The Cruickshank Botanic Gardens in Spring

On 9th May,  I attended the Cruickshank Botanic Gardens spring plant sale. After queuing for half an hour, and then buying as much as I could fit in my two bags, I treated myself to a tour of the gardens.

These gardens in Old Aberdeen, were founded in 1898 with a bequest from a Miss Anne Cruickshank, given in memory of her brother Dr Alexander Cruickshank. The original Deed of Trust specified that the Garden was to be ‘for the furtherance of University interests and the public good’.

The gardens are so hidden away that it took me almost twenty years before I found them! They are a true gem, nestling in the old part of Aberdeen in the University grounds and close to St Machar cathedral. If you ever find yourself up this way, the whole area is wonderful to walk around and explore. (Check the opening times for the garden though to avoid disappointment).

The gardens, situated in a very sheltered location, contain many wonderful trees and shrubs which provide a special environment for the 2500 labelled plants.

Entering the gardens from The Chanonry gate I was met by the wonderful smell of wild garlic.

Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic

Shortly after, I was greeted by a magnificent old cherry tree just bursting with blossom.

Old cherry tree

Old cherry tree

Cherry blossom

Cherry blossom

One of my favourite parts of the garden is ‘The Sunken Garden’ with its secret passageways,

View into sunken garden

View into sunken garden

View near Sunken Garden

View near Sunken Garden

and its wonderful wild meadow nestling at the bottom.

Snakeshead Fritillary

Snakeshead Fritillary

There were plenty of other surprises too as I wandered around the garden.

Meconopsis

Meconopsis

Meconopsis Grandis

Meconopsis grandis

Meconopsis Grandis

Meconopsis grandis

Trillium

Trillium chloropetallum

Ponds and streams are found throughout the garden.

pond

creating an environment for aquatic plants,

Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigolds)

Caltha palustris (Marsh Marigolds)

and a lovely place to sit.

Pond and bench

Pond and bench

One thing I like about the garden is the informality of the planting under the trees, with many wild flowers flourishing among garden flowers.

Not sure of this one - ID anyone?

Not sure of this one – ID anyone?

Primula veris (Cowslip)

Primula veris (Cowslip)

Primula veris

Primula veris

Pulsatilla

Pulsatilla

Trillium chloropetalum

Trillium chloropetalum

Rumex

Striking foliage of Rumex

Fritillaria michailovskyi

Fritillaria pyrenaica

Fritillaria pyrenaica

Fritillaria pyrenaica

The plants are wonderful, but the trees too are very special.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Bark of Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Cercidiphillum weeping into one of the garden's ponds.

Cercidiphillum japonicum f. pendulum  weeping into one of the garden’s ponds.

There is a whole arboretum to explore, but that will need to be another post.

Meanwhile why not take a seat and enjoy the view.

Here?

lawn

Take a seat

Or here?

tree

On the way out I went past the burgeoning herbaceous borders, all staked up with a variety of materials – a real promise of things to come. . . .

A variety of staking

A variety of staking

The rapidly growing herbaceous border

The rapidly growing herbaceous border

I must return later in the year to see the summer flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 thoughts on “The Cruickshank Botanic Gardens in Spring

  1. Thank you I enjoyed the tour of this delightful garden. I think we may go Aberdeen next year for the annual Scottish Rock Garden Club show so I will add the botanic garden to the itinerary.
    I think the blue flower may be an Omphalodes, possibly Omphalodes verna (blue-eyed mary). Speedwells (Veronica species) have four petals and I think your flowers have five.

    • Thanks for the suggestion of Omphalodes. There are so many blue flowered wild plants that id is difficult. I think my plant was more upright though, although my photo doesn’t show it – it sounds as if Omphalodes creeps along the ground? I think Frances might be right with Alkanet. I had never heard of it, but the photos look very similar to mine.
      When is the Rock Garden show? You must come and visit my garden if you have time when you are here.

      • Thank you for the invitation, I’ll be in touch if our plans come to fruition.
        Alkanet is the same family as Omphaloides and it is a possibility although it is normally very hairy and the leaves look too toothed. Always very difficult from a photograph, nevertheless a very pretty plant.

        • That is interesting that they are the same family. I must say I didn’t really notice that it was particularly hairy. I will take more notice next time I see it and maybe more photographs. I am just beginning to realise how difficult it is to id wild flowers as many are so similar. It seems even worse with butterflies though. We were up near Inverness the other day and I photographed an orange butterfly – a fritillary. I got really excited when I looked it up thinking it was quite rare, but then I found a common one that looked exactly the same apart from under its wings!

  2. Annette, it looks a lovely place to visit, the plant ID I think it is the same as one I have in my garden, Green Alkanet: http://wildflowerfinder.org.uk/Flowers/A/Alkanet%28Green%29/Alkanet%28Green%29.htm
    the person that gave it to me said it was borage, but it didn’t look like borage to me, I posted it on my blog (like you are) and a lady in Wales named it for me, Janet @ Plantaliscious recently posted photos of some growing wild near her and she told me it is in the same family as borage, Frances

    • Hi Frances. I think you are right with Green Alkanet. I had wondered about Borage too, but didn’t think it was quite right. Thank you so much for the ID.

  3. What a calming place to visit, I would have made good use of several of the benches! Lucky for you to have found this spot and eve better that they have a cool plant sale 🙂

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