Floral clock blooms in honour of The Scotsman's bicentenary

Edinburgh’s world-famous floral clock in Princes Street Gardens is now in full bloom, celebrating the 200th anniversary of The Scotsman newspaper.

Floral clock
Scotsman Editor, Frank O'Donnell, Lord Provost, Frank Ross and Horticultural Manager, Graeme Craig, view the new design.

The blossoming timepiece, maintained by the City of Edinburgh Council, forms part of a year of bicentenary celebrations.
 
The design was created in partnership between The Scotsman and the Council and bears the paper’s founders’ commitment to “good sense, courage and industry” as part of the themed plant pattern.
 
The Scotsman has been based in Edinburgh since it was first published in January 1817 from its original head office on the High Street. The publication has already featured in the clock’s design, with the 1992 layout marking its 175th year.
 
The Lord Provost, Councillor Frank Ross, said: “Much like the city’s floral clock, The Scotsman newspaper is iconic to Edinburgh’s past and present, so it is particularly fitting that this key milestone is celebrated in its design.
 
“As ever, the completed clock is a beautiful achievement, and is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Parks and Greenspace service. I would encourage anyone living in or visiting the capital to stop by and catch the clock ticking during the summer.”
 
Frank O'Donnell, Editor of The Scotsman, said: "The Scotsman newspaper has been at the heart of Edinburgh for 200 years, reporting on every major event, championing unpopular causes and holding our politicians to account. Our daily readership now spans North America, Australasia and Europe - and we must use this influence to highlight Scotland's contribution to the world. 

"We are honoured to have our bicentenary marked by the floral clock, which has been charting time and progress in Edinburgh since 1903. My thanks to everyone at the City of Edinburgh Council for helping to make his happen."
 
The floral clock was first created in 1903 by the Edinburgh Parks Superintendent, John McHattie. The clock initially operated with only an hour hand with a minute hand added in 1904, followed by an accompanying cuckoo clock in 1952. Until 1972 the clock was operated mechanically, and had to be wound daily. 
 
Since 1946 it has been designed in honour of various organisations and individuals, including the Girl Guides Association, Robert Louis Stevenson and the Queen, for her Golden Jubilee.
 
It has taken two gardeners more than a month to plant the 35,000 flowers and plants used to create the clock, which will be in bloom until October. This year, the clock’s mechanism has also undergone an upgrade, while the beloved cuckoo clock, which sounds every 15 minutes, has been given a new operating system. 
 
The Scotsman newspaper inspired this year’s floral arrangement as part of its 200th anniversary, which has involved a special edition of the paper, a BBC documentary on the publication’s history and the ‘200 Voices’ series, which features the voices of 200 people who have played a major role in Scotland’s past, present and future.
 
Find out more about Edinburgh’s parks and green spaces online.
 
Floral clock fact file
 
The clock was created in 1903
May – when planting begins
35,000 plants are used in the design (compared to 13,000 in 1930s; 25,000 50s-60s)
1952 – when the cuckoo was added
In 1946 the clock began celebrating a different event or anniversary
Clock circumference: 36 ft
Clock width: 11 ft 10 ins
80lbs – weight of large hand
50lbs – weight of small hand
1973 – when the clock began being operated electrically 
Edinburgh’s is believed to be oldest floral clock in the world

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