Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland – part 1

Earlier this week we visited Branklyn Garden in Perth which is a smallish garden, just two acres, which is owned by the Scottish National Trust. It’s a lovely place and has some gorgeous plants, it’s especially scenic at this time of the year with all the acers, rhododendrons, azaleas and Himalayan poppies in flower at the moment.

acer , meconopsis, Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

There are some wee winding paths through the acers/Japanese maples, but there are wider paths too.

acers, Branklyn Garden, Perth, National Trust Scotland

The orange coloured flowers are particularly striking. I think these are azaleas rather than rhododendrons.

orange azalea , rhododendron, Branklyn Garden, Perth, National Trust Scotland

But the primulas and meconopsis are putiing on a great display at the moment too.

primulas, poppies, Branklyn Garden, Perth

I think you’ll agree that the acer below is contributing a lot of colour too, with it’s zingy citrus shade and the red of its seed pods.

Japanese maple, acer, Branklyn Garden, Perth

This garden is like a slice of heaven, the only thing which mars it is the sound of traffic from the nearby road below it. Obviously when the original owners of the garden built their house and garden in this location the traffic was a lot lighter.

orange azalea, Branklyn Garden, Perth

There is a small stream which runs through part of the garden, but I’ll leave the photos of that to another post. It was just so lovely to get out and about and do something quite normal but certainly different from sitting at home as we have had to do for so long, and it felt safe.

acer, Branklyn Garden, Perth

Rhododendrons in Balbirnie

Rhododendrons, Balbirnie, Fife

Rhododendrons, Balbirnie Park, Fife

As we’re now allowed to travel out of our immediate locality for the first time in what seemed like a very long time we decided to go to visit some old friends a couple of hundred miles away, very carefully of course and keeping well away from other people. It was lovely just to have a change of scene, but two days away from home seemed like enough for us at the moment.

Rhododendrons, Balbirnie, Fife

Anyway, before we left home I took some photos of the local rhododendrons which are looking really good at the moment. These plants are growing in what was a private estate and would probably have been planted in Victorian times. Some of them have a beautiful scent, which I think is quite rare with rhoddies. But in my own garden it’s the apple blossom that is most attractive at the moment, because of the freezing cold weather we’ve been having it has been flowering for weeks, it remains to be seen if we will actually get any apples from the tree though as it’s to be just above freezing tonight – in the middle of May!

Apple blossom, my garden

Spring blossom, my garden, Fife.

The Amelanchier tree below is also known as a serviceberry apparently. It’s really pretty and delicate and has lovely leaf colour too. I’m trimming the height of this tree so it doesn’t get out of hand. That has the advantage of making it bush out at the lower trunk so it will look more like a shrub which is what I want.

Amelanchiar Tree

Amelanchier Tree , my garden

Below is a plum tree which has loads of blossom on it, but it was the same last year. I had very high hopes for a great crop of plums, then came a May frost and it turned the blossom and buds black. As his April had the most nights of below freezing temperatures – I think since records began, I am not being too optimistic this time.

Plum Tree, garden

Below is the same tree again, but in the background you can see a bright red quince and there’s a pink blossomed apple tree against the fence, behind the plum tree.

Plum Tree, my garden

I’m still waiting for my pear tree and a Bramley apple tree, both of which should flower later this month. I didn’t get one pear last year due to frosts but the Bramley apple tree gave me a fairly decent crop for its first time, about six big apples as I recall. I live in hope!

My Spring Garden

Flowers, my garden

There’s quite alot of colour in the garden at the moment, spring is definitely here as far as the flowers are concerned, but it started to snow not long after I took these photos!

daffodils, my garden

I haven’t planted many daffodils as there are so many wild ones growing in the woodland near my house, but these ones above are smaller and daintier than the more common daffs.

Flowers , my garden

The primroses and primulas do well here as they seed all around the place, I love getting plants for free! The hellebore below seems to be the only one thriving in the clay soil of my garden, at least two other varieties seem to have disappeared.

Flowers, my garden, hellebores

The red quince is flowering well as you can see but my white one is later, I hope it has survived our seemingly never ending winter.

quince  Flowers , my garden

The very slow growing holly below is supposedly suitable for rockeries, so far so good as I’m not great at hacking back shrubs, I feel their pain!

small holly, my garden

The tulips are flowering earlier than usual, very surprising given what our weather has been like and this pot has been frozen solid at times.
tulips, my garden

Not long after I took these photos it began to snow – such is life!

primulas, my garden

My Garden and St Andrews, Fife

Spring has definitely sprung in Fife, not that you would kow it from this photo, I think a new camera is required, or maybe it would be better if I used my phone. Anyway there are various primulas, snowdrops, heathers in flower, but they look very ‘peely wally’ in the photo, that’s a Scottish phrase meaning pale.

my Garden

Since these photos were taken the garden has had a good ‘redd up’ that’s another Scottish phrase meaning tidied up. There was a whole winter’s worth of dead leaves and broken branches.

my Garden , crocuses

There are a lot of primroses around, I think I only had one plant to begin with, they’re great at self-seeding in this garden.

my Garden.primroses

The one thing that does really well in my garden is moss, it grows abundantly on the soil and the grass. Looking on the bright side – I won’t have to buy any sphagnum moss to line hanging baskets!

Garden , garden in Fife

The Belfast/butler’s sink in the background is a fairly new acquisition which is needing work done on its surroundings. I plan to entice birds into it, it should make a good big bird bath. In my previous garden I had a bigger one and I put some water plants in it, it was very popular with the blackbirds but I’ve only seen a couple of magpies in this one so far. Luckily they were together so it was two for joy!

my Garden

I’ve been hard at work in the garden digging up more turf and I’m waiting for a delivery of gravel to arrive. Jack is very happy to have less grass to cut.

What else have I been doing apart from gardening and reading a lot? Well, last Friday we drove to St Andrews, it was really quite exciting to travel more than five miles, just lovely to see some different scenery for a change. It started out so bright but it got duller as we reached the coast. Below is a photo I took of one of the beaches in St Andrews. It was very quiet by the time we walked back towards the town. The wee cottage on the left hand side of the photo is the lifeguard centre and the ruins of the cathedral are almost in the centre in the distance.

St Andrews beach, Fife

The town itself was very quiet too, the only shops open in Scotland are shops selling food so it was only the ice cream shops and a posh whisky shop which were open. I’m presuming that as the whisky shop also sells shortbread that was the reason it was allowed to open!

I could only stand and gaze at the secondhand bookshop, my nose wasn’t quite pressed against the window, but it wasn’t far off. I think it might be open again in about five weeks from now – one person in at a time – or two from the one household no doubt.

Bouquiniste Bookshop, St Andrews

Prestatyn, Wales

I’m casting my mind back to 2019, the glory days when we could just jump in the car and drive to wherever we fancied. In September of that year we had a bit of a road trip to Wales, part of which was a belated 60th birthday treat for me. We visited Prestatyn, a coastal town where some friends of ours lived. It’s always good to be shown around a place by people who know the area well. We would never have known of the very steep and winding (scary) road which leads high above the town. This very attractive pub is about half-way up, sadly it wasn’t open, but I was able to have a walk around the beautiful garden. The pub is called Eagle and Child, it’s known locally as the Bird and Bastard!

Eagle and Child  (Bird and bastard)

Eagle and Child  (Bird and bastard)

Someone spends a lot of time cutting this hedge.
Eagle and Child  (Bird and bastard)

Considering this was September and is half-way up a hill there’s an amazing amount of colour around. I think Wales does have a very much milder climate than Scotland has. They also call hills mountains for some strange reason.

Eagle and Child  (Bird and bastard)

Eagle and Child 5(Bird and bastard)

You get a lovely view looking down to the town and the Irish Sea and over to Rhyl from the top of the hill, but I hope that no drivers actually partake of the booze in the pub, it was bad enough going back down the road with a completely sober driver!
View from hill , Prestatyn, Wales

View from hill , Prestatyn, Wales

My snowy garden

This morning I woke up to a snowy garden, about four inches had accumulated overnight. This is the first snow of the winter, which is very late for us, sometimes it appears in October.

Snow Garden

There was actually thundersnow which woke Jack up but I slept through it.

Garden in Snow

It does look pretty and I’m glad that I thought to take some photos of the garden as it started to rain heavily this evening and it has all been washed away now. Luckily I managed to get my fuchsias under cover just yesterday afternoon, I must have known it was going to snow!

Snowy Garden

Autumn garden in Fife

Ceanothus, fuchsia

We’re well into autumn now but there’s still quite a bit of colour and blossom in my garden. The ceanothus has just decided to flower for the second time and the fuchsia Ricartonii has been very late, the frost will probably get them soon.

berry tree, my garden

The mystery berry treeĀ  (possibly a cotoneaster) is very bright but I’m cutting it back to make it a bush rather than a tree as there are too many trees growing out of hand in my garden.

The dogwood (cornus) leaves are just about to drop, but they’re also contributing to the colour in my autumn garden.
heather, dogwood, my garden

autumn garden

Spring or autumn – the acers are my favourites.

autumn acer

acer, lemon scented conifer

autumn garden

There are still a few roses around, and the geranium leaves die off so cheerily.

rose, autumn garden

acers, garden

I bought some marigolds in early summer, different varieties and the one below has been great so I’m saving seeds from it to grow next summer. It’s in an old chimney pot.

marigold, garden

It was a damp day when I took the photo below, from the guest bedroom window.

garden

The smirry rain (very fine like low cloud almost) gives a hazy effect but I hope you can see some of the autumn colour in the trees.

autumn garden

It has been remarkably windless recently which is strange for this area and will no doubt account for the days and days of rain that we’ve had, but I suspect that the leaves won’t be hanging on for much longer now.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland

It was back in August the 14th that we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh and it was a searingly hot day, well to me anyway but maybe not to others. It felt strange to be out and about as due to Covid-19 we hadn’t travelled so far from home since February, we had to book a time of arrival so that lots of people didn’t arrive at the gates at the same time, but it still seemed quite busy to me.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

There’s a grove of Monkey Puzzle trees (Aurucaria) they seem to be love or hate trees but I recall one from a park in my early childhood and I’ve always admired their strangeness.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

There were still quite a lot of things in flower despite August often being regarded as being quite a sparse time for gardens in Scotland with many flowers having performed already. The agapanthus flowers were still going strong, I love that shade of blue.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Scotland

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Scotland

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

The early dahlias have a background of statuesque bamboos, those are not something that you want to let loose in your own garden as if you aren’t careful they’ll take over.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, dahlias

A water feature runs through the rockery section, looking very natural.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Scotland

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Scotland

I think the common name for the grasses below is Angels’ fishing rod, it’s very elegant whatever it is.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Scotland

Of course Acers/Japanese Maples are always a favourite with me.

Edinburgh Botanics Gardens, Acer

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, Scotland

It was quite exhausting walking around so we didn’t stay too long, it was too hot and bright for us. We did manage to have a rest on a bench for a while which was good, some places have taped off all the benches or removed them so that people can’t have a sit down on them and potentially contaminate them with Covid-19. A black cat came and hid from the sun under the bench we were sitting on. I’m not sure if that was meant to be good or bad luck as it didn’t cross our path. Anyway, here we are back at Covid restrictions again after a brief respite, and from Friday we aren’t allowed to have anyone in our houses again, it’ll be worse this time around as it’s now too cold to have friends or family visiting and just chatting in the garden, but at least we can still travel around, for the moment anyway.

Edinburgh Botanic Gardens

Falkland Palace Garden, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace , Fife, Scotland

Although we’re members of the Scottish National Trust we haven’t been able to visit any of their properties this year as they’ve obviously all been closed due to Covid. Some of the bigger castles have opened up again, such as Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle, but last week we decided as it was a beautiful day we’d visit nearby Falkland Palace, just to walk in the garden, the palace wasn’t open. You can just walk in and there’s a box for donations.

Falkland Palace, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace was the hunting lodge of the Stuart kings and queens. Built in the 16th century by King James IV and his son James V and modelled in the French style it was also a favourite with Mary, Queen of Scots as it reminded her of the French chateaux of her childhood.

Falkland Palace , Fife, Scotland

Much of the palace is a romantic ruin, but in the 19th century the third Marquess of Bute had it partly rebuilt.

Falkland Palace, Fife, Scotland

We quite often just go for a wander around the gardens, there’s a pleasant orchard, although a lot of the trees have been fairly recently planted. In normal times you can have a nice wee sit down on a bench and admire the views, but I believe they’ve been removed due to Covid 19.

Falkland Palace Gardens, Fife, Scotland

Anyway, here are some of the photos I took while we wandered around.

Falkland Palace Gardens , Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace Gardens, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace Gardens, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace Gardens, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace Gardens, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace Steps, Fife, Scotland

The gate below is obviously modern, it leads through to the orchard some of which you can just see in the background. The apple crop was not nearly as good as usual due to the weather.

Falkland Palace Gate, Fife, Scotland

Although Falkland has always been popular with tourists it has become even more so in recent years as the village and palace have been used as a location for Outlander. Click on the photos if you want to see them enlarged.