Floral Clock

West Princes Street Gardens





George Smith

British Columbia, Canada

Thank you to George Smith who wrote:

Floral Clock

   Postcard by Valentine -  Floral Clock in Princes Street Gardens  -  possibly 1910

"I remember well being  taken as a child to see the Floral Clock as if it were some rite of  passage.

I did not know it changed over the years and tended to pass  it by on a 'seen it before, got the T shirt' basis."

George Smith, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada: October 24, 2006




David Webster

Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Thank you to to Davie Webster who wrote:

Lin Brydie

"One of the gardeners who, for many years, had responsibility for planting out the clock on an individual plant by plant basis was a gentleman called Lindsay Brydie (known as Lin).

Lin came from the village of Strathkinness, just outside St Andrews in Fife.  For many years, with one of his brothers he ran a market gardeners in Strathkinness and St Andrews.

He was privileged to supply the Schools of St Leonard's and West Park - and also Miss Harleys, the confectioners in South Street, St Andrews.  This was a real feather in ones cap in those days."

Move to Edinburgh

"Lin also had another interest in his life - a long long courtship of some 40+ years  with an Edinburgh lady, my late aunt who died this year at the grand old age 98

He eventually moved to Edinburgh, married my aunt, and joined the Edinburgh Corporation Parks Department as it was known then.

Lin was for many years one of the principal gardeners responsible for the painstaking job of working on the clock.  I can recall him lying on long extended ladders supported at either end on seed boxes.  He lay face-down for long periods of time, planting out the variety and very large number of flowers, and sometimes vegetables, for colour - e.g. beetroot."

Here is a photo of one of the workers on the ladder, taken in October 2003, as the winter floral clock was being planted.

Winter Floral Clock being created in Princes Street Gardens at the foot of The Mound.

Planting the Clock

"Setting out the clock on the bare ground always seemed to be a worry so that, when planted, the geometry of the layout, circles and squares, were eye sweet and they were where they should be on the clock face etc.

I can also recall his stories about having to work closely with the clockmaker's personnel (Ritchie's of Edinburgh) because, as you know, the hands of the clock had many, many flowers embedded on them.

I don't know if everyone would appreciate that the clock went through a daily manicure (at the time I am talking about). Everything was trimmed, cut with small scissors, and then watered each morning before the Princess Street Garden gates were opened to the public."

Annual Design

"The floral clock was always one of Edinburgh's most photographed sites.  Many Calendars never went out without having a picture of the floral clock. 

The  annual design theme for the clock was always an item of high interest."

David Webster, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland




Danny Callaghan

Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland

Thank you to to Danny Callaghan who wrote:


"I remember going to see the floral clock on many an occasion. 

No one has mentioned the cuckoo which had its house next to the Allan Ramsay statue.     It came out on the hour and cuckooed for each hour.  

Large crowds would gather to see this.   The simple delights before iPods and Playstations, etc."

Danny Callaghan, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland:  November 26, 2009


The cuckoo is still beside the floral clock.  I believe that it comes out every quarter-hour.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 29, 2009



Floral Clock

Background Notes

Floral Clock


Floral Clock


Floral Clock

Each Year



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