My favourite place is the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow. My mind and eyes are refreshed after a visit to the flowers and plants there. No clover there, however. I would associate that more with my early childhood summers on my uncle's farmland in Dorset. So, in imagining spring clover I allowed these memories to colour my vision and tried to grasp the 'sublime' that Keats and the Romantics offered. In this new duet we are indeed 'in clover' as the old phrase suggests; idyllic, b
The bright red poppy worn around the time of Remembrance Day is one of our most recognisable and poignant symbols in modern Britain. The colour and fragility of the poppy petals symbolise the bloodshed and destruction of youth but also hope for rebirth, new life and beauty after the horrors of war. The imagery of the Remembrance Poppy is so strong that it has eclipsed some of the other ways in which wild plants were important in the global conflicts of one hundred years ago.
All over Scotland our native plants are having a riotous time this summer. The long spring and summer mean that blooms have been especially fantastic this year creating a perfect welcome for High Heels and Horse Hair’s project, TRANSPLANTED. It doesn’t matter where you go in Scotland, there are always some wild plants to marvel at. On the coast, Scotland’s grasslands are blooming. Our coastal grasslands go through dramatic seasonal colour changes: having succeeded the spring
Scotland has many different orchids from the tiny green Bog Orchid to the Impressive Broad-leaved Helleborine. Particularly along the west coast it is possible to find one with strongly patterned purple flowers and big dark blotches on its leaves. The dark purple pigment is also found in the upper parts of the stem. For a considerable time this was thought to be the same as a Scandinavian plant called Lapland Marsh-orchid, but detailed studies have suggested that these plan
I too have encountered lichens on the hills of Glen Affric. The photograph above shows Ophioparma ventosa, a lichen that I found there about 20 years ago. A synonym of this species is Haematomma ventosum, where the generic part of the name alludes to the blood-red pigment that can be seen in spots on the surface of the crustose lichen. My involvement with the lichen concerned the chemical structure of this pigment, which had been isolated and given the name haemoventosin. A c
Born and brought up in the Shetland Islands, Chris Stout has, over the last few years, become nationally and internationally recognised as one of the most exciting and dynamic fiddle players and composers of his generation. Whether as a solo artist, a member of Fiddlers Bid, leading his own quintet or as one half of his duo with long time musical associate Catriona McKay, Chris continues to innovate within traditional and contemporary musical circles, delivering performances
It took me quite a while to find the right plant to take as the starting point for my contribution to the Transplanted project. I needed to find something with which I could make an emotional as well as a purely intellectual or aesthetical connection. I had been thinking about Dandelions in general for a few reasons –childhood memories of course, the incredible transformation that occurs during their life cycle and also the fact that they have often been considered rather pla
I am currently down in the Lake District and Nara (my 18 month little girl) and I have just spent a very enjoyable afternoon exploring the garden here. As she presented me with a daisy it struck me how overlooked these beautiful little flowers are. Thought I'd do a bit of research and find out more about the humble daisy.... The daisy is a perennial plant and flowers for much of the year; this is reflected in its Latin name Bellis perennis, meaning 'pretty' and 'everlasting'
For this new composition for violin and cello, inspired by James Oswald’s Airs of the Seasons, my chosen flower is Heartsease (Viola tricolor). As I read about this plant, I was fascinated in its cultural history and rich assortment of common names. I noticed that in their variations, these suggest a range of intonations and rhythms. Entwining together the flower’s names, my score will be an invitation to play these, abstracting words into sounds, transplanting language into
We first met David Ward when we performed one of his duos for Huntly based chamber music club Music Centeral. The concert repertorie was inspired by the the education work of local composer and teacher Ronald Center from which the club draws it's name. We look forward to returning to the Tin Hut in November to perform his miniature based on the Summer plant, Bog Cotton. David talks about his inspirations for the miniature below. Lukkaminnie's Oo or 'Grannie's Wool' is the She
Scottish Baroque composer James Oswald may not be a household name today, but in his lifetime he achieved great fame and fortune and rose from humble beginnings in Fife to earn the title of court chamber composer to King George III, no mean feat. He was born in Crail in 1710 and music seems to have been at the centre of family life; two of his brothers also became musicians. By his early twenties he was working as a dance teacher in Dunfermline and was writing and arranging m