The (semi) secret garden


Thanks to some crossed wires, D and I thought we would be viewing a flat off the Royal Mile today (turns out ‘next Monday’ was the Monday after next). It happened that the flat overlooks Dunbar’s Close Garden, a beautiful, peaceful courtyard modeled along a traditional 17th century Burghal design – somewhat Italianate, with herbs and hedges arranged in symmetry, surrounded on all sides by old town houses and walls. While we were walking, we noticed a few visitors, obviously locals, popping in to have their lunch, escaping the bustle of the Canongate outside.  They sneaked out as slyly as they arrived, glaring a little. Obviously intruders are rare beasts here.


We moved further into the garden, cold in the sun, the air full of the smell of sage, I think, or young rosemary.









I hope you’ll forgive me for flooding this post with images. And if you are a native Edinburgher, forgive me for giving this sort-of secret away. Perhaps you’d like more? If you’ve never heard of the garden and you are still more in need of images, Vivian Swift has a lovely post on Dunbar’s Close garden, and the site, Nothing to See Here gives a little more background of how this place came to be made.


We really hope that the flat near here works out (find out next Monday, all being well), although two more viewings, both in distinct parts of the city, have been added to the list. One, we struck off later in the afternoon – another damp ground floor flat to the South. Onwards though. It’s easy to keep our spirits up in Spring, with still more to see, more disappointments and small joys, ahead.


In keeping, one last sight today. Up a little way from Dunbar’s Close is a whisky shop. Walking home, we saw this old gent sunning himself by the malts:



He shuffled himself down on his four paws, quite ready for a good long snooze. And home it was for us, to rest (though sadly not to write, with my head fuzzy with a bad cold) and to plan.



Filed under Edinburgh

12 responses to “The (semi) secret garden

  1. joplingirl

    I love the simplicity of a traditional garden–so soothing and orderly, and, well, well designed. I’m rooting for you to find a wonderful flat.

    • Thanks – it is a delightful place. You’re right, orderly and soothing. Makes me want to visit Italy again (I taught there for a summer, and visited in winter)

  2. Fingers crossed for you!
    A lovely find that beautiful garden.

  3. “…this old gent sunning himself by the malts.” Lovely description, gave me a chuckle.
    I hope this place is all you can hope, dry, mold-free and with that garden outside for when the writing is too much.

  4. Lovely garden; even lovelier Scottie dog! Good luck with the flat hunting.

  5. Your posts and photos make me want to go back in time and live on a cobblestone street.

    • I live off a cobblestone street right now – well, not even a street. A close. Technically narrower than a wynd, down which a cart could pass. Sometimes cars park on it, though it’s one-way and can make it hard for us to get out the front door.

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