The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (with a titan arum!)

Going to Edinburgh meant a chance to visit the Royal Botanic Garden, which is something I have wanted to do ever since I almost went there as an undergraduate exchange student many years ago. We went on a beautiful Saturday. As we arrived we saw signs promoting New Reekie.

New Reekie is in bloom!

New Reekie is in bloom!

The titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) had started flowering just hours before we arrived. Considering the bloom time is ~48 hours, and it takes ~12 years to coax a titan arum into bloom, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was very excited.

The titan arum is also called corpse flower. When it blooms it develops the scent of rotting flesh, which helps to attract insects (the usual pollinators). We joined a queue to see the plant, excited to see this rare and fragrant flower.

When we walked into the warm, humid greenhouse the air smelled like something had died. However, because we entered so far from the titan arum the scent was subtle at first. By the time we reached the plant our noses were saturated by the  smell, making it seem rather mild. It was a very cool flower.

New Reekie in all its glory.

New Reekie in all its glory.

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After seeing the celebrity flower we roamed the glass houses. The fern house was a stunning display of both the sporophytic and gametophytic stages of the fern life cycle. I might have subjected my companions to some discussion of plant sex (we had Fifty Shades of Green going on in that glass house).

The fern glass house with big and little ferns.

The fern glass house with big and little ferns.

Fern gametophytes and sporophytes.

Fern gametophytes and sporophytes.

In the glass houses there were several areas dedicated to succulent plants. It was slightly amusing to see the large collection of California plants growing in a protected space (with heat and light added) this far from home.

This would thrive at our house.

This echeveria would thrive at our house.

Another of the glass houses had a section for water plants. One of the water lilies was a cultivar named Pamela.

The Pamela water lily.

The Pamela water lily.

After seeing the glass houses we wandered the gardens. I ran around taking pictures, while the rest of the group strolled and talked (and looked at plants, I hope). I did not manage to see the entirety of the gardens, so there is still more waiting for me.

A majestic maple that I ran ahead to photograph.

A majestic maple that I ran ahead to photograph.

I had never seen a Meconopsis in bloom before.

I had never seen a Meconopsis flowering before.

A red passion flower.

A red passion flower.

From the gardens the Edinburgh Castle is visible.

From some places in the gardens the Edinburgh Castle is visible across town.

I had a great time, and I took many pictures. Botanic gardens are a delight.

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