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.

My garden in Fife, Scotland

I took these photos of my garden on the 5th of August.

my garden , Fife, Scotland

The combination of a few hot days followed by some really terribly wet days has resulted in a lot of lush growth. You know what British summers are often like – two hot days followed by a thunder storm. Just a few days after I took these photos we had the worst thunder and lightning storm in the east of Scotland that anyone could ever remember, it lasted for at least twelve hours and towards the end of it our house actually shook, it was more than a wee bit disconcerting. Remarkably my garden survived unscathed.

my garden, Fife, Scotland

August is traditionally a bit of a slack period where flowers are concerned, often the mid summer blooms have gone over and the late summer plants haven’t got going yet, but my garden still has quite a lot of colour within it.

my garden, Fife, Scotland

If you look at the tree in the top right of the photo below you might be able to see some apples growing. This tree had been sheltered by a large native honeysuckle at the time of the May air frost which killed off the pear and plum buds. Failing to cut plants back sometimes ends up being an advantage!

my garden, Fife, Scotland

The perennial sweet pea which is flowering in the photo below is becoming more thuggish each year. I really should pull it out, but I know that I’ll never get rid of it all. I like the flowers but sadly they have no scent, unlike the annual sweet peas, and I have a feeling that the plant is choking anything else that’s growing near it.

my garden, Fife, Scotland

At the moment our garden waste bin men aren’t coming as regularly as they used to, so whenever the bin has been emptied by them it’s no time at all before it’s full up again. This has been curtailing my garden tidying somewhat – well that’s my excuse! I must admit though that if I hadn’t had a garden to potter around in during the lockdown I suspect that my mental health would have suffered. There’s something about the combination of exercise and the thought processes that you go through when gardening that are just perfect for balancing life out somehow.

Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland – part 2

Here we are back at Branklyn Garden in Perth again, it was the first day of its opening again after the Covid-19 lockdown was being slowly eased in Scotland. We were all glad to see some different scenery I’m sure.

pathway , Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

There were quite a lot of people there but it was still fairly easy to lose yourself among the plants and take photos without other people being in the background.

Pathway, Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

Sadly I couldn’t see any fish in the pond, I suspect that if they put any in there they would be fodder for some kind of birds, possibly a heron. This garden is a short distance from the River Tay, where there are plenty of seabirds around.

Branklyn pond, Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

I wish I could remember the name of the red flowered climber below, I have a feeling that it’s an annual but I can’t find any images of one like it. That’s one grouse I have about Branklyn, the plants aren’t always labelled. Probably they were all well labelled originally but the plants have engulfed them as they grew.

Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

You can just get a glimpse of the house that the original owners of the garden lived in in the photo below. This is now a Scottish National Trust property but the house is used as a holiday rental so you can’t look around it.

Rhoddie , acer, Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

There are some cracking acers/Japanese Maples in this garden. So many people love them but aren’t able to grow them although they’re not that pernickety really, having said that some of mine got damaged by an air frost in May, just as the new growth was looking so good.

Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland, acer

It was a sunny day and the sun shining through the top of the acer below was quite something, but the photo doesn’t really capture the moment.

acer, Japanese Maple, Branklyn Garden, Perth

Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland – part 1

acer, Branklyn Garden, Perth

acer, Branklyn Garden, Perth

acer, Japanese Maple, Branklyn Garden, Perth

From Saturday we in Scotland were allowed to travel further than five miles (unless for food shopping) for the first time since the lockdown began in early March. So we took the opportunity to visit Branklyn Garden in Perth, on the way to visiting family thirty miles away from us. As you can see from the three photos above Branklyn has some lovely acers/Japanese maples.

This type of cherry tree bark just keeps getting better every year.

Cherry/Prunus Bark, Branklyn Garden, Perth

Below is a photo of delphiniums (I think) and an unusual Rhododendron with the new growth being coloured a sort of pale orange.
delphiniums, rhododendron, Branklyn Garden, Perth

Brown-Leaved Rhoddie, Branklyn Garden, Perth

Quite a few other people had had the same idea and I was surprised to see that the cafe was open, (but only for sitting outdoors.) Things felt almost normal – almost but not quite. There were masks and hand sanitiser at the entrance, but we had brought our own.

The garden is set in about two acres and dates from 1922 when this hillside orchard plot was bought by a couple who wanted to build an Arts and Crafts house there surrounded by a garden which has lots of winding paths around gorgeous planting.

Nowadays Branklyn Garden is owned by the Scottish National Trust. Sadly it was opened up just too late for us to admire the great banks of Himalayan Meconopsis, there were just a few stray petals left on them, not worth photographing. I was pleased to capture this fleeting butterfly though, I think it’s a tortoiseshell although I have no idea what the shrub is called.

Butterfly, Branklyn Garden, Perth

My garden in Fife, Scotland

Last week we had a couple of lovely blue sky sunny and hot days – hot by our standards anyway. Then of course the thunder and monsoon-like rain followed, and it’s still with us, well maybe not quite monsoon proportions but very damp indeed. I knew we would pay for all that gorgeous sunshine we had back in May!

my garden, Fife

But while the sun shone I took a few photos of my garden. Actually it looks a bit different now as it has been tidied up or redded up as we sometimes say in Scotland. I had to wait for my brown garden waste bin to be emptied as it was stuffed to the gunnels.

my garden

I got quite excited when I got an email from the Scottish National Trust telling me that some of their gardens will be opening on Friday. After the long Covid-19 lockdown a historic garden visit sounded perfect to me, especially as we’ve only been allowed to travel no further than 5 miles, unless it’s for essential shopping such as for food. The garden at nearby Falkland Palace or even Branklyn in Perth beckoned to me in my mind, but having seen the weather forecast for Friday I doubt if a garden visit will be on the cards. I live in hope!

my garden, Fife