The breeze is blowing through the reeds, ducks quack, swans trumpet, a heron slowly rises from a bank, spreading its wings wide. The sun is shining on the water.
And yet I am just a short bus ride from Edinburgh city centre, on a perfect Sunday afternoon in March, in a place I have wanted to explore ever since I moved to the city three years ago. It's at the edge of Duddingston Loch (part of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Bawsinch and Duddingston nature reserve); to the right Arthur’s Seat rises up, its steep sides covered in yellow gorse, but the garden in which I am standing is no ancient monument - it's just 54 years old.
The Neils worked almost single-handedly on the garden until their deaths in 2005. They had a great interest in plants, and spent their holidays collecting new ones in Southern Europe – they even brought back young trees from California.
And if, after your visit, you’re loath to leave, guess what? You can stay! No, you can’t pitch your tent on the sloping shores, but if you live in
‘Whatever your reason, level of experience, age or ability, we will endeavour to make you feel welcome, to work to your strengths, to teach and encourage your progress with practicality and kindness.’
If you are interested you are invited to contact the Gardener via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry to the garden is free, though donations are very much appreciated. You can take Lothian Buses no. 42 from Hanover Street or Stockbridge, or you can walk to the garden
For more information visit http://www.drneilsgarden.co.uk/.