As observed in 2011
Spring wedding week
At this time of year the leafy growth is covered in racemes of white blossom. The plant is vigorous and often collapses under its own weight resulting in a tangle of twiggy growth. An improved cultivar ‘The Bride’ was raised in Holland in 1938. This is a more compact growing shrub usually reaching 2m x 2m at maturity.
Remnants of last year’s flowers can be seen in the form of the seed pods. Of distinctive shape with the five divided compartments as seen in the image, star shaped in cross section.
Rhododendron campanulatum ssp. campanulatum is found throughout the Himalayas. Seeds were collected in Nepal from a collection made at c. 3500 metres. This seed has grown into a four metre high evergreen multi-stemmed shrub with similar breadth.
Flowering profusely at present it is a magnificent sight covered in trusses of large white blooms. As the growth buds expand to open the bud scales colour and drop. These vary in colour and are an added seasonal feature of the plant. Protecting the emerging leaves which are themselves protected by a covering of delicate silver hairs.
All these Himalayan Rhododendron species benefit from a cool moist climate and the addition of a light mulch of leaf mould. The root zone is a mass of fibre and should be treated with respect, avoid cultivating over the area.
Colour in the copse
The mass of of yellow with a comparable heavy scent is Corylopsis sinensis var. calvescens. The blue ground cover is Pulmonaria angustifolia ‘Munstead Blue’. Lift the gaze and take in the white canopy of the Magnolia kobus and Magnolia salicifolius.
Deeper in the copse the deep red's of Rhododendron neriiflorum ssp. neriiflorum and Rhododendron sperabile var. weihsiense were both collected in SW China.
This image shows the floral parts of Magnolia salicifolius with three of the six pure white petals removed. A native of Japan where the mature tree will exceed 6m x 6m in height and canopy spread. It prefers full sun with the root run through a dry stony medium loam. Here it associates with broadleaved woodland composed of Fagus, Betula, Sorbus and Acer species at an altitude of c.900metres.
Three stunners to herald spring
Pulsatilla turczaninovii is a native to the grassy slopes of E & N Asia into Siberia. It is a herbaceous clump former amassed with flowers. The sepals a blue / violet colour with contrasting yellow anthers. Magnificent as a mature plant on the alpine wall. The foliage is covered in a multitude of tiny silver hairs, preventing damage from desiccating winds and bright sunlight.
Rhododendron recurvoides an evergreen shrubby species collected by Frank Kingdom Ward in Arunachal Pradesh, India where, I quote from his notes he found it “scattered on the sunniest slope of steep granite screes.” That gives us an idea of its preferred requirement in cultivation. Growing in the rock garden flushed with mottled pink trusses of flowers.
Erythronium dens-canis “The Dog’s Tooth Violet” colonises peat banks amongst shrubby ground cover in the Catalan area of Spain. It has a Eurasian distribution. Loves a deep moist woodland soil where the bulb can extend downwards to vaguely resemble a fang hence the common name. The leaves are heavily mottled brown and set opposite in pairs giving rise to flower stalks terminating in a single flower. Reflexed pink petals with prominent extended flower parts. The silver grey anthers shed a similar coloured pollen.
As obseved in 2010
Mini and maxi - blasts of yellow
Narcissus minor; one of the compact members of the genus is always a reliable species to flower. Preferring an open position in full sun it is flowering in the rock garden. A native of the Pyrenees; ranging through Northern Spain.
The mass flowering of Forsythia can be seen in the south west corner of the garden where a selection of cultivars and species are represented. The attached image shows F. x intermedia 'Karl Sax' a cultivar bred for its larger flowers. Originating at the Arnold Arboretum, Boston, USA. It was the result of genetic crosses made by Professor Karl Sax, the Director during the 1940's.
Both of these plants herald spring; interesting to note that I wrote about Forsythia as a seasonal plant of interest on the 10th March 2008. Another pointer to our late spring is the date of the first cut. This year we commenced grass cutting on the 1st April. During the 23 years that I have collated this information this is the latest date we have taken the mowers from the shed.
Gold for the Alpine team.
A fine start for the Alpine team at the garden.
The team have won gold medals for displays of alpines at Stirling, Hexham and Edinburgh this year. These shows are organised by the Scottish Rock Garden Club providing a forum for members to display the very best that the season and their growing skills offer.
Open to the public, the next show will be Perth on 17th April, followed by Glasgow; 1st May and Aberdeen on the 15th May. Well worth a visit to admire the colour and diversity of these mountainside plants.
Better still; spend time in the alpine house at Edinburgh. There you will see the diversity of flower colour within the species of Primula allionii. This pan was part of the display at last weekends Edinburgh show along with Iris willmottiana for which a Certificate of merit was also awarded.
Collected from the North eastern area of the Russian Federation; Petropavlovsk - Kamchatsklly, Salix sphenophylla is a prostrate hugging deciduous sub shrub. More used to a boreal maritime climate where its growth will be reduced due to the harsh climatic conditions.
Growing over a low retaining wall in the nursery it hugs the contours. The new leaf growth is covered in minute hairs which filter the wind blowing across the tundra preventing desiccation of the fresh green growth.
The catkins are held prominently, 50mm in size, taking on a red tinge from the prominent style colouration. A desirable member of the genus to cultivate.
A crown at the Royal
Towering through the Herbarium border is the bright flowered Fritillaria imperialis 'Orange Beauty'. These "Crown Imperials" are members of the Liliaceae family. The terminal head of flowers is topped by a whorl of leaves. The business end of the bulb is a scaly affair with as pungent an odour as the flowers have. A smell that will fill a closed down glasshouse overnight; when opened in the morning the smell is overpowering. The top of the bulb has a hollow depression which may catch water and then rot. To prevent this, plant on its side in well drained soil in a sunny open situation.
The wild collected species has a smaller flower with a muted red shade to the petals. Found growing on rocky banks of the Tragacanth Steppe near the roadside south of Shahrekord in the Zagros mountain range at 2279 metres. Companion vegetation consisted of Allium species, Tulipa, Acantholimon.
It does have the distinctive nectaries at the base of the tepals that stare out like white eyes. These are not often noticed with the flower held in descending form. Well worth gently lifting an individual bloom to appreciate this detail.
As observed during April 2009
Cold spring - hot chocolate
Today sees the launch of the Queen Mother Memorial Garden souvenir guide.
The garden, designed, constructed and planted in 2004/05 and opened to the public in 2006 is now maturing and this booklet reflects that maturity and a continuing interest in the planting, the architecture, the inscriptions and overall design.
The booklet is available at the garden shop and at the gates for a price of £6.00.
The plant selection through the garden reflects the countries and continents the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother travelled to. Representing the Southern Hemisphere the delicate yellow flowers of Azara microphylla are produced in profusion. The glossy green evergreen foliage may to an extent hide these but nothing can diminish the scent. Wait for a calm warm day and the aroma of hot chocolate will fill this north east corner. You may detect an underlying hint of vanilla or honey depending on your olfactory prowess.
A. microphylla is native to Chile where it can be found as an understory to Nothofagus obliqua growing in disturbed roadside vegetation in the southern part of the country at c. 700m. Developing as a tree to eight metres. Here it appreciates shelter from cold wind and is often a multi branched plant.
A large easily grown North American deciduous shrub preferring a moist root run.
The beauty is in the pure white petals, blemish free, these are of the purest white colour and sit well with the reddish brown shade of the emerging leaves. The foliage is covered in a fine coating of hair to prevent desiccation in the cold winds. These hairs are lost as the season progresses; the leaves later providing excellent autumn colour.
A multi stemmed shrub of vigour easily reaching three metres in height with a sprawling spread of four or more metres.
The Easter weekend looms closer. Traditionally the time to take the garden seriously again. Where soil has not been prepared through the winter this long weekend allows catch up time. However the temptation to set out tender plants should be put off until next month.
The Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is a fine British native. Mid April and a bright sun sees roadside verges covered in the composite yellow flower heads that in a moment develop into the round seed heads loved by children and gives those of us without a watch the ability to tell the time. These dandelion clocks collectively have the ability to spread c.5000 seeds from one plant during the course of a year. Be warned; that is potentially a job for life weeding the progeny out of the borders.
Where it is present in the more manicured garden the deep tap root can be a problem. If not completely removed the vegetative buds will come to life and multiple shoots will arise. Potentially doubling the number of seeds blowing in the wind.
Another plant sending up new shoots is Cardiocrinum giganteum. The burnished bronze leaves are unfurling with the increase in soil temperature and longer day length. The bulb strengthens and develops over 5 - 7 years to reach flowering size for a spectacular display in late June. The image shows the remains of last years flower stem, the plant being monocarpic dies after flowering. The shoots next to this are sprouting from young bulbs growing as offshoots.
The Garden is open 10.00am until 7.00pm daily. A visit is worthwhile to appreciate the visions and vistas and savour the sights and scents of the plant kingdom.
Osmunda regalis 'Hillii' is a cultivar of the deciduous species. As shoots sprout from the base the growing points elongate and unfurl at different rates. These shoots are covered in a brown woolly down. As growth lengthens from the pink base the shoot takes on a purple hue. The fronds on expanding will either be fertile or non fertile.
Loving waterlogged soils where these plants deep roots can establish in readiness for harvesting as osmunda fibre coveted by orchid growers as a potting medium.
Mention has to be made of the Rhododendron and Magnolia collection. This year has been exceptional for flower colour. Ideal growing conditions during the previous two wet and overcast summers combined with minimal discolouration by frost damage this spring has resulted in plants awash with colour.
A prime example is Rhododendron crinigerum var. crinigerum, the one hundredth collection made by Joseph Rock. Discovered at the Salween - Irrawaddy Divide in the Yunnan Province China. The flowers are pink in bud then pure white on maturing.
Perennial Honesty is a plant of the cottage garden. Scented flowers reliably produced on this herbaceous member of the Cruciferae family. The plant of Lunaria rediviva in this image was grown from seed collected in Croatia on the Sljeme Mountain at 900m. Found growing throughout Central and Southern Europe where it seeds freely.
Here it is easily propagated by self sown seedlings that germinate freely, flowering in their second year. In seed, the almost round, papery seed pods do not fade as completely translucent and silvery as in the annual species, Lunaria annua. However in full bloom this perennial species more than compensates. There is an overall mauve colouration to the heads and the scent is delightful. As for the leaves the net veining is of exceptional quality and clarity, complemented by a serrated edge.
A plantsman's plant
All the way from the South Korean countryside, Aristolochia manshuriensis is worth growing against a west facing wall for the unusual flower structure. The calyx is an inflated s-shape gaining the genus the name "Dutchman's Pipe".It sits prominently at a leaf joint complementing the rapidly expanding new growth from this deciduous woody climber.
Only 70 - 80mm in length its outwardly yellow shades, with light red marking on the throat attract attention but once the calyx is cut open marvel at the insect attracting kaleidoscope of colours within.
The stem looks older than its years due to a cracking and fissuring habit from the base upwards. Clothed in heart shaped leaves, thick in texture. Native to East Asia this plant was grown from seed collected at 440m in the Soraksan National Park in the Republic of Korea where it was growing in open granitic soil.
Two Rocks and a Schilling
Growing in the copse are progeny of Joseph Rock's selection of Rhododendron adenosum, collection number 18228 from the mountains of Sichuan province, China.
Grow in open woodland where the plants will receive frost protection. Pink buds open white with internal mottling and prominent flower parts.
R. vernicosum, another collection made mid way through Rock's prolific plant collecting career. Born in Austria, later taking American citizenship, during his eccentric life, Rock collected in the region of 40, 000 plants. This is a strong growing plant now covered in bloom, petals with a crinkle cut appearance, almost artificial with a warm pink glow.
R. arboreum ssp. cinnamomeum var. roseum is a plant spotted as garden worthy by Tony Schilling on a trip to Nepal 1n 1983. The retired Curator of Wakehurst Place collected seed from the parent plant at 3048metres in the Dorandi Valley.
The internal brown markings show through as a pattern on the blush outer. Especially prominent on ageing.
Spring temperatures and still the need for a thermos?
Thermopsis villosa a native to the coastal states of south eastern USA where it is found growing in forest clearings.
The new growth is covered in fine white hairs, trifoliate leaves are held flat together as hands in prayer. The stem is covered in a white bloom. The youngest section of stem purple.
As observed during April 2008
Pillars and palms, the very best of Victoriana
Come in, look up, and appreciate the leafy canopy of the palms and the Victorian ironwork of the Temperate Palm House. April the first is the day 150 years ago that the Temperate Palm House opened its doors to the public allowing access to many newly collected plants.
It is, at 21.95 metres (72ft), the tallest traditional glasshouse in Britain. Reading the description of the building in the July 1858 edition of the Transactions of the Edinburgh Botanical Society, Professor Balfour wrote "that he believed it was the tallest palm house in the kingdom".
A vote in 1855 of £6000 from Parliament enabled work to commence in May 1856. On completion, the total cost was £6500. The iron work for the double roof dome and the 14 supporting cast iron pillars were cast at the Shotts Foundry. The mellow sandstone blocks originate from a quarry at Bishopbriggs where the pale grey to white coloured sandstone of the Carboniferous age was laid down in a sedimentary basin.
The house was constructed slightly earlier than the Kibble Palace, another iconic botanic structure in Scotland, which has also recently undergone refurbishment of its glass frame and planting within Glasgow Botanic Garden.
Walk in from the cold and there is often a scented air to the interior. During March this was the white-flowered Jasminum polyanthum, a scandent plant from China that revels in the support allowing it to climb with ease from ground level to the height of the first balcony. A few flowers remain allowing the occasional drift of scent to be appreciated.
We do need to concentrate on the palms, the group of plants the house and its earlier (1834) tropical neighbour were named after. The tallest plant in the house is Howea forsteriana, commonly known as the Kentia palm, from Lord Howe Island. It is laden with fruit, green to red to black in colour - the raw material which provides work for islanders on Lord Howe Island, a Pacific paradise to the east of mainland Australia.
Once the whaling industry declined, the collection and export of seeds from this and H. belmoreana developed. Seed collection in the wild is a regulated process as both endemic species are categorised as vulnerable on the IUCN red data list. A specialist nursery on the island germinates and grows on for export worldwide seedlings to fulfil the constant demand for specimen plants in the interior landscape industry. It is the most popular palm sold in the garden centre trade. Kentias are ideally suited to office buildings, shopping centres and indeed as a pot plant in the home due to its tolerance of relatively low light levels.
Ercilla volubilis collected in Chile during 1996 by the ICE team, a collaboration between the Royal Botanic Garden and the Instituto de Investigaciones Ecologicas Chiloe. It was observed in the wild growing to 3m in height with clusters of fleshy orange-red fruits. Located at the giddy altitudinal height of 14m, inland from the coast by 1km, forming the original coastal forest margin.
At Edinburgh, it is growing very successfully with the protection of a south facing wall behind it in the Chilean area to the north of the Glasshouses, with the support of which it has reached 2m+. Fresh growth in a favourable south west lee of the wall has already shot to 200mm this year.
Brown adhesive pads emanate from behind the leaf axils to hold the stems to the brickwork. It is essential these grip into the bricks surface when the vigorous growth is young as the combined weight of stem, leaves and flowers will cause growth to collapse away from the wall. Where this happens it is best to cut these out and allow fresh shoots to fill the space.
The evergreen leaves are ovate rounded with a firm feel to them. From the leaf axils the flowers drop out on stalks 75mm in length, not attractive, but noticeable. The ball-shaped buds open and the whole drooping spike then resembles a faded pink candyfloss-like tail up to 60mm long. Having a slight musty fragrance, more noticeable as the temperature rises. These also attract early bees on the lookout for a nectar source.
Two twiggy shrubs
The deciduous woody shrub Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana is a member of the Hamamelidaceae family and hails from the Himalayas. Plants are found growing in the north-west frontier province of Pakistan on west facing slopes with scree at 2700 to 2980 metres.
The terminal brown felted buds open slowly to reveal the conglomerate mass of flowers, of which the yellow anthers are prominent. Further opening of the bracts reveals the inner white colour. The combined flowering gives a light appearance to the mass of twigs. At this time the new leaves are forcing through at the corners of the flowers. Planted near the road edge within the Hamamelis collection, the twiggy mass is flowering well this year. The individual flowers are relatively attractive but don't expect the seductive scent that the Hamamelis plants provided. It's not a thing of beauty when in flower but will attract the botanically interested.
For a delightful scent and showy blooms, walk over to the Demonstration Garden, here Viburnum carlesii 'Aurora' is changing from tight red bud to open white blooms. The scent thrown out from the rounded cymes by a mature plant on a warm day is exceptional.
The species is native to Korea and Japan's Tsushima Island, in the Korean Strait from where seed was sent to Slieve Donard Nursery in Northern Ireland. Here Leslie Slinger selected out seedlings and introduced 'Aurora' to the trade in 1958. It received a well deserved Award of Garden Merit from the RHS in 1984.
Our plant is a very good form, displaying a mass of flowers. In bud, they are carmine red and on opening they're white tinged pink. Within some of the individual flowers the anthers are prominent, on others subtended. The stigma lies at the base of the tube red in colour.
Leaf growth and development is well advanced, highlighting the flower colour. The plant has a rounded shape with vigorous water shoots arising from its centre.
Spines from the southern hemisphere
If there was ever a plant to deter all comers this is it. The leaves of Berberis darwinii are clothed in lethal spines. Anyone who has cultivated around or weeded beneath the canopy of this plant will have experienced the spines hanging from the flesh of their hands and gathered on clothing during the process. This however did not deter Charles Darwin, who, as naturalist on the voyage of the Beagle discovered the plant in 1835. It was subsequently introduced to Britain by William Lobb in 1849 from Chiloe.
The tri-pointed, dark, glossy evergreen leaves sport a spine at each point of the apex. Other spines are found on the leaf edge. What makes this plant so useful is the prolific flowering and strong evergreen mass that it grows into. It is ideal as a boundary screen or due to the vigorous growth, as a shelter belt plant. Prune flowered growth immediately after flowering before the black fruit has a chance to ripen and shed its fertile seed.
Our plant to the west of the Glasshouses Front Range towers to five metres and has a stabilising root system rarely damaged by wind. A row of these plants will also make a thick, impenetrable hedge.As the golden yellow flowers held on drooping racemes disintegrate the ground beneath becomes a yellow sea of spent flower parts.
This evergreen climber is found growing at altitudes from 100 - 2400 metres in forests and along forest margins in its native China. Gripping, for want of a better term, hold of anything to haul itself up through the branch framework of supporting vegetation for exposure to sunlight.
The leaf is made up of three glabrous, leathery, narrowly ovate leaflets. It is the petiole of these individual leaflets that on touching a potential support kinks itself around and grips tightly. This supports the advancing growth which in the corner of the quadrangle at the Front Range has gained five metres in height through a Viburnum tinus. The new vegetative shoots are a deep bronze red.
Needing a sheltered spot to avoid winter die back and to promote flower bud formation; this specimen has thrown out a couple of flower trusses that open pure white from globose silvery buds. The individual flowers comprise 6 petals with a central boss of stamens, topped by light coffee brown anthers.
A worthy champion
On the Pyrus lawn to the south west corner of the garden is Pyrus korshinskyi. Registered in the Tree Register of the British Isles as a champion tree, it was last measured in 2004 at 8 metres height with a trunk girth of 1.26 metres. This is one of several specimens to be given champion status in the collection at Inverleith.
The ornamental pears are truly magnificent in blossom and this specimen excels in expectation. A deciduous tree that is sending out fresh leaf but this is overwhelmed by the profusion of blossom terminating the shoots.
The leaf petiole is tinged red matching in with the tight bud colour. As development continues the 5 petals become pure white which contrast with the vermillion red anthers. In the centre of the flower is the split stigma, three pin like points triangulating away from each other.
The bark is deeply and attractively fissured from the trunk into the mature and extensive branch framework.
Go now to appreciate this venerable addition to the garden.
An early flowering perennial
Underestimated and undervalued, Doronicum ‘Miss Mason', this early flowering, early leafing perennial is worth a place in all gardens. Reliable is its middle name, not a year will pass without a generous supply of single yellow composite flowers sent to a maximum height of 400mm.
Easily propagated by division, this is best done in late autumn allowing the rejuvenated roots to establish, resulting in flowering the following spring. Due to its growth pattern and its dislike of a dry root zone during the summer it is prone to grow outwards from the centre of the clump. This leaves the middle with weak growth, necessitating regular division to maintain the vigour of the clump.
Due to the brightness of colour it looks out of place when planted in a sea of green. Doronicum is best appreciated as a larger group, placed with other seasonal flowers, e.g. the later flowering daffodils, the perennial honesty, Lunaria rediviva. Tolerant of shade and here watch the flower heads twist to face the sun. In bud the flower is protected by the green sepals which have a parcel twist at the top. On opening these green sepals spread beneath the ray florets enhancing the petal colour.
A semi double flowered cultivar also worth growing is D. orientale ‘Spring Beauty', seen growing in the herbaceous border. Slightly less vigorous, to 300mm, producing large heads, 65mm in diameter with masses of yellow ray florets. Both cultivars have green stems with a white pithy inner, holding heart shaped, mid green leaves with a serrated edge.
Floral structure to delight students of botany
Akebia trifoliata a deciduous woody climber native to China and Japan. Found growing in full sun in moist heavy loam in a valley bottom of the Kamagone River at 655 metres. Climbing to 2 metres through Sasa sp., Euonymus sp., Viburnum opulus and Ulmus davidiana.
The flowers are of botanical interest rather than aesthetic beauty. The racemes hang down from the leaf axils, composed of separate male and female flowers on the same raceme.
The wine red female flowers are largest and individually made up of 3 sepals containing the stigma and styles, hanging beneath these are the smaller male flowers. The smaller sepals reflex back to show the black anthers which open to release white pollen.
At this stage the trifoliate leaves are developing with an indented notch at the tip. There are three interesting lobes on the leaf edges. Growing on the west facing wall on the East side of the garden, twining anticlockwise to a height of six metres.
For previous years' highlights during this month, see the April Garden Highlights Archive page.
As observed during April 2007
- M. stellata from Japan, Honshu
- M. denudata from Eastern China
- M. kobus from Japan and Korea.
Bulb time in the Alpine House.
- Fritillaria, Narcissus, Scilla, Erythronium, Juno Iris are providing a spectacular display. Complemented by the cushion plants on the north side of the house. Draba, Dionysia and Androsace species
- Synthyris missurica ssp. stellata is the mauve patch on the alpine wall
- Narcissus cultivars in flower on the lawn to the south of the Copse
- Rhododendron oreodoxa var. fargesii - native to China. Several large plants in flower through the copse, blush pink in bloom.
- Berberis lologensis 'Apricot Queen' and Pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign'
- Trio of Magnolia cylindrica on the Chinese Hillside and two M. kobus at the view point
- Prunus 'Spire' on the Birch Lawn, centre road
- Lysichiton americanus - yellow spathes at the pond edge
- The British natives, wood anemone, A. nemorosa and blue anemone, A. apennina, carpeting the woodland areas.
- Rhododendron uvarifolium var. uvarifolium - a George Forrest collection from 1914 S.W.China forms a mass of pink at the Peat Walls
- Rh. racemosum - collections by Forrest and Yu from the 1920s and 1970s in S.W.China
- Euptelea polyandra Japan. Covered in bloom, the red anthers are conspicuous
- Cercidiphyllum magnificum collected by Ogisu in Japan. Note the delicate spidery anthers protruding from the leaf bud axils
- Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' - large white flowers on two foot tall stems. Glossy green leaves.
- L. aestivum ssp. pulchellum, opposite the West Gate, smaller flowers, native to the islands of Corsica and Sardinia.
- Lathraea clandestina - a parasitic perennial on the roots of Salix. Purple flowers, native to SW Europe
- Pulsatilla sp. through the Rock Garden and on the alpine wall
- Osmunda regalis by the pond lawn - the unfurling fronds are covered in brown indumentum. Native to northern and southern temperate regions, also in the pond lawn O.r. 'Hillii' more advanced growth, light brown fronds
- Malus hupehensis - a Wilson collection from 1912 on the pond lawn
- M. x rubra covered in white blossom
- Trillium grandiflorum two good drifts. Native to E.N.America
- Prunus serrulata 'Yedo Zaura' - pink blossom
- Pyrus salicifolia var. salicifolia - white blossom, pendulous habit. Native to Eastern Turkey, the Caucasus and Iran
- Prunus 'Shirotae', hillside, horizontal growing form covered in white blossom
- Rhododendron rubiginosum var. rubiginosum - a mass of purple flower
- Erythronium revolutum western USA - mottled leaves, hanging pink flowers.
- Exochorda x macrantha on the north side of the pond. Spikes of white flowers
- Sophora microphylla A New Zealand legume, towering out of the sunken courtyard North of the Temperate house
- Malus x gloriosa 'Oekonomierat Echtermeyer'; A 1938 introduction at the palm house entrance. Red buds turn deep pink on opening and fade to light pink
- Berberis darwinii startling orange flowers. Native to Chile and Argentina, Opposite the fern house exit
- Poncirus trifoliate China, Korea. Covered in white flowers, purple filaments as the petals fade. A dense spiny shrub
- Pieris formosa, David Chamberlain's introduction from China in 1975. Full of ivory white, heavily scented flowers and the coloured new growth high in the plant. Also on the Chinese hillside a Ludlow, Sherriff and Elliot collection from 1947
- In the rock garden, in contrast to these large vigorous plants is the compact P.japonica 'Yakushimanum'
- The small leaved Rhododendron at the rock garden are impressive, note Rh. impeditum 1933 introduction by Rock, dark purple flowers fade lighter
- R. williamsianum large pink bell shaped flowers cover these plants, S.W.China and C. Sichuan
- On the Chinese hillside extension, R. rigidum, white flower unusual scent, like toilet cleaner
- Peat walls, Erythronium revolutum and the more delicate Dodecatheon pulchellum, a Ron McBeath collection from 1992, both native to W.N.America
- Magnolia stellata continues to flower
- Prunus avium 'Plena' superbly sculpted trunk on this tree
- Magnolia sprengeri 'Diva' ground beneath covered by Allium oleraceum, "Field Garlic"
- Tulipa species in the Alpine house T. maximowiczii, dwarf species, delicate red. T. linifolia yellow flowers, glaucous leaves. Also a collection of Fritillaria species
- The American Lewisia species are in bud and bloom, delicate to gaudy
- Ornithogalum pyrenaicum "Bath Asparagus" a member of Liliaceae that has colonised the shaded ground beneath the Limes to the north of Inverleith House
- Aesculus hippocastanum "Horse Chestnut". A magnificent flowering forest tree. White flowers clustered on stalks. Various locations throughout the garden
- Ilex aquifolium "Holly"
- Hyacinthoides nonscriptus "Bluebell"
- Hyacinthoides hispanicus "Spanish Bluebell"
- H. h. ‘Bracteata' Long green strap like bracts beneath the flower buds
- H.x massartiana The vigorous hybrid between H. hispanicus x H. nonscriptus. in the rock garden
- Caltha palustris, "Marsh Marigold" vivid yellow flowers, at the pond in the Ecological garden
- Primula vulgaris "Primrose" Demonstration garden
- Allium ursinum "Ransomes" Herb layer in the Cryptogrammic area. White star like flowers