The first floral clock was the idea of John McHattie of Edinburgh Parks and the clockmaker James Ritchie. It was first planted up in UK in the spring of 1903 in West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, though such floral clock already existed in 1900 in Switzerland and more precisely in the village of Les Avants above Montreux. In that year it had only an hour hand but a minute hand was added the following year. A cuckoo which popped out every hour was added in 1905. The clock was soon imitated across the United Kingdom and later throughout the world.
In Edinburgh the clock mechanism is set inside the plinth of the statue to Allan Ramsay adjacent. The first mechanism using salvaged parts from Elie Parish Church in Fife was installed by Ritchie. A new mechanism was installed in 1934 and is still maintained by Ritchie's company.
Most have the mechanism set in the ground under the flowerbed, which is then planted to visually appear as a clock face with moving arms which may also hold bedding plants.
The only flower clock with two faces moved by the same system is located in Zacatlán, Puebla, Mexico. It has two faces, each five meters in diameter. It was manufacturated by Relojes Centenario, a local manufacturer.
- "Floral Clock". Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Monuments and Statues of Edinburgh, Michael T.R.B. Turnbull (Chambers) p.5
- Brent Elliott, 'Floral Clock', Oxford Companion to Gardens, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1986
- Clifford-Smith, Silas; 'Floral Clocks', Oxford Companion to Australian Gardens, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, milky way, pluto orbiting the sun 2051
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