Tag Archives: Glasgow

saxifraga

I discovered a tiny Holi festival going on in the neighbourhood this morning! From here, these beautiful little Saxifraga x urbium or London Pride (what a great name!) don’t look all that colourful…

Saxifraga x urbium

Saxifraga x urbium

But look a little closer…

Saxifraga x urbium

Saxifraga x urbium

Saxifraga urbium

Saxifraga x urbium

And you’ll see!

Saxifraga x urbium

Saxifraga x urbium

Aren’t they beautiful?! I completely fell in love with this sweet little plant but had no idea what it was. At first glance, I thought it might be a crassula of some kind as the flowers kind of resemble each other. But a bit of hunting and it turned out to be a saxifrage, a species that I vaguely remembered from my days as a herbalist but knew absolutely nothing about. So many plants to discover! There’s a lot of it in my neighbourhood, mostly planted amongst the rocky edges of tenement front gardens, and I’ll definitely be seeing it differently now!

There are so many details that you just can’t see unless you get in close.

The chunky, juicy style topped with delicate stigma, patiently awaiting pollen…

Saxifraga x urbium

Saxifraga x urbium

Those beautiful, coral-salmon, pollen-bearing anthers…

Saxifraga x urbium

Saxifraga x urbium

And that way that, once the anthers have fallen from the top, the filaments retract to form a series of rays between the petals…

Saxifraga x urbium

Saxifraga x urbium

And the summer mornings, with their long sunrise and soft, gentle light, make it easy to capture some lovely details, even for novice photographers like me, even though I know nothing about my camera’s manual settings.

How about you? Caught any nice details recently?

getting out

It’s been 10 weeks since we arrived here and I can’t believe it! As always, it seems like forever and yet hardly any time since we left home… We are slowly making a life for ourselves here and I’ve had some lovely moments with lovely people and finding things that feel important to get involved in (more on those soon)! The last weeks have mostly been spent finding things that we need (the most simple things like broadband, Rooibos, enough blankets to keep us warm and tofu!) and want (good bread, a nice teapot and secondhand books on local history, flora and British cooking!) and our flat is starting to feel quite cosy! For me personally, my main focus has been finding sources for things that I need to make stock for my shop and lots of things are getting scratched off on that list too.

One thing I’m still working on getting enough of is space… Or, more particularly, green space. Glasgow has a really open feel about it, in the sense that streets are wide and the city not too built up, but, moving from a city of over four million people to one with less that a quarter of that, I expected to have a greater sense of space. But, of course, I was forgetting how much much more densely populated Europe is and Glasgow, while definitely easier to get around than Melbourne and blessed with some fantastic parks and gardens, is the most densely populated city in Scotland. But, for me, it’s not really the streetscape but our living spaces that I’m struggling with. Don’t get me wrong- we have a beautiful flat with plenty of light and space. It’s more that living on the fourth floor is a big change and I really miss the signs of life that I was so used to… looking out the windows and seeing the trees move in the wind, having cats around to smooch with (I can’t tell you how much I miss that!) and being able to take a bowl of food out onto the back deck and eat under the sky.

So we’re finding new ways to bring that into the day. House plants are now on the list of things we need. So is a bird feeder to put on the window sill. We’ve cut through the silicon seals on some of our windows so that we can feel the breeze moving through the house… The Glasgow parks are an absolute gift and seem to be appreciated and used by many and we’re lucky enough to be a ten-minute walk from the Glasgow botanic gardens- as you can imagine, I end up there at some point most days! And it turns out that it’s only 20 minutes on our local train to the beginning of the West Highland Way, a 150km walk that starts in Milngavie and takes walkers through some beautiful land all the way to Fort William. So easy and quick to get out of town! That’s certainly a benefit of a smaller city. We headed out this morning and did the first 8km of the walk and then turned around- it was just enough walking to feel like we’d got moving and was an absolute delight for our nervous systems too! The sound of birds, wind and trees, the glow of green leaves, the movement of sun and clouds above us and the dark, cool shadows under the trees…

Big sky

Big sky

Fishing

Fishing

Reeds

Reeds

Beech

Branches

Birches

Birches

Larch

Larch

Larch bundles

Larch bundles

The gorse was in bloom everywhere so I was able to harvest some beautiful flowers (along with birch bark) to use for dyeing. Scotto and I were blown away by how like Reef Oil their perfume is! Incongruous! (I’ve been so missing my dye pots but that’s set to change! Dye classes are also in the planning so do keep an eye out if you’re interested in learning.)

Gorse

Gorse

Gorse

Gorse

Gorse

Fuzzy gorse (or furze as it’s known here)

And, with the help of my macro lens, we explored the colours and textures of some wonderful and tiny fungi…

Trametes versicolor

Trametes versicolor

Trametes versicolor

Trametes versicolor

Lovely colours on these Trametes versicolor

Lovely colours on these Trametes versicolor

Trametes sp... suavolens?

Trametes sp… suavolens?

Mushroom

Birch bracket fungus

And there were plenty of other flowers about.

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)

Can anyone tell me what this beauty is? It's got to be in the Rosaceae family but I've got no idea, beyond that!

Rubus spectabilis or Salmonberry, an escapee from North America with fruit similar to raspberries.

Anemone

Anemone nemorosa

I even saw the beginnings of the bluebell season- one, as-yet-unopened specimen! But I’ll hold out on posting until they’re in their full glory- I can’t wait to experience that…

It’s been such a lovely reminder of how easy it is to get into the green places and we plan to make this a regular walk. I’d love to hear about any other spots around Glasgow that are easy to get to or worth a trip… do please let me know if you know somewhere or are heading out yourself- I’m always up for new walking buddies!

moss

I’m obsessed with the mosses growing all over everything in Glasgow! I imagine they are most obvious right now because of the cold and moisture of winter but they can found on practically all fixed objects with a vaguely flat surface where moisture can collect and add a huge amount of cheer to the grey-brown winter landscape…

I’m looking forward to learning about the many different species- there are over 900 species of bryophytes (a group that includes not only mosses, but also liverworts and hornworts which are commonly confused with mosses) here in Scotland and, although I come from a relatively lush part of Australia, I’m a complete novice when it comes to bryophyte ID. So I have my work cut out for me.

In the meantime, I’m just enjoying these as-yet-unnamed beauties in all their forms…

Dots

Dots

Mossy dots

Mossy dots

Mossy dots

Mossy dots

Bridge

Bulges

Wall

Wall

Mossy walls

Mossy walls

Steps

Steps

Tree roots

Tree roots

Pompom trees

Pompom trees

Moss pompoms

Moss pompoms

Twig

Twig

Mossy jumper

Mossy balaclava

Branch

Branch

Knot

Knot

Moss on cherry bark

Moss on cherry bark

And, just because it’s so lovely, I’m adding this lichen into the mix. Not sure I’ll be taking on a study in Scottish lichens though- that’s another 1500 species!

Lichen on birch tree

Lichen on birch tree

Happy weekend!

glasgow

Hello from Glasgow! We’ve only been here for two weeks but the craziness of January, what with packing up our house and lives in Melbourne and saying goodbye to so many loved ones, already seems like months ago- although I think we are still recovering! We came with work leads but no real plans or commitments and so have been able to take the time to settle in gently. We’ve been spending most of our time wandering the streets and doing a bit of sightseeing too, so the city (or parts of it) is starting to feel like home…

Looking over at Park Circus, the swanky part of town!

Looking over at Park Circus, the swanky part of town!

University of Glasgow

University of Glasgow

Wonderful windows at the University of Glasgow

Wonderful windows at the University of Glasgow

Stained glass

Stained glass

Although we’ve tried to just take it easy, we’re also very keen to start putting down roots and so have been looking at loads of tenement flats and have our fingers crossed that we’ll be accepted for one in particular- so, so lovely! Scotto is in discussions with several acupuncture clinics and I’ve already got some work teaching knitting (more on that tomorrow) and am exploring how to run workshops in natural dyeing too. I’ve also been in contact with coordinators at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens to see how I can get involved there. So there are good plans in the works! Now I’m just looking forward to making some friends here and building a community and routine for myself- after being so busy recently, it’s so strange to have so little in place!

Greenhouse and cold frames, Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Greenhouse and cold frames for starting seedlings in the cold climate, Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Tender plants under glass

Tender plants under glass

Children's gardens

Children’s gardens

The River Kelvin

The River Kelvin

This part of the Kelvin was frozen over when we arrived and much of the vegetation was beautiful shades of brown and grey but, over the past week, the ice has disappeared, birds are more active and there are bulbs and buds appearing everywhere. To me, it feels like spring is around the corner. Or perhaps not? We don’t know the weather patterns yet!

Hornbeam

Hornbeam (Carpinus spp.)

Flowering quince

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles japonica) is a winter flowerer in Melbourne but is appearing now in very early spring here

Viburnum

Viburnum spp.

Spirea

Spirea

Snowdrops!

Snowdrops (Galanthus spp)

Snow

Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum)

Winter aconites

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Crocuses

Crocus spp.

Chirpy Robin

Chubby, chirpy robin

Squirrel

Chunky squirrel!

I’ll be back with more very soon but, for now, we send our love to all our family and friends! xx