Rampant Scotland

Scotland in Colour Week By Week

July - Week 3

"Scotland Week by Week" contains a selection of flowers, animals, birds and scenery typical of the time of year. The photographs were previously part of a regular "Colour Supplement" which ran for nearly four years as part of the original Scottish Snippets newsletter. While seasons do vary from year to year, this collection gives a good idea of the flora and fauna typical of central Scotland at each week of year.

Dahlia, Cambo Estate

Dahlias are bursting into bloom in gardens all over Scotland as the warmer weather encourages them to produce their showy blooms. This example was photographed at Cambo Estate in Fife, a few miles from Kellie Castle.


This unusual striped rose was also growing in the gardens at Cambo Estate.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

It would be nice to think that this picture of a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly was taken as it flew past! But of course it is feeding on a flower which is completely obscured by its body and colourful wings.

This pretty wild flower goes by the name of "Bird's-foot Trefoil". It's a member of the clover and pea family. It was spotted at Dobbies Garden Centre on the edge of Stirling. You might ask why a wild flower was growing in a garden centre. But in addition to the plant sales area, the company has created a large section beside the river Forth, which has been given over to wild plants, animals and insects. They have deliberately planted flowers such as Bird's-foot Trefoil which are attractive to butterflies. A Heron regularly flies in to feed in a man-made stream (which this year has produced a large number of frogs - a tasty snack for a Heron).

The Dobbies Garden Centre's efforts to grow plants that are attractive to butterflies certainly succeeded as far as this Small Tortoiseshell is concerned. Although very colourful on the upper wings, this butterfly has a dark camouflaged underside, which it tends to display while feeding.

A green cow? Well, yes. This topiary version was "chewing the cud" in the sunshine at Dobbies Garden Centre. You can see Ben More in the distance, to the left of the tree.

A view of the tranquil river Forth on that sunny afternoon near Stirling, with the mountains of the southern Highlands in the distance. HV Morton in his book “In Search of Scotland” described Stirling as “the brooch which clasps the Highlands and the Lowlands together”.

Bingham's Pond is just over a low wall from Great Western Road, one of the busiest arteries in Glasgow. For a long time it was a neglected area, but a pond naturalisation project was carried out in 2003 by the city's parks department. It has been transformed into a wildlife haven, with water birds happily breeding there for the first time and with damselflies and aquatic plants thriving. This Tufted Duck chick may have been part of a "second brood" - with the earlier family now independent. Young Tufted Duck look after themselves very soon after hatching and can even dive for their own food. Certainly, although they look like little balls of fluff, the two families of Tufted Duck on the pond this year were only watched from a distance by their mums. As with many of the duck families, Dad Tufted Duck departs after the eggs are laid!

Glasgow's famous Sauchiehall Street was pedestrianised many years ago, allowing the shoppers to wander between the various stores without being concerned about traffic. A few years ago, the surface was re-laid and "street furniture" added to make it even more attractive.

Greater spotted woodpeckers are not particularly rare birds in Scotland - though being shy and with only an estimated 25,000-30,000 breeding pairs in the whole of the UK, they are not often seen near houses. So I was delighted when this one turned up in my garden and spent some time tucking into the peanut feeder. This woodpecker is about the size of a blackbird and became extinct in Scotland but returned from the south at the end of the 19th century. I'm glad to say that this was not a one-off visit and it has returned for a meal again since this picture was taken.

There are many golden yellow flowers that bloom in July and August but Inula has to be the one that typifies warm, summer days, with its large sun-like blooms. The taller varieties, like this one at Scone Palace, grow to over three feet and produce a mass of flowers.

Further down the river from the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre is the massive new Glasgow Harbour development. Full of expensive apartments - with views across the river to the noisy Govan shipyards on the southern bank - Glasgow Harbour and its associated retail and entertainment outlets is transforming that stretch of the riverside. The cranes and structural steel, visible in this view nearer the camera, are from the early construction work on the new Glasgow Transport Museum.

Scone Palace has had peacocks strutting in its grounds for over 200 years. The estate is also home to a group of pure white peacocks. Any feathers that drop out are much in demand by florists and design artists.

There have been so few butterflies this year that it was a relief to see quite a number of Ringlets (seen here) and Meadow Browns enjoying the meadows and embankments at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserve at Vane Farm near Loch Leven. The circles on the upper wings of this butterfly gave rise to its name. This particular butterfly was enjoying the yellow flowers of a wild Ragwort plant.

Hydrangeas come in all sorts of colours - white, blue, red, pink, or purple - sometimes with delicate lacecap flowers, sometimes (as here) with large mop heads. Flower colour can vary depending on whether the soil is acid or alkali.

Finlaystone House and its many flowers, on the border between Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, has appeared many times in these pages. This is partly because the displays of colourful trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are constantly changing as the seasons progress. This view shows the blue of Campanula and the fiery red of Spirea in the foreground.

RSPB at Vane Farm has turned over a large meadow to the growing of wild flowers, to provide food for bees and butterflies as well as cover for wild birds. It is being described as the "world's first bumblebee sanctuary" as it is being sponsored by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) and RSPB Scotland. There is a substantial number of tall thistles included in the mix - as this picture shows.

Lavatera (the Tree mallow) is a large showy plant with large flowers that come in a variety of colours, produced over a long period from mid-summer to the first frosts. Lavatera flowers are similar to Hibiscus (the Rose mallow) but Lavatera is much more suitable for the Scottish climate.

The flower beds below Drummond Castle in Perthshire are now filling with colourful blooms, each one dedicated to a particular variety of rose or antirrhinum. The white roses here make quite an impact.

If you want to look back at other editions of these photos of Scotland week by week, there is an Index Page

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line