Dundee Botanic Gardens – the greenhouses

I can hardly believe that it was way back in September when we visited the Dundee Botanic Gardens. I blogged about the ouside of the gardens earlier, but we also went into the greenhouses which are packed with exotics.

Dundee Botanics greenhouse
It was a hot day outside so it was super hot in the greenhouses.
Dundee Botanics greenhouse
I’ve always been keen on cacti, ever since I bought myself a wee cactus plant from good old Woolworth’s when I was 11 years old. Woolies used to be great for plants, seeds and gardening things in general, it’s sadly missed.

Dundee Botanics greenhouse

As I was admiring the lovely healthy Abutilon in this photo below I realised that it had been a big mistake to plant the one I had bought recently out in the garden. I dug it up when I got home and moved it into the sun room where it promptly lost just about all of its leaves. It did give me one flower though and the leaves are growing back, so I live in hope of a good display this summer.

Dundee Botanics greenhouse

The bright cerise Bougainvillea brought back memories of Portugal where it grows ‘like Topsy’.

Dundee Botanics greenhouse

I should know what this plant below is, but it has escaped me at the moment.
Dundee Botanics, greenhouse

The problem with not getting around to blogging about places until long after the visit is – I can’t remember what this tree is called, but it’s certainly unusual.
Dundee Botanics greenhouse

Dundee Botanics greenhouse

I’m sure that some of you will have plants like the ones in these photos growing wild in your gardens, but here in Scotland they need to be cossetted in hothouses. I’m not sure that I would like too many of them in my garden – if they could survive, I’m more of a daisy/primrose sort of woman, but it is lovely to see them thriving here where they’e obviously well looked after. Dundee Botanic Gardens are well worth a visit.

Dundee Botanics greenhouse , Scotland

Drum Castle Gardens, Aberdeenshire

From the photo below it looks to me like the box hedges and topiary in the rose garden had very recently been trimmed when we visited Drum Castle in late October.
Drum Castle, historic rose garden 1
I just love a garden that’s well protected by high stone walls, the perfect setting for the vibrant red Virginia Creeper, just the thing to cheer up the darker days of autumn.
Drum Castle historic rose garden
As you can see there were still a few wee roses blooming, but this place must look stunning in high summer.
Drum Castle historic rose garden 4
As you can see from the photo below – the sun got in the way a bit, but I thought you might like to see the wooden pyramid-like frames that have been constucted.

Drum Castle historic rose garden 3
I like the wicker edging that stops the plants from flopping over. In the foreground is Sedum spectabile, just about the best autumn/late summer colour we can get in gardens here I think, and beloved by bees and butterflies.
Drum Castle historic rose garden 8

Drum Castle historic rose garden 7

Drum Castle historic rose garden 9
Below is a photo of a bothy (shelter) which had a table in it with bags of apples in it – and an honesty box. No doubt at other times of the year you can purchase veggies too. This ‘bothy’ looks to me like it must have been a place for storing small carts and garden implements in its day.
Drum Castle historic rose garden 12 bothy

Although this garden is historic, it isn’t preserved in aspic and new things have been added to it over the years. as should happen with a garden. Gardens are never finished, they’re constantly evolving.
Drum Castle historic rose garden 12

One of the newer additions is the human sundial below, if you stand on a particular spot you should be able to tell the time from your own shadow.
Drum Castle historic rose garden 13 human sundial 1

I think the ‘spooks’ at the top of the design below are more than a wee bit influenced by Margaret MacDonald’s designs. C.R. Mackintosh’s wife.
Drum Castle historic rose garden 14 human sundial 2

While we were there the pond area was having work done on it so we weren’t able to walk all around it, but that didn’t worry me as the colour of the maples/acers were brilliant and more than made up for it.
Drum Castle pond garden

Obviously we didn’t see the gardens at their best as it was late October when we visited but if you’re interested you can see more images of them here.

David Douglas Memorial, Scone, Perthshire

David Douglas Memorial

I was reading a book called Plant Hunters by Charles Lyte ( I haven’t finished it yet) and I realised that David Douglas – one of the plant hunters featured in it was born in Scone in Perthshire, a place that we often drive through. There’s actually a memorial to him in Scone churchyard so the next time we went past there we took time to go and visit it. It’s quite big! His body is actually buried in Honolulu where he was when he died – under mysterious circumstances apparently. His body was found in an animal trap pit and he had been gored to death by a bullock that had also fallen into the trap.
The photo below is of the back of his memorial.
David Douglas Memorial
As he had been visiting an Englishman who lived in a nearby hut (it was his animal trap) and the Englishman was an escaped Botany Bay convict there has always been a suspicion that David Douglas was murdered by him. He was only 35 when he died but he had discovered so many plants and brought them back to the UK. His most famous plant introduction is probably the Douglas fir but he introduced about 240 other plants to the UK and our gardens would be much poorer without his contribution to botany.

David Douglas Memorial

David Douglas began his botanical life as an apprentice at Scone Palace then moved on to an estate in Fife and from there to the botanical gardens at Glasgow University before embarking on his plant hunting adventures.
David Douglas Memorial

For some reason Scotland produced more professional gardeners and botanists than anywhere else in the past, it’s something that authors have often acknowledged as so many writers of fiction have written their head gardeners as being Scotsmen, including Angela Thirkell. Plant hunters still exist today and sadly in 2013 a young Scottish plant hunter who came from a family with a long botanical history disappeared while on a plant hunting mission in Vietnam and his body wasn’t found until two years later. It’s thought that he died from natural causes after a fall.

Abbotsford’s gardens

Abbotsford Information Board

Abbotsford Stitch

Looking towards the front of Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford the photo below is what you see to the right hand side of it.

Abbotsford Garden
The photo below is of the same piece of garden ground but this time viewed from his study.
Abbotsford Garden from Study

There was still quite a lot of colour around although most of the roses were over, next time we’ll visit in the summertime.
Abbotsford Walled Garden, Sir Walter Scott, 1
Abbotsford Walled Garden, Sir Walter Scott 2

Below is an elegant sheltered spot to sit in within the walled garden, but the day we were there was hot, very hot for October and as you can see it was very sunny.
Abbotsford Walled Garden

Abbotsford Walled Garden,Sir Walter Scott

In the distance you can see that the blue delphiniums were still going strong.
Abbotsford Walled Garden,Sir Walter Scott 6

Abbotsford Walled Garden Information Board

The Japanese Garden at Cowden

I haven’t managed to sort through the Lake District photos yet so I thought I would do a post on the Japanese Garden that we visited a couple of weeks ago. It’s at Cowden Castle, between the small village of Dunning and Yetts o’ Muckhart. Yes that is a place, ‘yett’ just means gate.

The garden isn’t finished yet, it has undergone a lot of refurbishment as it has lain neglected for many years and has only recently been opened to the public again after being closed for years. It was originally created in 1908 but was closed to the public in 1955. It has taken three years of work to get it to this stage but there’s still some work to do on it.

Acer at Japanese Garden, Cowden

In 1925 this garden was described by Profesor Jijo Suzuki as the most important Japanese garden in the western world.

pond and bridge

There’s a Zen garden, not my favourite kind but still intersting. Obviously there are a lot of cherry trees that have been newly planted so I’ll have to go back there around next May to see what they look like.

dry garden /Zen garden

Stepping stones are a big feature of the gardens and you can even walk across the pond/loch using them – if you have good balance!

acer

apond and bridge

We visited the gardens the day after Storm Ali which caused mayhem in some places with lots of trees keeling over as they were still in full leaf, but these gardens are set in a sort of wee glen so they’re quite sheltered, only one tree seemed to have been blown over.
looking back to pond

Pond and Bridge

There’s twenty acres of woodland to walk in if you have the time and energy. Before going here we had a look online to see what people said about the place. Some comments were less than complimentary, but we had a lovely time, the staff were welcoming and the soup in the cafe was very tasty – what more can you ask?!

My Garden – Summer 2018

We have had our best summer weather since 1976, that was the summer we got married and I have no idea how well my dad’s roses did that summer, sadly he only lived until 1980 so I can’t ask him how his garden fared in the heat. He was a very keen gardener which now that I think about it must have been an unexpected passion as he lived most of his life in a city flat with no garden.

garden

Anyway, I had thought that the unusual heat we had this year would be just what my plants needed, but although they grew well most of them didn’t bloom as well as usual. The roses were particularly disappointing. I’m greedy where roses are concerned and choose varieties that keep coming back with flushes of blooms throughout the summer and autumn. Despite careful and constant dead-heading my roses only flowered once this summer and they were over very quickly. So quickly that I don’t seem to have got any photos of them at all. It is only September so in theory they might flower again – but I’m not holding my breath, I think they just didn’t enjoy the heat, which I can’t understand as most rose species originate from Asia.

garden, geraniums, astilbe

Flowers quickly drooped in the heat and frazzled, there’s not much shade in this garden – yet.
garden , acer

On the other hand my raspberries did very well this year, so I was surprised when Monty Don mentioned on Gardeners’ World that his crop of raspberries was poor this year. I wonder what his strawberries were like, I had such a glut that we got fed up eating them and I made some into jam.

garden in Fife
The photo below is of the rockery which has been engulfed by a type of potentilla. I bought one plant and it has seeded itself, deciding that the rockery was the perfect spot to settle down in. The bees adored it so I put up with it there but eventually had to set to and dig it up. That was easier said than done for it had enormous thick fleshy roots, especially considering it had only been there for one season. I suspect that they are going to continue to come back and haunt me for some years as I just couldn’t get all the roots out.
my garden in Fife
The Euphorbia Fireglow below is another plant that spreads around a lot, and you have to be very careful when you pull it up as the stems and roots secrete a milky liquid which will burn your skin badly. It’s definitely one of the times when wearing gloves is safest.
garden  in Fife

Backhouse Rossie Estate Gardens, Fife, Scotland part 2

Although the address of the Backhouse Rossie Estate is given as Collessie it’s actually on the road to Auchtermuchty. In the past the estate was famous for daffodils, something to remember in the spring as I’m sure they’ll have a good show of them.
Information Board, Backhouse Rossie Estate
I have to say that I was most impressed with the design and planting at Backhouse Rossie. I love walled gardens, they always feel so comfortable and safe and although I adore historical places I was pleased to see that there are some beautiful modern and thoughtful designs incorporated in the gardens.

The display of plants in pots is a similar idea to the Auricula ‘theatres’ that were popular in the past, especially with the French Huguenots who came to Britain in the 16th century to escape persecution from the French Catholics.

Wall and pots

The ‘DNA’ path below leads to a modern sculpture.
DNA Path

DNA Sculpture

DNA Sculpture info board
The DNA Path from the side, as you can see climbing roses have been trained over the path, but we were just too late to catch them in bloom. This year the roses have come and gone very quickly due to the unusual hot weather. I live in hope of another flush of blooms soon though.
DNA path

Below is an old gateway leading out of the walled garden.
gate to walled garden

It was such a sunny, hot day that I really needed a bit of a sit down, but all of the benches were in bright sunshine, so after looking around all of the garden areas we decided to have a walk in the surrounding woodland.
We walked there via the orchard and the apples have a decent crop on them this year.

apple tree

Somewhere in woodland there was an old tomb to visit, and I can rarely resist a ruin. So we followed the path to the tomb.

Covenanter's Tomb

As you can see there’s not much left of it now. You can read about the Covenanters here.

Covenanter's Tomb

Covenanter's Tomb

The estate is surrounded by farmland and these young bullocks were interested to see us emerging from the woodland. Actually they were very placid, which is not my usual experience of bullocks, so perhaps these ones have been ‘done’.
bullocks

There’s a wee putting green which is nicely situated with a good view of the East Lomond hill in the distance.
lawn and East Lomond

That’s more or less the view that the owners must have from their house below, but that isn’t open to the public.
Backhouse Rossie House

If you’re interested in gardening, or just having lovely walks and a change of scenery then this is a lovely place to visit. You can read more about it here.

Backhouse Rossie Estate Gardens, Fife, Scotland

The day after we inadvertently visited the lovely wee village of Collessie we managed to find Backhouse Rossie Estate. It was a gloriously sunny day, but dare I say it – too hot! The gardens are wonderful, the only downside being that we were there just after the climbing roses had finished, I must remember to go earlier next year. The estate is actually on the road to the small town of Auchtermuchty – yes that IS a real place name.
a Backhouse Rossie Estate,entrance + planters

As you can see, there’s woodland beyond the walled garden. We did go for a walk there, mainly to get into some shade.
flowers , Backhouse Rossie Estate

flowers , Backhouse Rossie, Estate, Fife

flowers,  Backhouse Rossie Estate

flowers , Backhouse Rossie Estate, Fife

This fountain is one of the more traditional water features.
fountain, Backhouse Rossie Estate, Fife
There’s a rill leading to a pond.
rill and pond

You can’t really see it in the photo below but the rill is filled by the water which bubbles up from this stylish sculpture.
rill source

The photo below is of the East Lomond hill, a view over the garden fence, not a bad setting for an estate.
East Lomond and fields from estate

I took lots of photos so there’ll probably be a couple more blogposts about this lovely estate garden.

A Woodland Walk in Balbirnie, Fife

Let’s pretend that we’re going on a wee walk through the local woodlands in Fife. I took these photos on May 20th just when we were grabbing every good day – just in case it was the last of the summer.
Bluebells

It was such a late spring that a week or so before these photos were taken there was hardly any sign of green at all, but suddenly everything just exploded when our seemingly never ending winter lost its grip. There’s a wee wooden bridge in the distance – it’s perfect for playing Poohsticks, but I usually just hang over it nowadays looking for fish, and sometimes I see one or two.
Burn

Burn

The burn is fairly silent until it reaches a tumble of stones and old displaced cobbles, evidence of what had been a ford until the rushing water took its toll.
Burn

woodland path

Here and there there are groves of these ferns, so elegant looking as they unfurl, I think they might be Shuttlecock ferns but there are so many different kinds, I’m not sure. I’ve just noticed that there are hogweeds beginning to grow on the edges, I hope they don’t eventually crowd the ferns out.

Ferns
Ferns
This woodland was part of a Victorian private estate but is now freely open to the public.
Ferns

It’s not all green!
Trees

We’ve now reached the rhododendrons, these ones were obviously planted here because they’re directly opposite the front windows of the ‘big hoose’ which is now a hotel. I just noticed a couple of days ago that those posts with wire fencing on them to the far right of the photo below have small padlocks attached to them, so that fad which started in Paris must still be ongoing, crazy, but no doubt the padlock manufacturers are happy about it. I think the ‘fence’ looks completely out of place though.
Rhoddies

Rhoddies

I hope that that stretched your legs a bit and maybe cooled you down if you’re still stuck in intense heat. The rain arrived here today, I’m not complaining about it as it’s badly needed, I just wish that we could arrange for it just to rain overnight!

My garden in Fife – late June

I think it was the end of May when Storm Hector raged through large parts of Scotland and flattened the more delicate plants in my garden, it also destroyed the thin metal arch that we had straddling the garden path, so we decided to replace it with a more robust wooden one. The wooden posts were stuck into long metal spikes and holes were dug by Jack and Davy our brother-in-law and Davy mixed the concrete. It seems good and solid. The photo above is of Jack doing some fine tuning.

Garden Arch

The photo below was taken a bit later when the evening sun had moved around to the front of the house. I ended up cutting back completely the everlasting sweetpea which had been covering the metal arch. It had become too fankled (tangled) to train it over the new arch and to be honest I’m not sure if I want it there now as it seems to be a bit of a bully and the stalks and leaves are very course. There are a couple of climbing roses and a honeysuckle at the arch now and I think that will be enough.
wooden garden arch

A week or so of decent weather makes all the difference especially after such a slow start to the growing season as the one we had this year was. The pink rose was one of my birthday plants, I think it’s called Awakening and although all of its original blooms have gone it’s now happily producing a second flush.
garden in Fife

There’s a handy piece of ground behind the shed and that’s where I’ve been storing all of the turf that I’ve been cutting up ever since we moved here over four years ago now (I can hardly believe it’s that long). I realised that foxgloves had seeded themslves on top of the turf and attempts to move them to a more scenic location culminated in the death of a few of them as the roots were too firmly embedded – so I just left the rest of them to get on with it. They’re very happy there.
Foxgloves
I took the photo below from the top of the ladders, as you can see that bed to the left of the wooden arch is becoming quite congested, but everything seems to be growing well for the moment. I might have to move some things next year though.
Plants
The other garden project that I’ve completed this year is the area around the old sink planter. The old rosemary tiles that I’ve used as edgers are doing the job I wanted them to and stopping the grass from encroaching into the slate.
garden sink

Of course the garden looks quite different now as it didn’t rain for weeks and weeks after I took these photos. The grass turned yellow, but the clover stayed nice and green and as usual was very popular with the bees. Most of the plants have coped well with our unusually hot and dry weather but I hadn’t realised that the down side to hot dry summers is that the flowers don’t last nearly as long as they do when the weather is cooler. Not that I’m complaining – well I might be – just a wee bit!