In the spring, even in still frosty temperatures, Scotland's moors and hills begin blooming rich colours. As seasons change into summer and then to autumn, new colours and shapes emerge in new rounds of flowering. Gardening and admiring native plantlife is a much-loved pastime of the Scottish, especially within traditional walled gardens.
Thistle (Carduus and Cirsium)
Scotland's national flower is the purple, prickly-leaved flower, which may be the nation's most-recognised symbol after tartans and kilts. Also called Scott's thistle, it was originally used in the 15th century as a symbol of defence, and lore abounds on its role in ancient communities. Thistles have dense heads of small purple or pink flowers and bloom in the late summer and fall. Medicinal purposes include treatment of ulcers and cancers.
Scottish Bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
Also known as a harebell, this flower is entwined in folk tales of fairies and witches, who allegedly used the flower juices to change themselves into hares. The blooms literally look like bells, and are typically either violet or blue, blooming throughout the summer. The leaves of the plant can be eaten, and the root is sometimes used for heart and lung problems, as well as for earaches.
Flowering in the spring, these blooms help to start Scotland's growing season along with other bulb plants like tulips and crocus. These hardy plants resist pests and diseases, and can come in a variety of colours such as yellow, white, orange, red and pink. Their bulbs are poisonous, which makes deters animals from digging them up to eat.