Mark Paterson explores the differences between gardening with the Gulf Stream in the South West to gardening in the North East of Scotland. Right from the start it was clear that Mark had a real appreciation of the big picture of our planet, of the vital contribution of Gardeners, and of the benefits of gardening to all who grow things.
He opened with world maps showing the influence of currents like the Gulf Stream – how this benefits not only the West coast, but also the Shetlands, and even Aberdeen. He explained the Cruikshank logo of the Polar bear and Himalayan Blue Poppy. He noted the (typical) temperature difference between town and countryside of 4 deg. C, (try checking this when driving in and out of Helensburgh!). His next pics were of the Cruikshank Gardeners, for whom he had much obvious respect “Gardens don’t grow themselves”.
And then to one or two of the special plants to be seen, as well as some wonderful mature trees. Some special snowdrops, a beautiful Witch Hazel, Algerian Lilies, and of course the Himalayan Blue Poppy! In the “courtyard microclimate” area Mediterranean plants survive, there is a Portuguese Cork Oak, and a fine herbal garden. Hedging is of crucial importance for plant protection.
On climate change, at Cruikshank the gardeners see the seasons changing, becoming less predictable, more periods of really heavy rain, and more high winds – they use the Met forecasts, and now close some paths when winds rise above 40mph. An increase is also noted in disease, funguses, and bacteria. Last year snowdrops, daffodils, and crocuses were all flowering at the same time.
In helping to pay its way, the Cruikshank hosts weddings, the planting of memorial trees, and fundraising by The Friends of The Cruikshank. And, importantly, as part of the University of Aberdeen, it encourages students of all disciples to work and relax in the gardens – introducing some to a lifetime love, and even career, of gardening.