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.
The mystery berry tree (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.
Spring or autumn – the acers are my favourites.
There are still a few roses around, and the geranium leaves die off so cheerily.
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.
It was a damp day when I took the photo below, from the guest bedroom window.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A water feature runs through the rockery section, looking very natural.
I think the common name for the grasses below is Angels’ fishing rod, it’s very elegant whatever it is.
Of course Acers/Japanese Maples are always a favourite with me.
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.
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 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.
Much of the palace is a romantic ruin, but in the 19th century the third Marquess of Bute had it partly rebuilt.
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.
Anyway, here are some of the photos I took while we wandered around.
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.
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.
I took these photos of my garden on the 5th of August.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Below is a photo of delphiniums (I think) and an unusual Rhododendron with the new growth being coloured a sort of pale orange.
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.
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!
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.
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!
The yellow rose ‘Golden Showers’ at my front door has started to bloom again. I had intended liberating it from the large tub it lives in, hoping that it might flower for a longer time if it is in the earth, but never got around to it, also I have no idea where I could shoehorn it in!
The video is of a bit of my back garden. It’s very short and I did it mainly to capture some of the birdsong that fills the air most of the time.
I’m not great at recognising birdsong, I’m a bit better at bird spotting, but one day late last week I was sitting reading in the sun room when something brown flew past accompanied by a lot of screeching from the ever present sparrows. When I looked out the window I saw that some sort of raptor was sitting on the grass, it was Jack that realised that it had something in its claws. I suppose we now have one fewer sparrow around the place, slightly upsetting but I tell myself that the kestrel (?) has to eat too. This bird was like a much smaller version of a female sparrowhawk, I suppose it may have been a very young one, but I suspect it was a kestrel – whatever – we hadn’t seen one in the garden before.
This year I took some photos of the apple tree in my garden as it blossomed. It begins a deep pink colour but opens to pale pink and then mainly white. This is the only plant that was in the garden when we bought this house. I’ve since planted another apple tree but it is a later variety.
We had some hail today, our weather has gone really crazy, but it shouldn’t affect the apples as they haven’t budded yet, so my fingers are crossed as we didn’t get any apples last year because of a late frost.
It was so hot last week when I took the last photo, and until then I hadn’t realised that apple blossom actually had a scent, the heat really brought it out and I’m surprised that no perfumiers have tried to capture it as it’s really lovely, or maybe they have tried, I’m not a great one for perfume in fact I think a lot of them smell really horrible and a whiff of some of them leave me with a three day migraine. I hold my breath when going through the perfume department of any department store – remember those places? They were becoming an endangered species in recent times and I think that Covid-19 might do most of them in completely, but I suppose that’s the least of our worries at the moment. The delicate looking blossom survives though.
I took a few photos of my garden last week when we were having a very long dry spell, since then we have had some much needed rain. Below is a photo of a blue clematis alpina which is against the fence, it’s my favourite clematis, of the ones I have anyway. There’s also an acer/Japanese maple on the right just coming into leaf.
The patch below is the first area to come into flower as it’s where I have most of my snowdrops, but the narcissus, primulas, cherry blossom and heathers are flowering now.
I feed the birds all winter but will be removing the last of the feeders when this one below is empty. The birds don’t need supplements over the summer. The tree the feeder is hanging on is a pear tree, very late in showing signs of growth but it has since begun to blossom.
The photo below would have been quite nice if I hadn’t inadvertently left my weed bucket in view! On the far right is the remains of what was a giant cherry tree that I planted just a couple of years ago, it grew about 20 feet inside a few years, you wouldn’t think it was possible. Anyway, I realised it was going to be far too big for our garden so it has been reduced and the bark cut all around it as it was impossible to move it. I plan to keep the skeleton of the tree to grow my rambling rose Rambling Rector over it. It also produced loads of suckers from the roots. Whoever thought it was a good tree to sell to the general public was off their head. Very few gardens can accommodate a tree which apparently grows to 100 feet, something that the sellers kept quiet about! You live and learn. There are far too may trees in this garden, which I knew was a mistake, but I wanted them all, sheer greed. They are mainly small fruit trees though – apples, pear and plum. Fingers crossed we don’t get a late frost as we did last year and all the buds turned black and fell off.
I had to trace the tree roots and pull them up where possible, that made a complete mess of the chips at the path and around the table which is to the left and out of view below. I thought it might settle down itself but it hasn’t, so that’ll be next on the agenda for needing attention. Since taking these photos the garden has been cleaned up and my brown bin is full of garden waste, but there’s yet more to do. A garden is always a work in progress!