The Sitooterie Garden Journals

In early 2012, in the Sitooterie overlooking her Colony flat garden at Slateford, artist Mary Archibald started keeping a journal of the daily activity. Rising early each morning, she witnessed the garden come alive with birds, insects and animals.

Mary has continued her journal every day, observing the growing plants and wildlife that visit the space. The pages record Mary’s daily musings and sketches on life in her garden and through them we also get to know the regular visitors and their habits, favourite foods and places.

The first 5 journals on Capital Collections span February 2012 to October 2015 but Mary continues to date to document the natural world on her doorstep.

‘I wake to a splash of red in the garden and the poppies have started opening…
Lots of starlings again…
The babies are really funny, quite bemused looking as if they are wondering what it is all about… then remember it is about food and squawk at their parent…’

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 31st May - 2nd June 2012

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 31st May – 2nd June 2012

‘I hope the temperature goes up soon as the sunflowers are almost ready to be planted in the ground…
Great stooshie in the sky… Sparrowhawk, it floated around for ages being chased by a very brave blackbird…
Tiny tadpoles just beginning to wriggle in their spawn like little live commas…
Mouse breakfast: Focaccia
Close up the pigeons are very beautiful…’

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 26th - 29th April 2013

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 26th – 29th April 2013

‘There’s a frog croaking in the pond … a contented croak like a cat purring …
And Robbie is bathing in the birdbath.
The garden is full of sunflowers.’

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 30th September 2014

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 30th September 2014

‘5 frogs in the pond this morning and very happy they will be as it’s not too cold but very wet!
The temperature is up and down like a yo-yo these days.
The frogs are back under their duvet this morning…
Tulips from Lidl’s. More beautiful now almost gone.’

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 25th - 27th February 2015

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 25th – 27th February 2015

‘Bees buzz everywhere…
Lots of honey bees… They love the Tropeleum and the Foxgloves… disappearing completely inside each Foxglove flower… then backing out tail first…’

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 11th - 12th July 2015

Sitooterie Garden Journal entry for 11th – 12th July 2015

The diaries are a wonderful all-year round record of flora and fauna in an Edinburgh urban garden. Browse each Sitooterie Garden Journal on Capital Collections:

Sitooterie Garden Journal 1

Sitooterie Garden Journal 2

Sitooterie Garden Journal 3

Sitooterie Garden Journal 4

Sitooterie Garden Journal 5

With huge thanks to Mary Archibald for sharing her journals with us.

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