Edinburgh rock

Photograph of Edinburgh Roayl Botanic Gardens gate post

A recent weekend in Edinburgh proved to be full of fantastic stonemasonry. Street after impressive street of great houses and municipal buildings. Lots of independent shops, many with remnants of their original facades still visible. And hills – London doesn’t have enough of those. There was a really good exhibition on Basil Spence with a great Festival of Britain model, it was packed with visitors on a very cold Sunday afternoon.

And a really nice botanic garden.

I do like parks. Nature tamed for the urbanite. Botanic gardens are the best – they have plants nicely labelled, like open air museums. This one has a lovely palm house, Japanese gardens, plenty of sculpture and a very smart art gallery. One entrance to the gardens is currently being re-built on a grand scale, to maximise visitor spend with new facilities. But I think I’d stick with this East Gate entrance and its fabulous metal nameplate.

A quickly answered enquiry to the garden website elicited the information that there was no definitive designer attributed to this classic logo. The flower was originally drawn by Gillian Meadows, a Herbarium Assistant ‘with a special talent for illustration.’ She drew it for the garden’s tercentenary in 1970.The drawing was for the cover of the garden’s journal. It made it onto the entrance plates that year too and has remained the logo, with tweaks, ever since. It pictures the Sibbaldia wildflower, named after one of the founders of the gardens Robert Sibbald.

The typography sits really well with the illustration and the whole logo still holds its own on the website header, 38 years later. All in all, it reminds me of one of those beautiful, classic Penguin covers.

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