The evenings are drawing in early and the winter ahead is full of uncertainty so a crisp, bright day in a beautiful garden feels doubly precious.  In the Edinburgh Botanic Garden many trees are already showing rich autumn colour.


Acer rubrum

Flame red maples….


Cercidiphyllum japonicum

pale gold katsura trees…


Cornus controversa

and a strange dogwood where green merges with purple, so dark that it’s almost black.


Sorbus pseudovilmorinii

There are rowan trees with russet leaves and red berries, others where the leaves are still green and the berries are white or palest pink.


I think this tall blue scabious is the perennial Scabiosa caucasia

Among the autumn colours some summer flowers are still blooming…


The top-heavy flowers of Colchicum autumnale ‘Waterlily’ look as though they’d be more at home in water

but other flowers belong only to autumn.


Colchicum autumnale ‘Rosy Dawn’

Colchicum autumnale is known as autumn crocus, though it’s not related to the spring crocus species.  Its summer leaves are long gone by the time the flowers emerge in autumn.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, or the Botanics, as it’s known locally, is home to a  fantastically varied plant collection, important for botanical research and conservation, but the garden is so much more than a collection. Some areas are planted with species representative of a particular wild habitat, whether in the Scottish highlands or the foothills of the Himalayas.  Elsewhere mass plantings of selected varieties create garden pictures of bold simplicity.  Stony paths twist and turn as they climb through rock gardens and broad grass pathways wind gently through woodland glades, sometimes opening up into surprise views of the Edinburgh skyline.  It’s a wonderful place to get lost in at any season.