Falkland Palace autumn gardens

Falkland Palace, gardens, Fife, Scotland

A couple of weeks ago I decided that we should visit the nearby Falkland Palace, before they shut the place for the winter. I specifically wanted to see what the gardens looked like as autumn crept up on us. In the photo above you can see the palace and ruins as viewed from the back. The palace was built as a pleasure palace, mainly used as the ‘hunting palace’ of the Stuarts. It was a favourite place of Mary Queen of Scots as it reminded her of the French palaces she had grown up in.

Falkland Palace, gardens, Fife, Scotland
It was even a wee bit misty – as befits the season.
Falkland Palace, gardens, Fife, Scotland

I think I zoomed in on the one below too closely as it looks a bit pixelated, but it gives you an idea of the autumnal shades.

Falkland Palace gardens, Fife, Scotland

The stone building in the photo below houses the real or royal tennis court. One time we went there people were actually playing real tennis, I think it calls for more skill than the modern version. The court is the oldest surviving one in the country, I think there are only a couple more of them.

Falkland Palace gardens, Fife, Scotland

I took the photo below just by turning around after taking the photo above it, so we’re looking back in the direction of the palace again.

Falkland Palace gardens, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace gardens, Fife, Scotland

Falkland Palace gardens, Fife, Scotland

The church in the photo below is next door to the palace, but it’s a lot more modern than the palace which dates from 1501, but there was a hunting lodge belonging to the Macduff Thanes of Fife, as long ago as the 12th century.
Falkland Palace gardens, Fife, Scotland

Click here if you want to see more photos and read a bit more about Falkland Palace which is now run by the Scottish National Trust.

You can see images of the real tennis court here. It’s a complicated game as you get points for hitting the ball through the windows in the back wall so the scoring system must be very different. You serve by hitting the ball onto the small sloping roof at the side.

We did go inside the palace but they don’t allow you to take photos which is a shame. The chapel is still used as the Roman Catholic church for the area. However as lots of people are very happy to dodge the rules there are images online of the interior of the chapel which you can see here.

Like so many places in Scotland, Falkland has been used as a location for filming Outlander.

My October Garden

I ran around the garden taking these photos before the autumn winds strip the place bare of leaf colour. I think that my garden is often more colourful in October than it is during that August lull when the best flowers seem to have exhausted themslves. You can see viburnum berries, some leaves of my liquidambar tree (for years I misspelled that) and a red/purple physocarpus.

Autumn garden

A young silver birch and pink sedum

Autumn garden

The mystery berry tree, which might be some sort of service tree with a few rudbekia flowers and rhus leaves in the background.

Autumn garden

Lilac mallow flowers and what I think is a blue cyprus, I’ll need to look up its label.

Autumn garden

The osteospermums and lobelia still going strong in an old chimney pot. They’ve flowered since early summer and the frost hasn’t got them yet. The acer you can see is in a planter, mainly because I can’t find a space to plant it out in the garden. I hope it survives.

Autumn garden

The Christmas tree has grown a lot in the last few years.

Autumn garden

My garden in August

I took these three photos of my garden in August, that time when the plants take a bit of a breather before maybe deciding to give us a second flush of blooms. The first one was taken looking towards the house from the so called summer house, otherwise an oddly shaped shed which I must say has become more of a potting shed than anything else.

August Garden

Those pink everlasting sweet peas climbing on the left hand side of the wooden archway have become a bit of a menace though – and they don’t even have any scent! That’s one plant I should definitely have avoided at the supermarket.

August Garden

Despite the fact that we’re very nearly in November now and have had frost and some ice, the flowers in the old chimney pot in the photo below are still blooming away. Osteospermums and lobelia, they’ve been great this year.
August Garden

I’ve taken some photos of the garden in autumn, but I’ll leave them for next week.

Pitmedden Garden, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

We visited Pitmedden Garden when we were in Aberdeenshire recently. It’s a place that I have wanted to visit for something like 40 years after watching the early days of the Scottish gardening programme The Beechgrove Garden, because one of the presenters – George Barron – was the head gardener at Pitmedden then.

Pitmedden Garden, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Apparently I took 42 photographs while we were there, but I’ll just show you a few of them just now, to give you an idea what it’s like if you’ve never been there.
Pitmedden Garden, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Pitmedden Garden, knot garden, Aberdeenshire

The garden is a wonderful knot garden with over six miles of clipped box and yew hedges as well as a fairly recently replanted orchard. Most of the trees in there are too new to have much of a crop, but the older trees which are trained against the tall stone walls were well laden.

apples, Pitmedden, Aberdeenshire

One of the great things about this garden is that despite the fact that its ‘bones’ are set in the intricate box patterns, it will still be ever changing as the spaces are planted up with seasonal bedding plants. The area in the photo below was filled with several different sorts of marigolds. I love the topiary yew buttresses aginst the walls in the background too.

Pitmedden Garden, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

It isn’t all formal though, there are some lovely overflowing mixed herbaceous borders too.
mixed border, Pitmedden Garden, Aberdeenshire

We were there quite early on a Saturday morning and almost had the place entirely to ourselves. It’s definitely worth visiting if you’re in Aberdeenshire.

Below is a You Tube video of the beginnings of Beechgrove Garden and you can see George Barron and Jim McColl chatting away, George had a lovely Aberdonian accent which wasn’t something I had heard much of back then. Occasionally he slipped into the ‘Doric’ but not often enough for my liking!

The Secret Herb Garden, near Edinburgh

Looking at these photos – and particularly when you are actually at The Secret Herb Garden, it’s quite difficult to believe that you are just a hop and a skip from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh.

Secret Herb Garden

It’s mainly herbs that are for sale as well as some vintage things such as old gardening tools and some furniture.
The Secret Herb Garden

But The Secret Herb Garden is mainly a lovely place to get away from the city and have a nice snack at the cafe.

Secret Herb Garden, Edinburgh

We had plenty of choices for where to sit, but as we visited on a very hot day we decided not to sit at a table in one of the greenhouses as it was just too hot and bright.
Secret Herb Garden

Secret Herb Garden

Vintage cars are used as decoration in parts and the old VW Beetle has been pressed into use as a log store.
Secret Herb Garden

We went all around the various garden areas first though and it feels just like being in the garden of a National Trust property, or something similar.

The Secret Herb Garden

The Secret Herb Garden
We had coffee and cake but I didn’t buy any plants as – I already had them all. I suppose that proves that I’m definitely a plantaholic!
The Secret Herb Garden

This is one of those places that we’ve been meaning to visit for ages. If you’re inclined towards distillery visiting you can do that too as there’s one just beyond the gardens which seems to make whisky and gin – as they just about all seem to nowadays. I don’t care how fashionable gin is, or whisky for that matter – I can’t stomach the stuff.

The Secret Herb Garden

My Early June garden

I took the photos below earlier this month in my garden, just at the time whem we were all thinking – what has happened to ‘flaming June?’
my garden, Lupins
But it just kept getting wetter and I had to rush out whenever things dried up a wee bit. Then came days of high winds and everything flattened, especially the lupins.

my garden, Fife

They continue to fight back though and new spikes are coming through.

Rose

It looks like we will have a bumper crop of raspberries and Tayberries this year, if all the rain we’re getting doesn’t bring the dreaded botrytis fungus. The pears which were growing got blackened in a May frost – such is life, I can’t see any pears on the tree now.
my garden, side of path
If you click on these photos it’ll take you over to Flickr and you can click on them again to zoom in to see the details better.

London Pride, acer
Since I took these photos I’ve been out cutting back and dead heading and more roses are coming out.
poached egg plant
We’ve been promised decent weather over the next few days, although wouldn’t you know it – it’ll be much better over in my beloved west of Scotland where it’s supposed to reach 25 Celsius.
Turk's cap lily

Apparently that’s 77 Fahrenheit, I’m just glad that I’m not with my brother in Holland at the moment because it’s going to be seriously hot there. Global overheating is definitely in mainland Europe.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

I had actually decided last year that 2019 would be the year for me to visit the Chelsea Flower Show but – we went on that Baltic cruise instead. Luckily we did get home just in time to enjoy watching Chelsea on TV. I have to say though that this has been the least impressive year that I can remember. I adore trees and there are certainly a lot of them at Chelsea this year and I love lots of different shades of green but for me that should be balanced by beautiful colours.

Whether the flowers are what some people would regard as genteel and muted tones, or a more exuberant explosion of colour is a matter of taste, I’m a bit greedy and love both styles, but I feel a bit colour deprived having viewed the show gardens this year, admittedly I haven’t managed to view all of the gardens as I’ve been trying to catch up with post holiday clothes washing and getting stuck into my own garden.

If you haven’t been able to see the TV coverage you can still see many of the gardens here.

I did love the garden that the Duchess of Cambridge helped to design it was obviously a winner with children, but I didn’t like the M&G Garden by Andy Sturgeon, I hated all that burnt wood. I do like the Welcome To Yorkshire garden, probably because of all the stonework and the cute wee house.

Do you have a favourite?

Home – at last!

Magellan

For the last fortnight we’ve been cruising around the Baltic on Magellan and I have to say it was about a week too long for me. I was really desperate to get home after we had visited St Petersburg, but we had three more stops after that. Mind you, one of those stops was to Stockholm, a place I hadn’t been before and I was very pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it is.

I found the actual cruise to be rather boring, but I did manage to read six books, some of them chunky classics too. Unfortunately just about everyone on the ship ended up with a cold which developed into a hacking cough – including me and Jack, I’m still not feeling great. The air conditioning just about guarantees that any lurgy is liberally shared around everyone. On the plus side – despite having five course dinners – we both managed to lose weight! The food is another aspect of cruising that I didn’t enjoy. Most people seem to feel that as they’ve already paid for the food they’re determined to eat as much as they possibly can. It’s really off-putting.

Otherwise the highlight of the cruise was St Petersburg – as expected. We took loads of photos, well, Jack took most of them but at some point I’ll be using them in blogposts soonish. Meanwhile, I was so glad to get home and so impressed with the lush green growth since I had last seen my garden, I had to take a photo of it.

my garden

People have often commented on how green it is and I must admit that I’ve always taken it completely for granted but after having been surrounded by a grey Baltic and even greyer North Sea for two weeks – and what was worse – absolute flat calm all the time, I now appreciate my garden even more than I did before.

my garden

I love a good rough sea but Neptune seems to go to sleep as soon as I get on board a ship!

Blog hiatus

My Garden in Fife

We’ll be leaving soon for our Baltic cities cruise, and wifi on those ships is dismal so I’ll be offline for a fortnight. I was just having a look around the garden today and noting how many plants are just about to come into flower, including several clematis and roses. Remind me never to go on holiday at this time of the year again! The clematis alpina above has been flowering for a few weeks already, this is the best it has ever been.

The acers/Japanese maples are all at different stages of growth.
My Garden  in Fife

Golden elder, euphorbia Fireglow and amelanchier are good and colourful in the photo below.
My Garden in Fife

Yet more Fireglow is beside the dwarf apple tree, that apple tree was the only plant that was in this garden when we moved here – unless you count loads of grass as a plant.
Garden in Fife

The Rosemary below is in bloom and a spirea has become entwined with it, but the spirea will flower much later.
Garden in Fife

Garden in Fife

Garden in Fife

The heathers will have finished flowering by the time I get back so one of my first gardening tasks will be to cut it back.
My Garden in Fife

I’m going to miss pottering about here, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy visiting – Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Taillin, Warnemunde, St Petersburg and Aalborg. I think I’ll need another holiday to get over this one coming!

Branklyn Garden, Perth, Scotland

Last week we took advantage of a gorgeous blue sky day to visit Branklyn Garden in the ‘fair city’ of Perth – the original one of course, not the one in Australia which is what usually pops up if you google ‘Perth’.

Branklyn Gardens
I’m sure that this tree is a type of cherry but there was no sign of any blossom on it – it has fantastic glossy red bark though.
Branklyn Gardens
The gardens aren’t huge but they’re just perfect for having a relaxing stroll around and you can have a sit down or even visit the very pleasant tearoom.
Branklyn Gardens
This is a hillside garden which is owned by the National Trust. It’s just two acres and it was created in the 1920s using seed collected by plant hunters.
Branklyn Gardens
There’s a pond which is fed by a wee waterfall.
Branklyn Garden

The azaleas and rhododendrons were looking perfect.
Branklyn Garden

Branklyn Garden

Branklyn Garden
And you get a good view of Perth from the garden. It’s just a short drive from the city centre.
Branklyn Garden

Lastly, you can just catch a glimpse of the house which was built by the original owners, but it isn’t open to the public. This is a lovely place to visit if you’re near Perth, and you can always buy plants there which have been propagated from plants in the garden.
Branklyn Garden