The delights of Dawyck

A couple of weeks ago the delightful assistants decided to get up early (for them) and out of the house sharpish in order to drive down to the Scottish Borders for a late summer/early autumn visit to Dawyck Botanic Garden.

They arrived in the village of Broughton, a few miles from Dawyck, in time for lunch at the Laurel Bank Tearoom. The tearoom had undergone several transformations in the past few years, and this summer was taken over by new management.

Keen to experience the changes, the travelling twosome settled themselves at a circular table and began studying the menu.

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A number of changes had been made to the decor since their last visit, including framed pictures by a local artist and boldly decorated doors into the toilets.

They were very pleased with the food choices, and once they’d put in their order they perused some of the complimentary reading material provided. (They are exceptionally good at sitting quietly.)

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Both assistants chose the same thing: mushroom omelette with chips and salad, but delightful assistant no.1 asked for a small portion. The ordinary-sized portion can be seen below.

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Their chauffeur opted for one of the soups of the day: butternut squash, served with deliciously soft home-made bread.

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Having greatly enjoyed their savouries they considered ordering sweets, but decided to toddle off to Dawyck first and see how they felt after a little gentle exercise.

The sky was rather grey and overcast, but they were delighted to be back in one of their favourite haunts, taking a keen interest in new and old features of the garden.

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Dawyck is particularly known for its interesting and varied tree species, including the Arolla Pine, which attracted the attention of the assistants.

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In recent weeks, while out and about, the assistants had noticed a great quantity of berries on Scotland’s rowan trees, and there were plenty to be seen in Dawyck. They admired those on show.

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Dawyck is a place the assistants usually visit at least once a year, but it had been many years since they’d walked right up to the viewpoint. They took on the task this time, slowly making the long ascent.

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Due to the weather conditions there wasn’t, in fact, much of a view from the high point, but they enjoyed the exercise and were nicely working up an appetite for a snack in the garden’s cafe.

On their way back down, heading for comestibles, they came upon several curious wooden frames with things dangling from them.

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Things dangling

They were quite mystified about what these could be, until they spotted a notice explaining the business.

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The experiment was being carried out at two of Scotland’s botanic gardens, here at Dawyck, and at Benmore, near the west coast in Argyll. While Dawyck’s climate tends to be dry with cold, crisp winters, the weather at Benmore is more mild and damp. The experiment had been set up to investigate the sensitivity of lichens to climate change.

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Dangling lichen, hanging around in the dry cold climate of Dawyck.

As well as lichens, fungi were thriving at Dawyck.

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Having successfully worked up an appetite for a little something, the assistants trooped off to the cafe for refreshments. Unfortunately, the chauffeur’s camera battery died before photographic evidence could be obtained, but they enjoyed tea and traybakes before heading home after a lovely day out.

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Cheery assistants delighted with Dawyck.
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13 thoughts on “The delights of Dawyck

    1. Thank you, Darlene. ‘Traybake’ is a term used to describe a cake-type morsel that’s been constructed in a baking tray, although quite often the items are not, in fact, baked. Many of them use melted ingredients brought together in a pan, such as tiffin, Mars Bar krispie cake and lemon and coconut slice, which are pressed into a baking tray and chilled until solid before being cut up. Others, such as millionaire shortbread, are partly baked in the oven and then have other things put on top afterwards, and then there are those, such as bakewell slice and paradise slice that are more cake-like and are completely cooked in the oven, sometimes with icing added afterwards. I think of them as being either square or rectangular (those being the shapes most easily created using a rectangular or square baking tray) but I suppose they could be any shape you fancy. The main idea is they’ve been constructed in one big tray before being cut up into smaller bits.

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    1. My sister says it’s a sign that we’ve got a cold winter ahead, and the trees are producing extra berries to sustain the wildlife that eats them. I don’t know if there’s any truth in that but I hope she’s wrong about the harsh winter. I agree with you on the required elements for a perfect day out.

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  1. What a stunning place. I have never been there, but is now on my wish list. I love the green high point walk. Although I like bold labelling on loo doors, I was a little uncertain about the gender characterisation in the café. There was a humble ‘little grey rabbit’ look to the doe compared with the macho stag.

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  2. What a nice day out! I have yet to visit Dawyck but it always looks lovely in photos. I’m interested in that lichen experiment – I wonder how long it will take, though? We’ve been noticing lots of rowan berries too, and the trees are just starting to turn around here. Hope we get some crisp autumn days to enjoy them!

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  3. What an absolutely delightful post. I think the chauffeur was due a well earned rest (and something delicious to eat), and it was therefore, a good thing when the camera battery died. Loved all the photos, thank you.

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