Monday the 14th of March must have been the warmest, sunniest day of the year so far in Scotland. Fairly unusually, it was several degrees warmer in Scotland than it was in the south-east of England, which always cheers my mum up (she gets fed up of weather forecasters telling her how good the weather is down there).
Throughout the winter I had been looking forward to taking a trip to Dawyck Botanic Garden in the Scottish Borders, and Monday seemed like the ideal day to do it. I bundled my dear parents into the car and off we scooted.
Arriving in the town of Peebles around midday, we found a free space in the car park and toddled along the main street in the sunshine.
Our first stop was the Crown Hotel, where we were hoping to partake of a spot of luncheon.
We settled ourselves at a table in the conservatory and perused the menu. My dad chose haggis, neeps and tatties with a whisky sauce (the sauce came in a miniature saucepan that he enjoyed using to moisten his food), I had Eyemouth haddock with chips and my mum went for steak and ale pie (a small portion, if you can believe it from the picture below).
When we’d polished that lot off we floated back to the car and headed south-west towards Dawyck (pronounced Doick).
One of the attractions of Dawyck Botanic Garden at this time of year is the snowdrop display. We got our first taste of it with clusters of the little flowers under trees next to the car park.
Inside the garden they were even more numerous, with the banks of the Scrape Burn covered with thousands, or perhaps millions, of tiny white gems.
Although it was a magnificent sunny day, even warm in the sunshine, we had the place almost to ourselves. Among the few other visitors were an elderly lady and gentleman who, when I first spotted them, were standing on a path leaning on their sticks and staring intently at the ground. Walking towards them, I tried to guess what it was they were looking at.
There was a small patch of snowdrops in the general direction of their gaze, but they didn’t seem to be focussing on that. As I drew nearer they pointed out the object of their fascination. The gentleman used a word I hadn’t heard for a long time.
‘It’s a puddock,’ he declared, and a puddock (Scots for ‘frog’) it was, an exceptionally accommodating one that sat nicely until I’d snapped it before hopping off into the undergrowth.
After a good bit of strolling around admiring the greenery, the various benches dotted about started looking very attractive. My dear pater is very fond of a little sit down.
Alas, all too soon the shadows were lengthening and it was time to think about heading home.
I often wish I lived a bit closer to Dawyck so that I could visit more often. From Mid-May to June the rhododendrons come into bloom and I suspect the lure of the azalea terrace will be too great to resist.
Thank you to all at Dawyck, who look after it so well and make it such a beautiful place to wander around.