Finding Focus in the Botanic Gardens

You know the feeling when you sit down to work  with task list in front of you and for some reason or other you just can’t find your groove? It happens to us all once in a while, doesn’t it?

I have to admit when it happens to me, there is little point in even trying. I firmly believe it’s our bodies craving fresh air, natural foliage (looking at green definitely works), basically anything other than looking at a computer screen. Luckily I am self employed and can take action when that stale feeling creeps in.

You only need to look at a pristine, vibrant green leaf to feel energised and engaged with the world. And for that reason, one of the first places I seek out whether at home or while travelling, is the local botanical garden.

We are exceptionally lucky here in Edinburgh as I’ve mentioned before in Strength and Form to have The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh. But there are others for you to seek out and visit, hundreds of them in fact, sometimes in the most obscure places. But beware, many of our fabulous gardens are struggling for funding which is terrifying considering they offer so much to such a broad range of recreational and educational purposes.
I was in St.Andrews last week (an easy one hours drive or train journey from Edinburgh), and was fortunate to be taken to St.Andrews Botanic Gardens – an absolute haven of native and exotic plants. I wasn’t really looking at the plants from a botanical angle but simply looking at their colour and form. Endless fun and a focused mind. Result.
Do you have a local botanic garden that you can tell us about?

How do you find your focus on fuzzy days?

15 thoughts on “Finding Focus in the Botanic Gardens

  1. I usually tidy up my studio space because I find that I can’t work in a lot of clutter. If I need a bit of fresh air I can walk to a local nature reserve/water park or there are two National trust properties close by, my favourite is Tatton Park which is in Knutsford. I hope this post works Niki as I am still having trouble leaving comments on WordPress blogs.


    • Snap! I also need to tidy my work space if I can’t focus. I get a build up and then can’t concentrate. Its very therapeutic isn’t it! You are lucky being close to Tatton Park. I’ve never been but I’ve heard a lot about it and I’ve noticed they have some very interesting exhibitions there.
      Re the comment thing, its really annoying but there seems to be some kind of blogger v wordpress war going on. I cant leave comments on blogger and I see there are hundreds of web forums saying the same thing. I contacted wordpress and they said, ‘ask your friends to convert to wordpress’!!!! Not very helpful. Thanks so much for persevering. 🙂


  2. I unfortunately only seem to go to ‘the Botanics’ to meet people or show others how gorgeous Edinburgh is. When my daughter was younger we were frequent visitors to this beautiful, free space and we loved to go to the exhibitions, and to touch the bark and chase through piles of leaves. My favourite view is from the top overlooking the Castle, but also the more jagged, rooftops view into town from the rock garden. Your botanical photos remind me that it is more than a meeting place or a place from which to view the rest of Edinburgh. Must go soon!


    • Lovely! ‘to touch the bark and chase through piles of leaves’, aah, you cant beat it can you. Its fantastic in our age of super high technology that its the simple pleasures of touching, looking, immersing oneself in nature that really makes you feel good. 🙂


  3. The closest thing we have to a botanical garden in Ottawa is the Tulip Festival, which takes place every year for three weeks in May. The origins of the festival are interesting: In 1943, Princess Margriet Francisca, the younger sister of the current Queen of the Netherlands, was born at Ottawa Civic Hospital – the only royal ever to be born in North America. The Dutch Royal Family had fled to Canada in 1940 after the WWII invasion of their country. Among their problems – the expected royal child needed to be delivered on Dutch territory to be a Dutch citizen. So, Canada ceded this one hospital maternity room temporarily to the Netherlands. In appreciation, in the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs. And now each year Ottawa receives 20,000 tulip bulbs from the Royal Family and the Dutch Bulb Growers, a thank you for sheltering the Royal Family and for Canada’s help with liberation of the Netherlands during WWII.


    • Ooooh, Kelly, that is a fantastic piece of history, thank you so much for telling me about it. How amazing to declare a little piece of hospital Dutch for the birth and how lovely to remember each year with all those bulbs. That really is a brilliant story. And May is just around the corner, so enjoy the display! Ottawa must look amazing, I must remember this story and try to visit during May one year. Thanks for the wonderful comment.


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