My first garden visit of the year.

As I mentioned in my last post, my daughter whisked me away to Bristol for a few days last week and took me to Bristol Botanic Gardens so we could have a break from all the paperwork that we were having to sort out. Once in the garden it was hard to believe that we were still in the city, there were so many mature trees and so much birdsong.

Zantedescia aethiopica Green Goddess was the first plant that greeted us at the entrance.

As soon as we started walking round the garden, it was obvious that as it was a Botanical Garden, it wasn’t laid out like a private garden. There were areas for different species, areas from different periods in history, areas for medicinal plants,areas from different parts of the world etc.

There were quite a few sculptures dotted around, we really liked this dragonfly by the pond.

Loved the deep blue of this iris, but couldn’t see a label unfortunately.

Photographing just as many flowers as I did, if not more, is our lovely daughter in soft focus.

I think this was in the Southern Hemisphere section.

Lots of hardy orchids, Dactylorhiza ,near the edge of the pond.

A quick snooze before too many visitors disturbed him.

The moon gate entrance to the Chinese Garden.

Can anyone tell me what this sign is saying?

The most beautiful flower in this garden was Paeony lactiflora.

We were suddenly confronted with a large stainless steel sculpture of a Kapok flower. Bristol is twinned with the city of  Guangzhou and the Kapok flower is the official flower of their city.  The fibres of the plant are used to make clothes and the flowers are used for medicine.

We then moved onto historic plants from millions of years ago, some even were on the earth before the dinosaurs arrived.

Lovely new foliage on a Monkey Puzzle Tree.

There were lots of beautiful silver birch trees as we were leaving the Chinese Garden. This beautiful bark belongs I think to Betula ermanii, it had a lovely pink glow to it.

I took this photo to remind myself to buy some bulbs in the autumn, they are Scilla peruviana.

A beautiful drift of Osteospermum going off into the distance.

Large clumps of Baptisia australis were a magnet for the bees.

In the medicinal section, there was information telling us which ailments would be cured by certain plants.

Waterlilies on the raised pond were absolutely stunning.

Turning a corner there was a real pop of colour from the oriental poppies.

Zantedescia aethiopica making a huge clump by the path. These were in full sun, mine are in shade in the bog garden, maybe that is why I don’t get many flowers.

Not a good photo I’m afraid but this is the plant Woad. Our ancestors, before the Romans invaded us, used to use woad to colour their bodies blue before going into battle!

Alliums were another favourite of the bees.

This plant fascinated me, I knew this looked like a relative of the Iris but I had to wait until I got home to look it up.

Thank goodness it had a label, it is Moraea spathulata. It has small iris type flowers at intervals up a stem resembling bamboo. I have found a nursery selling seed so might give it a try in the autumn if I remember.

I spotted the beehives when we were starting to leave. They seem very tall for beehives, maybe they are fancy compost bins instead?

It seems such a long time since my last garden visit, it was so nice to be out once more enjoying the plants and flowers. I found a few that I have never met before and a few that are old friends from the garden here. I really enjoyed my visit to the Botanic Garden and hope that it won’t be as long before I find another garden to explore, in the meantime, i must get on with more weeding.


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24 Responses to My first garden visit of the year.

  1. Sally says:

    Beautiful pictures! It looks like a very interesting garden. I’ve never seen one with quite so much diversity. All the garden art is beautiful but, I love the dragon fly statue and wish I could entice him to come stay in my little New England garden…..
    Aren’t water lilies so special? I adore them. I always thought it would be romantic to have the Saver trudge into a pond and retrieve one for me. He didn’t agree with me……..
    The wild orchids are amazing. I thought they might be a kind of lavender before I read your comment.
    Thank you for the lovely tour!

    • Pauline says:

      It certainly was an interesting garden Sally, well worth a visit at another time of year. The dragonfly sculpture was beautiful by the lake, where the real ones were darting about. Wild orchids are something that I have tried to introduce into the garden here, but I don’t think they like my soil unfortunately.

  2. Jason says:

    Looks like a wonderful botanical garden to visit. I love the orange poppies and white peonies, as well as the Baptisia. The dragonfly sculpture is also very nice. The stainless steel kapok flower, I don’t know.

    • Pauline says:

      The orange poppies were a real splash of bright colour Jason, contrasting beautifully with all the green around them. The white peony was so beautiful in its simplicity, I would love to have that one here. I thought the Kapok flower was too chunky altogether, the petals and stamens could have been much thinner and more dainty, I’m glad you’re of the same mind.

  3. Kate Patel says:

    A beautiful post, Pauline, thank you. I like the garden art, especially the dragonfly and the bamboo moon gate is an unusual and inspiring idea, perhaps it’s something I might try with all our offcuts. (We’re in the lower Wye valley, not too far from Bristol. If you and, or, your daughter would like to visit, it would lovely to meet you and show you the garden.)

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Kate, the dragonfly sculpture was beautiful, I would love to have it here by my pond.
      Thank you so much for your offer of visiting your garden when I’m in Bristol Kate, I will certainly remember next time I’m up that way as I would love to see your garden.

  4. Cathy says:

    I love that round gate into the Chinese garden Pauline. I’d love something like that one day, but perhaps made of willow… Botanical gardens are always fascinating for plant lovers as most things are properly labelled! Nice shot of the fresh growth on the Monkey Puzzle tree. I have never seen one here, so perhaps we are just a tad too cold in winter.

    • Pauline says:

      The Moon gate was beautiful Cathy, it was a very peaceful part of the garden and we enjoyed it very much. We have quite a few Monkey Puzzle trees down here in Devon, the branches are very supple and I suppose monkeys find them difficult to climb.

  5. Chloris says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed your day out Pauline. It sounds beautiful with so much to see. There is nothing quite as nice as sharing a beautiful garden with your daughter. It was just what you needed.

    • Pauline says:

      It was just what I needed Chloris, it had been too long. I will have to get myself organised and start garden visiting again as we always enjoyed our days out, usually with a lovely lunch thrown in!

  6. Denise says:

    Isn’t that just the best thing about visiting other peoples’ gardens? Be they large public gardens or small private ones, there are always some new faces and some familiar friends! The bark on the birch is just stunning and I love the gateway into the Chinese garden.
    Oh, the weeding! Where do they all come from. Warm and wet here and the weeds are having a heyday!

    • Pauline says:

      We have had lots more wet weather Denise and the weeds are having a field day! at least with the soil being wet, the weeds just slide out easily.
      The garden was beautiful with some really unusual plants, it was such a pleasure to see them all and I’m really glad my daughter took me.

  7. Christina says:

    It looks more interesting than some Botanic Gardens Pauline. Thank you for sharing your visit with us; I’m sure your daughter made it a very special day, just what was needed to escape all the paperwork! I agree with you and Jason that the Kapok flower was just too clunky! The Dragonfly was beautiful. You are so inspiring, keeping up your garden visits and always finding something new to admire.

    • Pauline says:

      It was interesting Christina, I learnt quite a lot. There were lots of willow sculptures too, I can’t say I fancied the huge rat!
      It was good to take a break from the paperwork, I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel now.

  8. Cathy says:

    Yes, it’s all very different to how it was in December, of course. I was surprised at how little known it was – I had Googled to see if there were any botanic gardens in Bristol but we didn’t see it mentioned in any literature, even in Bristol, which is a shame. Glad you enjoyed the visit

    • Pauline says:

      I’ve seen it mentioned in magazines and books Cathy, and it has been on TV in the dim and distant past, but I don’t think they want to be a tourist attraction, no teas, cakes or plants for sale. It was very peaceful, not many people there at all which was nice.

  9. Anna says:

    Oh that looks like a tranquil and beautiful spot in a busy city Pauline. I have only ever passed through Bristol on the train on my way further south and would love to stop off there one day. I have made a note to visit the Botanic Gardens if we do. Good luck with the weeding. They seems to be more of them waving me every day now that we have had a warm and wet spell.

    • Pauline says:

      Yes, it certainly was Anna, just what I needed. Bristol is a lovely city, our daughter loves living there.
      I think the weeds are winning at the moment, as soon as I’ve cleared some, they pop up again, it is a never ending job at this time of year and they are loving all the rain.

  10. debsgarden says:

    What a nice experience to share with your daughter! I always feel uplifted after visiting a lovely garden. I love the dragonfly sculpture! The beehives look very much like the ones that were recently installed at Aldridge Gardens near me.

    • Pauline says:

      It was a lovely visit Deb, I really enjoyed visiting with my daughter. I have seen quite a few beehives that shape, but never so tall before, usually they are only half that size.

  11. snowbird says:

    I’m so glad that you got garden visiting with daughter, the perfect medicine! Such wonderful flowers and sculptures, I especially liked the dragonfly and the moongate. You take good care of

    • Pauline says:

      It was lovely Dina, we both enjoyed it very much. The dragonfly was a beautiful sculpture and was surrounded by the real thing patrolling his territory.

  12. Diana Studer says:

    We enjoyed visiting Bristol – and I would have loved to see the Botanical Garden – but it was too far for us.
    Your Southern hemisphere mystery must be something Australia or New Zealand. Eucalyptus, tea tree, pohutakawa??
    Our Moraeas I love but my tiny bulbs have been overwhelmed down the years.

    • Pauline says:

      Bristol is a lovely city, my daughter really enjoys living there Diana. It was lovely seeing the Moraeas, such pretty dainty flowers, I must remember to order some seed for the autumn.

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