castle garden of water to beyond

Twelve months in a Japanese garden in Edinburgh


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June – Ken’s post

Post-solstice, it may be summer proper now, but there is an absence of sun. Another solo visit. It’s the last day of the school term, and there are gatherings of mothers and children in various parts of the grounds. By the pond I sit down on a wooden bench, warm to the touch, despite it being overcast. “Jasmine, do you want to bring stones?” In the Japanese gardens three small girls, aged 7 or 8, repeatedly disappear and return with handfuls of pebbles which they throw into the pool. One has taken off her cardigan to use as a carrier. Splash splash splash, and not a frog in sight. “Where are you getting all the stones from? You’d better not take them all.” “There’s plenty,” they reply insouciantly, and the splashes continue until something else attracts their attention.

I retreat to the shelter at the top and drink tea from a thermos, glad of the warmth. The cherry trees up there, which had blossom back in January, have the thinnest of canopies now it’s high summer. I walk the path outside the garden, formed by mown grasses, past flowering brambles and thick foliage. Everything is foreground, in close-up; the long views of the winter have been closed off. A breeze blows through anywhere that is open, catching the labels as I try to photograph them.