At the Botanic Garden
Sometimes when we walk to school along the viaduct, we hear the Botanic Garden tractors on the other side of the high hedge. In a couple of places, vandals have torched the high hedges and we catch glimpses of the garden greenhouses between the charred stumps and the new bushes that will grow up fill out the hedge again. When we return from school along the Lade Braes, we walk above the other side of the garden and can look over the burn and see the pond, the field, and some of the peat garden.
Sounds completely placid until you visit with F and the plants come to life. She and I went Saturday. Chilly rain started to fall, so we spent most of our visit in the greenhouses where both the cutest and the strangest plants dwell.
These Snow Whites won her heart even before she knew they were named like a princess. She told me what she would do if they were hers, how they would sit on the table in a little pot and watch her eat, how they could come outside and ride in her pocket on her scooter, and then at night cuddle under her chin and grow--unless they tickled her and then they'd have to sleep by themselves on the table.
She was warier of other plants--that wormy one for instance. "Where does that one grow?" She asked. "New Zealand," I said. "Dad, I mean what does it grow out of?" sure that this thing couldn't come from regular safe old dirt. And she wouldn't take more than two steps into the cactus house. The first ones we came two were far taller than dad, and beyond that, they menaced up on either side of the path, spiky, fuzzy, spiny, furry, and stabby, all of them ready to wrap her up and not let go.
After the jungle room and the other temperate indoor zones, we played outside. We played because in Scotland, in February, all the bare plants look the same. We stomped with some whimsical wellies, explored secret paths through garden, and played toad in the grove over the rock garden. On the way home, coffee and cocoa hit the spot.