Thursday, May 25, 2017

Aberdeen: In the Garden

One evening Dear Husband and I walked down to the David Welch Winter Gardens at Duthie Park. Lady Elizabeth Duthie donated the 44 acres of Duthie Park to the city of Aberdeen in 1880 in honor of her uncle and brother, and William McKelvie designed a public green space with lakes, a gazebo, and (in 1899) greenhouses. The space has undergone a number of renovations, including new greenhouses in 1969, new lakes in 2013, and a new restaurant being worked on now.

These gorgeous blooms welcomed us to the hot houses. Unfortunately, being a public property, it does suffer some from neglect; the water features all need to be cleaned of algae. Poor goldfish.

Inside the square of the glasshouses is a garden of plants from "Aberdeens" around the world. The white benches crammed throughout the greenhouses all have labels from donors. One bears the following poem:

Sadly missed

A Rose-bud by my early walk,
Adown a corn-enclosed bawk,
Sae gently bent its thorny stalk,
All on a dewy morning.
Ere twice the shades o' dawn are fled,
In a' its crimson glory spread,
And drooping rich the dewy head,
It scents the early morning.

There was also some statuary and other art scattered about. Below left is "Liberty." Below right is "Warrior Ant," but from this angle DH thought it looked more like two people embracing.

The various rooms include the Temperate House, Corridor of Perfumes, Fern House, Victorian Corridor, Japanese Garden, Tropical House and Arid House, which have the third largest collections of giant cacti and bromeliads in Britain. The junior gardeners also had a little display on venus fly traps.

The scavenged stained-glass window of Aphrodite above hangs in the Temperate House over the sunken area where weddings happen. There are also the most lovely Birds of Paradise. The permanent signs promised a couple different, showy Australian species that we couldn't locate. Perhaps they are not in season, or else have been replaced by easier and cheaper plants.

The winter gardens are named for their long-time caretaker, David Welch, under whose leadership they won several awards. We had a lovely sit in his courtyard with a gentle water feature.

Unfortunately, after that we had just enough time to see the cacti and walk out through the hot house before the buildings closed for the night. We made a lap around the larger park, including a short detour through a "1920s rock garden" before heading back to home base. The sun set two hours later.


Watching over the whole park is this statue of Hygeia, the patroness of health, erected in Lady Duthie's honor. The photo doesn't even begin to do justice to how beautiful the blue sky was.

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