Windmill House and Garden, Sebaldeburen, Netherlands

In my recent post about the windmill at Sebaldeburen I mentioned that the job of windmill keeper comes with a house, a typically Dutch house but no two houses seem to be the same. The man who looks after the windmill took no credit for the garden though as he said that was his wife’s department!

Sebaldeburen Windmill House 2

The garden was all very lush, they had had as much rain as we had in the previous month or so, I think in another week it would have been much more colourful.

Sebaldeburen Windmill House garden

You can see that there are some veggies coming up in the photo below, amazingly they haven’t been chomped by slugs, which is what happened to my brother’s salad crops. They have been terrible this year due to all the rain. As you can see there’s even a large fruit cage in this garden, although if I had been lucky enough to have one of those I would have filled it full with berry bushes of all sorts, it looks a bit empty to me, but I suppose they are growing just what they can cope with, I still have some raspberry jam left over from last year despite giving a lot of it away.

Sebaldeburen Windmill House garden

If you look closely at the photos above and below you can see that someone (presumably the windmill keeper) has made a sort of mock up of a paddle steamer riverboat, using two big wheels as the paddles. If you zoom in on either end of the photos to see the detail you will see that there are a couple of stylish bird boxes attached to the ends. It’s quite a feature.

Sebaldeburen Windmill House garden 3

The windmill keeper spoke very good English and said that he had worked all over the world, incuding in England, Australia and New Zealand, but we didn’t ask him what he worked at, maybe it was windmills. The photo below shows a wooden model cutaway of the internal workings of a windmill.

Sebaldeburen Windmill  cutaway 2

It amazes me how someone came up with the idea as they’re so complicated looking.

The Japanese Garden at Cowden – The Zen Garden

Zen garden, The Japanese Garden at Cowden, Scotland

A couple of weeks ago we decided to go to The Japanese Garden at Cowden again, it was a sparkling day and it was the first time we had really felt any warmth this year, and we were really enjoying our visit, but it’s obviously not for everyone as we heard a fairly youngish woman complaining bitterly that she had paid a lot of money to get in and there was hardly anything to see! She said that loudly as she walked quickly past what I think is a beautiful, if small Zen garden, and she didn’t even glance at it. Oh well, it takes all sorts I suppose.

Zen garden, The Japanese Garden at Cowden, Scotland

Zen garden, The Japanese Garden at Cowden

Japanese garden design seems to incorporate a lot of moss, which is something I’m going to have to embrace in my own garden I think after all the wet weather has encouraged it so much.

But nothing is perfect, I’m sure that in Japan a Zen garden wouldn’t have a redwood and lots of various mature conifers in the background, but I can see why the designer decided to leave them in situ.

We enjoyed the afternoon there anyway, although I must admit that we took advantage of this month’s Gardeners’ World magazine offer. It seemed steeply priced at almost double the normal cost, it was £9.99 but came with seeds and a 2 for 1 ticket entry into lots of famous gardens all over Britain. After visiting this garden we’re already quids in.


Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

Last week we drove to Perth to visit Branklyn Garden again, it’s a lovely National Trust for Scotland location.

Branklyn Garden , Perth, Scotland

It was a lovely warm (ish) sunny (ish) day, well it didn’t rain, and the rhododendrons were looking their best.

Branklyn Garden, Perth


Branklyn Garden , Perth


Branklyn Garden, Perth


Branklyn Garden , Perth

This garden was donated by John and Dorothy Renton, a couple who had designed the two acre hillside garden after building their house on the plot in 1922.

Branklyn Garden , Perth


Branklyn Garden , Perth

In the photo below you can just see the house which I think is privately rented now. There is a cafe of course, with a ‘sitooterie’ where you can have your coffee and cake at a table outside .

Branklyn Garden , Perth

This place is well worth a visit if you like gardens and plants, photographs never do the place justice. They also have  a lot of plants for sale, many of which have been propagated from plants in the garden. That’s very unusual, most places just buy plants in from somewhere, which just isn’t the same at all.

My garden in Fife

Amazingly it was a blue sky day on Wednesday and we had absolutely no rain at all, but that east wind was still blowing, and a friend told me that she had had to scrape ice off her windscreen in the morning, when I was sensibly still in bed.

Anyway, I went out to take some photos of the back garden. Things are beginning to green up.

my Garden, Scotland


my Garden , Scotland


my Garden , Scotland


my Garden , Scotland


my Garden, Scotland

That big shrub to the left of centre in the photo above is going to have to be moved as it blocks my view from the kitchen window of nicer things, such as the pieris, I did not think it was going to grow so large and is not amenable to pruning. Such is life.

My phone tells me that tomorrow it will be four degrees celsius colder than it was today so it’ll be 8 celsius tomorrow, that’s 46.6 F,  colder with the wind no doubt. It’s a very slow start to Spring.

My garden, Fife, Scotland

Whenever it has been a bit drier (not often) I’ve gone out to take some photos of what’s flowering in my garden. Thankfully the primroses, primula, cowslips are always colourful and happily seed themselves around.

primroses, primulas, garden

I tried to take a close up of the white snake’s head fritillary below with my phone, but I was just too close, if you look closely there’s a purple one which is closer to being ‘over’, to the left of the white flower’s stalk. These are also happy to multiply in any damp areas, and let’s face it, the whole garden is damp after the constant rain, there’s more moss than anything else.

fritillary, my garden

More purple fritillaries at various stages of flowering. Sadly only one white flower has come up this year. Charles Rennie Mackintosh did a lovely painting of this type of fritillary, the chequerboard markings on the flower really suited his designs. The actual  flowers look like they have been painted in reality.

snake's head fritillary, my garden

I have no idea what these daffodils below are, possibly Paperwhite. I planted the bulbs ages ago in a pretty bowl, planning to give them away at Christmas, but by then nothing much was happening to them. They were supposed to be a miniature variety, but eventually they just grew and grew, then flopped all over the place with not much sign of ever flowering. I dug a home for them in the garden and they flowered as normal in the spring. Definitely not miniature, which thinking about it I should have realised because the bulbs weren’t small. I think that some plant nurseries must be quite chaotic because plants and bulbs are often wrongly named. Anyway, hopefully these ones will flower again next year, if all the rain doesn’t rot the bulbs!

daffodils, my garden

The first tulips are appearing, but I’m sure I planted more than these ones below in that area.

flowers, my garden

The pulmonaria/lungwort with its spotted leaves below is always one of the first to flower, after the snowdrops, and it goes on for quite a long time, I think that’s why it’s one of my favourites. It was used as a cure  for lung problems in days gone by, but I don’t think it was very effective.

pulmonaria, lungwor, my garden

I was watching Gardeners’ World on TV tonight and a tulip expert was explaining what you should do to tulips after they have flowered. Dig them up after feeding them, clean them, dry them and plant again next year. I’ve always just left them to get on with it on their own underground, maybe if I gave them some tlc they would respond better, they usually die out with me. I’m not planting them deep enough either, at least four inches apparently.

tulips, my garden

Anyway, that’s some of the flowers that are blooming in my garden in Fife, it has been a long wet summer, autumn and winter. It’s amazing how resilient plants can be. I don’t think any of my shrubs have actually died, and I know that other gardeners haven’t been as lucky.

Green Willow’s Secret by Eileen Dunlop

Green Willow’s Secret by the Scottish author Eileen Dunlop was published in 1993. This book is meant for YA readers but is enjoyable to people of all ages I’m sure.

Kit had lived in Edinburgh with her parents and older sister, but a family tragedy has led to the father travelling to Australia and Kit and her mother moving to Maddimoss, a rural area. Kit isn’t settling in well and when her teacher tells the class about a Japanese exhibition she has been to the other pupils tell her that there’s a Japanese garden where Kit lives. Kit knows nothing about it but later when she gets home she does some exploring and discovers the remains of a very neglected but wonderful Japanese garden.

There’s a photograph of the garden in the house they are living in, as it was in its heyday, and there are people in the photo, including a Japanese man in traditional dress, but strangely he appears and disappears in the photo. There’s something slightly spooky about the garden. When Kit meets Daniel who is also not a local they decide to work on the garden together.

There’s a lot more to this book, but I don’t want to say much more other than that I enjoyed it. As it happens there is a Japanese Garden at Cowden, not that far from where we live and a hop and a skip from where Eileen Dunlop lived in the wee town of Dollar. I’m sure that is where she got the idea from because the garden at Cowden fell into neglect and was vandalised in the 1960s. As in the book the original Japanese gardener is buried in the local churchyard. You can read the garden’s history and see more photos here. It has fairly recently been brought back to perfection and is open to the public, obviously it’s a business too nowadays so you have to pay an entrance fee. It’s quite a few years since we visited, (you can see my blogposts on our visits here) I seem to remember that there was a small play area for youngsters who may not be so enamoured of the beautiful surroundings.


Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

It really felt like spring was on its way when I visited the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh on Saturday. It was busy, maybe the sun had brought people out, but there were quite a lot of tourists around who would have been there whatever the weather I suppose, they were mainly American and German I think. Entry to the Botanics is free, which seemed to puzzle some people, but they do recommend a donation of £3.

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

It seems to me that the gardens are quite sheltered, which could explain the early flowering of some of the rhododendrons, but there are still many that haven’t bloomed, I think I’ll visit again in a couple of weeks. The daffodils at the east gate will be over by then though, I think I saw them at their peak on Saturday.

Royal Garden,Botanics ,Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

My favourite area is the rock garden, in recent times it has been tweaked so that there is some wheelchair access but in general most of the paths are made up of stone steps.

Rock Garden, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

There’s a burn/stream rushing through the rock garden which begins with a small but powerful waterfall.

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh

As you wouldexpect there are some great trees in the garden.

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburghs

From some parts of the botanics you can see the spires and roofs of some of the buildings in central Edinburgh, not too far away, but the photo I took was too blurry.

While I was there Jack was at a football match nearby, Dumbarton beat Spartans 6-2 (it’s not like them) so a good day was had by all.

Garden update

Snowy Garden

Garden Under Snow

As you can see from the photos we’ve had our first snowfall in the east of Scotland. Four inches’ worth. It’s not early for us to have snow but it isn’t usually as cold as it has been during the day. It stayed below zero so the snow just sat there for a few days. Thankfully most of it has cleared away now as it got to 4 Celsius today and it rained – just when we were out walking for The Guardian. My phone still said we would have sunshine and clouds – as the rain was falling.

Hortus Botanicus Haren – Groningen, Netherlands

We visited the Chinese Water Garden at Hortus Botanicus Haren – Groningen back in June. It was a glorious day, we were really lucky with the weather.

Chinese Water Garden, Pagoda, da +


Chinese Water Garden , Groningen, Netherlands


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands

There were lots of different types of dragonflies around. Unfortunately I didn’t get any usable photos of them. I’ve only see them a few times before in my life, they don’t seem to be that plentiful in Scotland, so it was a bit of a thrill to see so many.

Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands


Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands


Waterfall, Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands

In the photo below there’s a huge koi carp, it seemed to be the only fish in the water garden. We assumed that it had eaten all the others!

Carp, Chinese Water Garden, Groningen, Netherlands

This botanic garden has a lot more to it than just this Chinese section, well worth going to see if you happen to be in north east Netherlands.