I had a post prepared for today about a new plant in the garden. But I have put that on hold when I came across the obituary of an amazing botanist and plantswoman Elaine Bullard who had died aged 96 years. She lived much of her life in Orkney studying the native flora.
She published a book with Alan Bremner (Orkney farmer and breeder of hardy geraniums) of trees and shrubs that had been grown over the years in Orkney. It was not a list of recommendations but of plants that had been tried at some point with varying degrees of success. Plants that thrive in Orkney tend to be a select bunch and these have been carefully recorded, although naming has sometimes proved problematic. Elaine always said that advice "from sooth" should always be tempered with caution. It was one of the most useful books for a gardener starting out in Orkney (ie me) and gave an idea what might grow and what would not.
In the late 90s Elaine enjoyed a trip to New Zealand to look at the flora there. There are many New Zealand plants that are suited to the Orkney climate. The story I was told was that she came back from her travels with her muddy boots in a bag. Such was the wealth of seed material on the boots that she planted them. And being Elaine they probably grew!
For many years Elaine was a leading light in the Orkney Field Club and also wrote articles for "The Orcadian"newspaper. These were known as "Planticru Notes". As you will have noticed this is also the name of my blog.
This post is dedicated to Elaine Bullard and her work on Orkney flora and in particular Primula Scotica.