class I'm currently co-tutoring on nutrition, food journaling and creative writing. We've discussed how reducing food waste can save money during the current cost of living crisis. 

And today is Stop Food Waste Day! 

A shocking one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally.

Food waste is central to some of the key challenges facing the world today, not just hunger and poverty, but also climate change, health and wellbeing and agricultural sustainability. Wasting food also wastes the energy used to grow, harvest, process and cook. Food waste in landfill can cause methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. 

Stop Food Waste Day aims to inspire individuals and organisations to reduce food waste. The campaign website includes practical, creative ideas to minimise food waste, including a cookbook. This cookbook shares ideas on how to use leftover foods, including items you may have imagined as being impossible to use, such as banana peels!

There are three main types of ways to reduce food waste

Prevent food waste at source. For individuals this means storing food optimally, making use of every edible part of the ingredient and planning meals ahead of time. There are also ways in which agriculture and food production could become more efficient.
Inspire others to waste less, and repurpose more
Repurpose food by redistributing surplus food to your local community, or giving a second life to ingredients that most commonly go to waste 
Any leftover food that can't be reused should be composted where possible - for example in a compost heap in your garden or in a council food composting collection. City of Edinburgh Council has a food waste collection, though I don't think all councils do.

How do you minimise your food waste? Feel free to share ideas in the comments!

Find out more and get involved at the Stop Food Waste website.

Monday 24 April 2023

Azaleas and Rhododendrons in the Botanics

 We particularly love visiting The Royal Botanic Gardens at this time of year. There's a long season of azaleas and rhododendrons, with different species and varieties coming into bloom at different times during March and April. 

We last visited towards the end of March and saw a wonderful variety of blooms, which you can see in this post

We visited again this weekend and here are some of the lovely blooms we saw: 

many of the azalea bushes have lots of lichens growing through them, which look beautiful.

I managed to capture this Buff Tailed Bumblebee on camera 

Even nicer to see was this Hairy Footed Flower Bee, apparently Edinburgh's Botanic Gardens is one of the favourite places for these bees

This Woodpigeon was very curious about us, and circled round us a few times while we were sitting on a bench admiring the azaleas

Saturday 22 April 2023

North Merchiston Cemetery

 I had a lovely lunchtime walk around North Merchiston Cemetery yesterday. The sun was shining brightly and the dandelions were looking beautiful. The council manages this cemetery to benefit wildlife and this means allowing dandelions and other wild flowers to thrive in amongst areas of longer grass. 

Dandelions are very important as a source of food for pollinating insects, but this year although there are dandelions everywhere (it looks like more people are starting to learn about how important they are) there are very few insects on them - normally you would expect to see several small flower beetles in a dandelion, but mostly this year so far, the flowers are empty

The cherry tree is in full bloom 

It was lovely to see the first Speckled Wood Butterfly of the year, hopefully the first of many as this species is a common visitor to the cemetery these days

There is a small area of Wild Garlic in the cemetery, which will soon be in bloom

Friday 21 April 2023

Late Afternoon in a Suburban Garden

Late yesterday afternoon, we visited Crafty Green Boyfriend's Mum and spent some time in her garden. For a relatively small garden it has a wealth of fruit trees and wildlife. It's looking beautiful at the moment, the rockery is particularly colourful with a variety of grape hyacinths and bluebells.

It's nice to see the occasional dandelion in there!

There are also violets

and Germander Speedwells

and Marsh Marigold by the big pond 

The first wild strawberry has come into flower (the fruit from these plants are delicious!)


The pear tree is wonderfully in full bloom at the moment 

The young plum tree is also in full bloom 

The cooking apple tree is in bud and it will be nice to see it come into flower over the next few weeks, but I'll post more about that in my Tree Following posts. 

There weren't a lot of insects around (this is something that I'm noticing everywhere at the moment, far fewer insects than I would hope to see). I did get a photo of this Eristalis sp hoverfly

and this very poor quality photo of a Dark Edged Bee Fly