I hate to say it, but it’s become official.
Joe and I are garden brats.
You see, we have this thing for going to gardens. Botanical gardens, zoos, and aquariums are our three favorite places to visit no matter where in the world we happen to go, and, in this manner, we’ve managed to do things like visit more than 4 gardens (as well as 2 zoos and 2 aquariums) within the two-and-a-half weeks we spent backpacking in Hawai’i (and that’s not counting the many, many, many parks and beaches we stopped by as well). We pulled a similar sort of habit while romping around Thailand, too.
So, naturally, when we got our first good-weather-in-Scotland day off together two days ago, we headed off to check out the Royal Botanic Garden here in Edinburgh. We had a good time, and got a lovely walk out of it, and, well, I can never complain about having spent some time in a hot greenhouse surrounded by vivacious flora.
All that said, though, we came out in the end of the afternoon wishing we were back in Hawai’i, or Thailand, or India. I ended up spending the rest of the evening daydreaming of the rainbow of flowers back home in my own garden–of their flamboyant brilliance and their intoxicating fragrances in summertime. (Oh, what I wouldn’t give for the scent of flowers like that here, in this flat.) I could go on for pages about the dreams I have these days of time spent with my shoulders in the sun and my toes in the dirt; I could write volumes about what just a noseful of honeysuckle, or rose, or jasmine, can do to my brain. I got a taste of this–just a hint–once again at the botanical garden two days ago, but it served only as a tease, pointing out to me the vast abundance, the flirtatious exhibition, the understated luxury, the simple joys which I am to find myself without this season.
All is not lost, of course, as Edinburgh holds a certain beauty of her own brand: swung delicately by her side like an parasol of lace that has gone cream-toned with the years. Her gardens boast not of profusion but of charm, of mastery of refinement and decorum. There is a sense of sensible civility to Edinburgh, though abraded (to the relief of many) by the rugged crags rising upward with the sort of brooding magnificence which has seen through the ages. The hills stand at her sides like noble gentlemen–some more weathered than others, but all watching vigilantly over the city of pride. And the sea holds hands with Edinburgh, offering casual conversation over tea and shortbread, and the occasional whiskey.
So while my inner workings yearn for familiar summers or vibrant tropics, I can bide my time by eyeing the cherry blossoms that primly line the walks of the Meadows, and by considering whether or not its socially acceptable to pick daffodils from the side of the street.
And, if I ever get desperate, I can catch a bus across town to the glasshouses of the botanical garden, where I can snatch just one more tease, one more glimpse, one more breath of far, far away.