Taken from Information from the Edinburgh District Council
One of the best loved attractions in the City is the Floral Clock in Princes Street Gardens, which as well as being a work of art, is also a dependable timekeeper. The layout design is a big attraction.
Mr John W. McHattie, who was then Parks Superintendent, conceived the idea of a Floral Clock in 1903. The works are housed in the plinth of the Allan Ramsay Monument and the hands are controlled by a lateral shaft that moves the minute hand every 30 seconds and also controls the hour hand. The hands measure approximately 8ft and 5ft respectively. The circumference of the Clock is 36ft, width 11ft 10ins. When filled with plants, the large hand weighs about 80lbs and the small one 50lbs.
The Clock is designed by our expert Technical team in the Parks Service. Quite a variety of flower and foliage plants are used in the design. All are of a dwarf nature, suitable for carpet bedding. Most of the plants are annuals such as Lobelia, Pyrethrum and Golden Moss. The remainders are succulents with Echeveria and Sedum’s in variety.
The plants are grown in the City of Edinburgh Inch Nursery and the main face of the Clock and Motif design is planted up in special stainless steel wire baskets in the early spring, which are transferred to the Clock site. To plant the whole area it takes two men five weeks. After that, one man looks after the trimming, weeding and watering for the rest of the season. Approximately 30,000 plants are put in during this period.
For a number of years the design and layout has been of a topical character. Over the years designs have included the Robert Louis Stevenson's Centenary, the Festival of Britain, the Bicentenary of the Birth of Robert Burns, the 10th International Botanical Congress and the Centenary of The Salvation Army.