By Rachael Smith
Despite being a second year at St Andrews University, today was the first time I took a trip to the Botanical gardens. I was pleasantly surprised to find such a sanctuary so close to town and despite being next to relatively busy roads, the quietness was astounding, all you can hear is the chirping of birds and the sporadic coloured autumn leaves falling from the trees.
Despite it being autumn, the greenhouses and surrounding trees looked beautiful, I am sure it is a place one can visit all year round. If anything I think that different seasons give a different experience at the gardens.
There are about four greenhouses to visit, and they are larger than expected, each room having a different theme, with one room having impressive cacti of all interesting shapes and sizes, another with tropical plants with beautiful blooming flowers with colours to impress and exciting carnivorous plants, and another room with rock plants and lichens. Walking through the place was like a jungle trek, a botanist’s paradise.
What struck me was how tidy the greenhouses were, they seemed well looked after and well maintained, despite it not being peak visitor’s season. The plants were also arranged stylishly and there was an impressive variety of plants, as well as seating in the greenhouse’s which provides a perfect place to simply sit and enjoy one’s surroundings. The Botanic Gardens are also a place of education, with a glass making centre and a history of plants, perfect for school trips and tourists.
Surrounding the greenhouses is a woodland walking area with stunning scenery, including a river water feature and rock gardens and plenty of benches to sit and chill. There is also plenty for children, with sculptures of deer made of reeds and giant mushroom chairs, which give a fairytale woodland feel to the place.
In all, the St Andrews Botanic Gardens made for a pleasant trip, with interesting species of plants, great facilities and a pretty woodland walk, making it a good day out and a nice walk, for anyone from toddlers, to students, to pensioners, no matter what time of the year it is.