FEBRUARY MUSINGS

Seasonal stories and notable happenings from the team behind Ochre Botanical Studios.

Thank you for joining us here!

Welcome to our first ever newsletter. We are both nervous and excited to broach this brand new territory!

We’re hoping to use this space to share Ochre news and stories with you all in a somewhat more substantial form. We know how easy things are to miss – what with the dreaded algorithms and such – so we are grateful to share our updates with you in a slower and hopefully more gentle way, such that you might find them easier to fit in around busy lives.

With snowdrops being one of the first flowers to emerge in the seasonal calendar, it feels fitting that, for this first ever edition of ‘Musings’, we are sharing our recent snowdrop-themed playdate at Preston Hall Walled Garden with you all.

We can’t pretend to be experts when it comes to this amazingly varied genus of bulbous perennials, but we certainly participate in the galanthomania and readily share this glee with you all.

Snowdrops in the garden
Collected bowls and vessels

One of the first ever activities we did, as our newly formed Ochre collective, was to get together in the walled garden (where we now grow) and make some lovely flowery things together. We collected some choice vessels and props and took some photographs in the dying light of the day. These images became our first Instagram posts; our first postcards…

We realised quite early on that, although we’re often together working, it is important to cultivate our collective creative spirit through dedicated, undirected play. Now, at the start of each year we schedule flowery ‘playdates’ within our booking diary, and on these days we gather, often fairly quietly and reflectively, purely to enjoy each other’s company and every wonky stem the season affords us. In a busy year, these occasions provide some much needed calm and solace. We really look forward to them!

Making bowls
Hands making

Preston Hall Estate is one of those charming places that gets carpeted in thousands of beautiful white snowdrops early in the year. Some of you may have been lucky enough to see them yourselves when they opened as part of Scotland’s Garden Scheme a couple of weekends ago.

We’ve been fortunate enough to get to know the lovely folk at Preston Hall over the past couple of years, so when it came time to organise this outing, a day among the snowdrops here instantly sprang to mind. They kindly lent us the small octagonal ‘gazebo,’ which is found at the top of the stairs, overlooking the pristinely maintained walled garden.

Historically used by the lady of the house as a place to drink tea and watch the goings on in the garden below, it was the ideal spot for us to crack open our own flasks and lunchboxes whilst oohing and ahhing over the stems we had gathered from the winter garden for our little bowls while they conditioned.

Flower bowls on stairs

After each of us had made a wee bowl (or 4), we went in search of the perfect rustic wall or chink of winter light in which to photograph them. In true February style, the sun kept dipping behind the clouds and we had windy gusts and intermittent showers to contend with as we dashed between gazebos with our precious bowls and cameras.

Julie signalled out the staircase as an excellent place to get a group photo, and you can see the results of our snowdrop-inspired day above here. As you can imagine, there were many, many more photographs taken during the afternoon, so if you would like to see some more of these, click the link below and you’ll be whisked off to a larger gallery of images.

Group picture of Ochre

As we head into March (and soon spring proper!), the snowdrops are now starting to fade. However, if you find yourself with a craving for the outdoors and fancy seeking out some of these beautiful flowers for yourselves, we’ve popped some (hopefully) useful pointers for you below.

Thank you to everyone who subscribed to and read this newsletter. We look forward to sharing further updates about other flowery pursuits, upcoming workshops, happenings etc. with you very soon.

Other places you may still be able to see snowdrops near Edinburgh

Cammo Estate

CAMMO ESTATE, EDINBURGH

A quiet, wooded nature park in the grounds of a former grand estate in north west Edinburgh.

The former drive, areas of the walled garden and woodland walks are all known to be accented by drifts of white. Take the dogs and kids along and explore the crumbling ruins.

ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, EDINBURGH

Edinburgh, Logan and Dawyk Botanic Gardens are all participating in the Scottish Snowdrop Festival until 11 March.

While you’re there you can visit Silent Archive at Inverleith House where our brilliant Cynthia Fan has some work exhibited.

Red Squirrel Sign

CLUNY HOUSE GARDENS, ABERFELDY

A great day out in Perthshire. Cluny House Gardens are soothing, peaceful and full of seasonal treasures.

There is a £5 entry fee (take cash), but if you’re lucky you might also see a red squirrel or two!

CAMBO GARDEN, ST ANDREWS

If you’ve been following us for any amount of time, you will likely have already heard us waxing lyrical about this magical garden.

Highlights include; wandering down through the woodland gardens to the pebbled beach, grabbing a snowdrop biscuit from the cafe and visiting the Tamworth piggies.

You can even buy special Cambo snowdrops to take home for your own garden from their shop.

Speak again soon...

Ochre x

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