View details for: Reference No. A/AAO/51/2/1
Reference No:A/AAO/51/2/1
Extent:1 Tape
Description: Recorded: 1.5.2005 Venue / Location Interior: Boardroom Balbirnie Golf Club External Balbirnie Park> Attendees: Members of Markinch Heritage Group, Simon Crutchley (Royal Botanical Gardens) Edinburgh, Bill Robertson (former Gardener Balbirnie ), Rae McKnight (Secretary) Elizabeth Cord, Mima Magna, Dr Colin Aitken, Bruce & Christine Manson, Dr Jean Balfour, Caroline Gordon, Neil Sutherland, Sandy Stewart, Valda Hood-Chin, Maj Alistair Hood, SIDE A KEY WORDS / TOPICS> Actuality - group chattering comments about Balbirnie Park not as well looked after since the secondment of Bill ? who had worked at the park for over 16 years> Introductions / actuality of slide presentation / Bruce Manson commentary describing his photograph taken of the Rhododendron collection on the Balbirnie estate - The collection is diverse and has become one of the most significant and valuable collections in the country. important and valuable collections / the Balbirnie family owned Balbirnie before the Balfours / Balbirnie family 15th Century / Balfour family bought the estate / 'Old House'1640 /41 Sir Joseph Hooker / Book on Rhododendrons / reference to a man named, 'Bell' and a connection to India / discussion as to who 'Bell' was / his connection to Rhododendrons / pathways through park / question, how tall do Rhododendrons grow ? - .40/50 feet in the wild / require huge amounts of water / slow growth results in remarkable trunks / 'good wood' development / collecting specimens in the past / many plants stolen over the years / records of new bushes planted / 'scaley' species / question and answer re.variety of colours / description of brown rust colour on the underside of Rhododendron leaves....'hairs' of the leaf / lifespan ? / can live up to and over 100 years old / general background information / conversational actuality / typical sign - trees and plants under 'stress' fruit or flower in abundance in order to ensure survival of the species> Monkey Puzzel Tree from South America / bisexual / very sharp cones / Jean Balfour couldn't recollect anybody who designed the garden / Dragon Mountain / South West China / Fife twinned with ? ChinaOUTSIDE RECORDINGS> Actuality gathering next to entrance of golf course / start of walk / viewing the 'dying' Rhododendron / diseased ? / Powdery Mildew / impossible to spray all bushes / hard to control / differing views about propagation / difficult to grow from cuttings? / lichen - good sign , clean air / trees die of old age lichin live on even after host dies / questions about growing-on plants / how to make cuttings / cutting under the plant node 'where all the energy and hormones are' / leave with 'power leaf ' on top / Rhododendrons have very shallow roots easy to move about / adaptable to moving > Jean Balfour commenting on the need for pruning / various remarks from members about the possibility of Bill returning as Gardener to Balbirnie Park / the park has suffered since his secondment / 'not as well looked after since Bill left' / a known character among local Markinchers> Actuality - walking along an all-weather-stone chipping path / older members reminiscence on their childhood, climbing over walls to play in the grounds of Balbirnie / at the time, owned by Jean Balfours family / played at 'tracking' / 'exciting' games played in an area called 'the maze' - dark tunnels created by mature Rhododendrons / crawl up trees / kept away from gates and keepers > Explainations of the planting of some of the trees > Actuality - rushing water passing under the bridge / bird song / crunching walkway COMMENTS:SIDE BKEY WORDS / TOPICSActuality - members walking along stone chip path sound of members chatting as they walked / comments by Simon Crutchley from Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh joined by Jean Balfour and Bill Robertson / Dr Colin Aitken / anecdote / laughter / Jean Balfour commenting on the all-weather path / pink colour, pity not local stone / on the whole a good thing / park now publicly accessible throughout the year / looking down on to clearing surrounded by flowering Rhododendrons / Rhoderdendron Rex / big leathery leaves / 1950 excitement when they first flowered / big white flowered Rhododendron / biannual flowering / hybrids eg 'Polar Bear' / brown spots when rained on / Simon in conversation talking about training programme for volunteers who work at Edinburgh Botanics / Bills announcement of having the only record of the names of all the species of Rhododendron in Balbirnie Park, written down on odd pieces of paper / agreed to compile them for Markinch Heritage Group and Fife Council Archives / Bill telling the story behind setting up a Celtic memorial on top of the hill / Malcome Rivers town artist produced the memorial / pros and cons of 'memorial parks > Bill explains about the Magnolia, Golden Holly and a speciality wee holly named Ilex Scotica / only one needle on it / continuing his explainations and advice for planting cuttings / the need for taking on apprentices ? / Monkey Puzzle trees in straight line / a path to and from the grave yard Markinch / nursery plants to protect other trees and bushes / Redwoods from Northern California / 'bunny rabbits' / scented Rhoderdendrons / Ghenko tree / pruning back / general discussion / Jean Balfour comments about planting trees in the park / trees and management / mention of Lord Elgin / looking down on the area where the family 'took tea' 1910 / Uncle George, connection with 'Hooker' brought back seeds from abroad / accounts of planting in the Register Office / expectations / Three Ballingall Factors / 1790s- 1916 father, son and a nephew / running out of steam / Pat Ballingall in his 90s a relative / documents / Dr Ballinghall Colin Innes (Ballingall) live in the Gardeners House Balbirnie / book in Fife Archive / High school / schoolgirl had jobs working in Balbirnie Garden (walled) during the fortnight summer holidays / story/ anecdote about the 'raseberries' / Miss Alice the owner / garden / customers take orders and deliver / walking with baskets / Mr Chalmers head gardner and Mr Clarke the under- gardener / actuality .... / contracter to look after park were responsible for chopping down some of the mature trees / discussion Rhododendron leaves / classifying spieces / actuality .... / oceanic climate / high treeline / Virginia -Water 'National' Rhododendron Collection / Balbirnie 'unique' collection - 'one of the best in Britain' 'too much of a secret' COMMENTS: Continued Tape 2
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