Not so much to report from this past week at the garden. I worked with the herbaceous plant team. We mostly weeded and edged the entire week. I can tell you, we sure made the garden look nice and neat. There was one day this week that was loads of fun. Monday, we grabbed some shovels, an ax, saws and our brute strength! We walked out to a bed full of shrubs and ripped them out of the ground like the rabid beasts we were! We ended the lives of 40 shrubs that day. I remember their cries. It was horrible.

So.... Saturday....

Sunday was a nice relaxing day in the city. Laura Fowler and I visited the castle. I had seen the castle before; however, I get in for free and she wanted to check it out.



After visiting the castle, we walked down to the market on Prince's street and purchased a hot and delicious paella.


Then we jumped a bus and headed towards Portobello for the rest of the afternoon. Ah, I am really beginning to love the beach. People were swimming (in the freezing cold water), lots of cute little doggies playing, pints, frisbees, fish and chips and no tourists! ha. good fun.

Oh, listen... I was invited to a BBQ Friday. This BBQ was a party for a man who has retired from the Royal Botanic Garden after 41 years! 41 YEARS! Anyway, my friend Martyn (the one who drove me up to Glencoe and Kinlochleven) baked a cake in the form of a lighthouse! Wow! I asked him if he followed a recipe. He replied, "No, I just kind of did it."

Hi Yeh! Things are going better for me now. I still have a very slight cough. Other than that, I feel great! Hopefully, I will not have to worry about being sick for awhile.

This past week, I have been working with the Alpine Team! If you are interested in learning exactly what "alpine" means, just click here. While I was working with these impressive gardeners, I was introduced to a few special plants.

Meet my new friend Philadelphus madrensis. [Photo1] [Photo2] This scrappy little shrub may not look like much, but it packs a smell that you will never forget! EVER! I was just minding my own business when suddenly, SPLASH! My nose was filled with a sweet sugary scent that made my tummy say, "Hi, how ya doing?"

I would also like you to meet Leucogenes leontopodium. [Photo1] [Photo2] This little silver caught my eye and wouldn't let go. The flowers looked like they were made from cloth and the arrangement of the foliage on the stem was a bit psychedelic. The plant was collected in New Zealand. Beautiful, wouldn't you agree?

Last but not least, Scotland's own Primula scotica! [Photo1] [Photo2] This little sweetheart is very modest, only with very specific environmental conditions will it then let you view it's beautiful bloom. The scotica is an endemic species. Sadly, I may never see one flower again.


Ah... I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Well, at the moment I am going to take a nap. I had a long night last night (considering that I lost my key and couldn't get back to my flat). I ended up going out on the town with a few of my pals. What else could I do?

Cheers!

Glencoe and Kinlochleven

I walked a few hills Saturday with Martyn and his boy, Stewart. I've marked these places on the map (there is a link to the map to the right). What a beautiful country! Pictures cannot capture the beauty of this place. I have had dreams that couldn't compare.








Ah, Weekend.

What a day! All this hard work has paid off. I've received many pats-on-the-back for my hard work. Everyone that I work with has been more than helpful. For instance, Thomas gave me a cell phone. Felicity invited me out for lunch at the park with her family (and perhaps some sheep shearing!). Martyn is going to drive me out to the highlands tomorrow for a day hike. And tonight it's off for pints and pool with Florian. It seems like I'm fitting in well here.

Even though things are going so well here, I'm beginning to feel ill. I pray I don't catch a cold. But, I am in a new place... and new places have new germs. It wouldn't be uncommon for me to have a little bug about now. It's a good thing I packed my vitamins and ibuprofen.

Alright, I'm the middle of cooking dinner, mashed taters and chicken jalfrezi! Sounds yummy huh? Well, I'm making my own taters (just how I like 'em), as for the chicken, it's a frozen dish. Ha.

Peace!

Portobello

Well, last night my friend Lynn quickly toured me around the coastal area of Edinburgh, known as Portobello. I was surprised to see sandy beaches and sea shells. I expected rocks, stones, cliffs and lots of garbage. However, it was so cold and windy. So much so, that my ears were in pain when I finally found shelter.



Weeds, Weeds and Weeds

The gardeners at the botanics have been preparing for an event that is to take place this Friday. To prepare for such an event, everyone must participate in the lovely task of pulling weeds. I've been weeding so much that when I close my eyes I see nothing but weeds.

One of these delicious weeds is called Cymbalaria muralis. This weed spreads via underground rhizome and consumes everything in its path. If you were to divide the little white rhizome into a small portion, that would sprout and spread. This weed is such a problem that the management of the gardens have decided to eradicate the weed from a few of their beds. To accomplish this, everything much be taken out: trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and anything else that is living. Then the soil will be fumigated. This process will take about two years per bed. WHOA!



Cymbalaria muralis. See the white rhizomes?


Just a taste of the destruction!

Cheers Mate

I am now using my roommate's computer to upload some photos.




the bedroom of my flat




the living room




Edinburgh Castle (just a few steps away)




near the royal mile

So far, I feel like I've been wandering around like a blubbering American idiot. Well, today things have definitely changed. I'm running around the streets without a map, making a few friends and I can even do a pretty good Scottish accent (so I'm told). Ha.

Work has been going very well. This past week I've been working with the aboriculturists. They are called "Arbor Team." They remind me of Arkansas auto mechanics... you know, "good ol' boys." The sad thing about working with them, is that I haven't gotten to do any real tree climbing. All we've done is do some tree surveying. But mostly we've been weeding the entire garden. My roommate Drew is a bit disappointed. I really couldn't give a rats ass... hell, I'm in Scotland!

It is sad that I cannot share my pictures with you just yet. The computer lab here isn't exactally digital camera friendly. But as soon as I find a machine that will allow me to upload photos, I'll post them for you all to see.

Anyway, as they say in the UK...

Cheers, mate!

Contributors