Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Seacliff,Tantallon,Bass Rock - Part 2

Seacliff, East Lothian, further along the beach...........


Seabirds nesting on the cliffs.


Ruined 14th century Tantallon Castle.


Red sandstone rock.


This small bay opposite Bass Rock is known as Saint Baldred's Cradle.
In the 8th century the early Christian monk Saint Baldred is said to have landed on this shore.


Bass Rock,looking north over the Firth of Forth,to the coast of Fife.

Bass Rock was once the home of Saint Baldred,who built a hermitage and chapel here.
 Later  the island housed a castle and prison and has been featured in many works of fiction.
The lighthouse, built in 1902,was designed by David Stevenson,
uncle of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson.


Today Bass Rock is best known for it's large ganet population (around 150,000 birds).
Other species found here are guillemot,razorbill,cormorant,puffin,eider duck and many gulls.


A closer view.
I like the way the passing container ship mirrors the shape of the lighthouse.
The white spots on the rocks are seabirds, and their droppings.
 Bass Rock in the 19th century.
Image source  : Wikipedia.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Solstice : Twin Plant Energies and Seacliff - Part 1

Twin Plant Energies (2011) : acrylic ,with crystals and gold highlights on board (50x30cm)




Entrance cut through red sandstone rock  : Seacliff Beach, East Lothian.

Yesterday, Summer Solstice eve,I decided to visit this beautiful,secluded beach.
These days it's used for recreational activities,such as surfing,walking and bird watching, however in past times
it is more  likely to have been the haunt of smugglers,soldiers and fishermen.



View of the beach from the wooded cliff above.


Trees shaped by the wind.


Water channels in the sand echo the shapes of  the trees.

The painting Twin Plant Energies connects with these patterns but is not inspired specifically by this place.






Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Trees at Dawyck

Dawyck  Botanic Garden, Peebles, Scottish Borders :  May.

During the past 300 years, the  families of Veitch, Naesmyth and Balfour,have left their mark on this landscape.
In the 18th and19th centuries,funding of plant hunting expeditions to North America and Asia brought many new and  interesting specimens to Dawyck.
In 1979 the arboretum was gifted to the Royal Botanic Edinburgh by the Balfour family.

Planting has been ongoing in this arboretum since the 17th century. The first horse chestnuts in Scotland
were introduced by the Veitch family in 1650. The oldest tree in the garden is a European silver fir planted in 1680.
 The first larch is said to have been planted when the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus visited in 1725.
Since then the hillside has been covered with mixed woodland: limes ,beeches, and conifers from around the world.



View of Dawyck House from the Beech Walk

New planting is essential to preserve the tradition of discovery and to expand the collection
 for education and conservation. Young seedlings are planted each year to maintain the canopy for the future and
increase the plant collection .

A closer view of the house with the River Tweed  running behind.
Dawyck House is still in private ownership and is not open to the public.

The present building ,designed in the Dutch style by architect William Burn ,was constructed around 1835 after a fire destroyed the previous building. The older Dawyck Castle may have stood here as early as the 12th century when the Veitch family owned the land.As feuding among landed families was common at that time,the building was likely to have been a fortified tower built for protection. The name Dawyck means ox gates.

The house with commercial conifer plantation in the distance.

Around the time that the present house was built,Sir John Naesmyth employed Italian craftsmen to construct
 stone urns,steps and balastrades around the gardens.

Ornamental urn.

Blue Himalayan poppies thrive in the cool acid conditions of the garden.


Since ownership of  the Dawyck  arboretum was transferred to  the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh,it's plant collection has taken on new significance. Dawyck is now part of an international network committed to plant conservation.Exploration and plant collecting continues today but conservation is now the driving force with botanists from around the world  working together to document and conserve the world's plant life.





Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Azaleas at Dawyck and Mt. Katsuragi-san

Azaleas and Rhododendrons at Dawyck (2003)  :  Wall hanging,acrylic on calico (180 x 130cm)


Detail

Azaleas, Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish Borders, May 2011.

As above

Pathway with Dawyck House in the background.

Wild azaleas, Mt.Katsuragi-san, Japan.
Photo by Cosmos.


The Dawyck arboretum, gifted  to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1979 by the owner of Dawyck estate,contains many historic and interesting trees and shrubs. The collection was begun over 300 years ago by the Naesmyth family,the then owners of the estate. As azaleas are likely to have been brought to Scotland from China and Japan by plant hunters in the 18th and 19th centuries,I thought it would be interesting to show this amazing expanse of wild azaleas on Mt.Katsuragi-san in Japan.My thanks to Cosmos for kindly letting me show her photo.
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