Looking towards the front of Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford the photo below is what you see to the right hand side of it.
I haven’t managed to sort through the Lake District photos yet so I thought I would do a post on the Japanese Garden that we visited a couple of weeks ago. It’s at Cowden Castle, between the small village of Dunning and Yetts o’ Muckhart. Yes that is a place, ‘yett’ just means gate.
The garden isn’t finished yet, it has undergone a lot of refurbishment as it has lain neglected for many years and has only recently been opened to the public again after being closed for years. It was originally created in 1908 but was closed to the public in 1955. It has taken three years of work to get it to this stage but there’s still some work to do on it.
In 1925 this garden was described by Profesor Jijo Suzuki as the most important Japanese garden in the western world.
There’s a Zen garden, not my favourite kind but still intersting. Obviously there are a lot of cherry trees that have been newly planted so I’ll have to go back there around next May to see what they look like.
Stepping stones are a big feature of the gardens and you can even walk across the pond/loch using them – if you have good balance!
We visited the gardens the day after Storm Ali which caused mayhem in some places with lots of trees keeling over as they were still in full leaf, but these gardens are set in a sort of wee glen so they’re quite sheltered, only one tree seemed to have been blown over.
There’s twenty acres of woodland to walk in if you have the time and energy. Before going here we had a look online to see what people said about the place. Some comments were less than complimentary, but we had a lovely time, the staff were welcoming and the soup in the cafe was very tasty – what more can you ask?!
We have had our best summer weather since 1976, that was the summer we got married and I have no idea how well my dad’s roses did that summer, sadly he only lived until 1980 so I can’t ask him how his garden fared in the heat. He was a very keen gardener which now that I think about it must have been an unexpected passion as he lived most of his life in a city flat with no garden.
Anyway, I had thought that the unusual heat we had this year would be just what my plants needed, but although they grew well most of them didn’t bloom as well as usual. The roses were particularly disappointing. I’m greedy where roses are concerned and choose varieties that keep coming back with flushes of blooms throughout the summer and autumn. Despite careful and constant dead-heading my roses only flowered once this summer and they were over very quickly. So quickly that I don’t seem to have got any photos of them at all. It is only September so in theory they might flower again – but I’m not holding my breath, I think they just didn’t enjoy the heat, which I can’t understand as most rose species originate from Asia.
On the other hand my raspberries did very well this year, so I was surprised when Monty Don mentioned on Gardeners’ World that his crop of raspberries was poor this year. I wonder what his strawberries were like, I had such a glut that we got fed up eating them and I made some into jam.
The photo below is of the rockery which has been engulfed by a type of potentilla. I bought one plant and it has seeded itself, deciding that the rockery was the perfect spot to settle down in. The bees adored it so I put up with it there but eventually had to set to and dig it up. That was easier said than done for it had enormous thick fleshy roots, especially considering it had only been there for one season. I suspect that they are going to continue to come back and haunt me for some years as I just couldn’t get all the roots out.
The Euphorbia Fireglow below is another plant that spreads around a lot, and you have to be very careful when you pull it up as the stems and roots secrete a milky liquid which will burn your skin badly. It’s definitely one of the times when wearing gloves is safest.
Although the address of the Backhouse Rossie Estate is given as Collessie it’s actually on the road to Auchtermuchty. In the past the estate was famous for daffodils, something to remember in the spring as I’m sure they’ll have a good show of them.
I have to say that I was most impressed with the design and planting at Backhouse Rossie. I love walled gardens, they always feel so comfortable and safe and although I adore historical places I was pleased to see that there are some beautiful modern and thoughtful designs incorporated in the gardens.
The display of plants in pots is a similar idea to the Auricula ‘theatres’ that were popular in the past, especially with the French Huguenots who came to Britain in the 16th century to escape persecution from the French Catholics.
The DNA Path from the side, as you can see climbing roses have been trained over the path, but we were just too late to catch them in bloom. This year the roses have come and gone very quickly due to the unusual hot weather. I live in hope of another flush of blooms soon though.
It was such a sunny, hot day that I really needed a bit of a sit down, but all of the benches were in bright sunshine, so after looking around all of the garden areas we decided to have a walk in the surrounding woodland.
We walked there via the orchard and the apples have a decent crop on them this year.
Somewhere in woodland there was an old tomb to visit, and I can rarely resist a ruin. So we followed the path to the tomb.
As you can see there’s not much left of it now. You can read about the Covenanters here.
The estate is surrounded by farmland and these young bullocks were interested to see us emerging from the woodland. Actually they were very placid, which is not my usual experience of bullocks, so perhaps these ones have been ‘done’.
If you’re interested in gardening, or just having lovely walks and a change of scenery then this is a lovely place to visit. You can read more about it here.
The day after we inadvertently visited the lovely wee village of Collessie we managed to find Backhouse Rossie Estate. It was a gloriously sunny day, but dare I say it – too hot! The gardens are wonderful, the only downside being that we were there just after the climbing roses had finished, I must remember to go earlier next year. The estate is actually on the road to the small town of Auchtermuchty – yes that IS a real place name.
I took lots of photos so there’ll probably be a couple more blogposts about this lovely estate garden.
Let’s pretend that we’re going on a wee walk through the local woodlands in Fife. I took these photos on May 20th just when we were grabbing every good day – just in case it was the last of the summer.
It was such a late spring that a week or so before these photos were taken there was hardly any sign of green at all, but suddenly everything just exploded when our seemingly never ending winter lost its grip. There’s a wee wooden bridge in the distance – it’s perfect for playing Poohsticks, but I usually just hang over it nowadays looking for fish, and sometimes I see one or two.
Here and there there are groves of these ferns, so elegant looking as they unfurl, I think they might be Shuttlecock ferns but there are so many different kinds, I’m not sure. I’ve just noticed that there are hogweeds beginning to grow on the edges, I hope they don’t eventually crowd the ferns out.
We’ve now reached the rhododendrons, these ones were obviously planted here because they’re directly opposite the front windows of the ‘big hoose’ which is now a hotel. I just noticed a couple of days ago that those posts with wire fencing on them to the far right of the photo below have small padlocks attached to them, so that fad which started in Paris must still be ongoing, crazy, but no doubt the padlock manufacturers are happy about it. I think the ‘fence’ looks completely out of place though.
I hope that that stretched your legs a bit and maybe cooled you down if you’re still stuck in intense heat. The rain arrived here today, I’m not complaining about it as it’s badly needed, I just wish that we could arrange for it just to rain overnight!
I think it was the end of May when Storm Hector raged through large parts of Scotland and flattened the more delicate plants in my garden, it also destroyed the thin metal arch that we had straddling the garden path, so we decided to replace it with a more robust wooden one. The wooden posts were stuck into long metal spikes and holes were dug by Jack and Davy our brother-in-law and Davy mixed the concrete. It seems good and solid. The photo above is of Jack doing some fine tuning.
The photo below was taken a bit later when the evening sun had moved around to the front of the house. I ended up cutting back completely the everlasting sweetpea which had been covering the metal arch. It had become too fankled (tangled) to train it over the new arch and to be honest I’m not sure if I want it there now as it seems to be a bit of a bully and the stalks and leaves are very course. There are a couple of climbing roses and a honeysuckle at the arch now and I think that will be enough.
A week or so of decent weather makes all the difference especially after such a slow start to the growing season as the one we had this year was. The pink rose was one of my birthday plants, I think it’s called Awakening and although all of its original blooms have gone it’s now happily producing a second flush.
There’s a handy piece of ground behind the shed and that’s where I’ve been storing all of the turf that I’ve been cutting up ever since we moved here over four years ago now (I can hardly believe it’s that long). I realised that foxgloves had seeded themslves on top of the turf and attempts to move them to a more scenic location culminated in the death of a few of them as the roots were too firmly embedded – so I just left the rest of them to get on with it. They’re very happy there.
I took the photo below from the top of the ladders, as you can see that bed to the left of the wooden arch is becoming quite congested, but everything seems to be growing well for the moment. I might have to move some things next year though.
The other garden project that I’ve completed this year is the area around the old sink planter. The old rosemary tiles that I’ve used as edgers are doing the job I wanted them to and stopping the grass from encroaching into the slate.
Of course the garden looks quite different now as it didn’t rain for weeks and weeks after I took these photos. The grass turned yellow, but the clover stayed nice and green and as usual was very popular with the bees. Most of the plants have coped well with our unusually hot and dry weather but I hadn’t realised that the down side to hot dry summers is that the flowers don’t last nearly as long as they do when the weather is cooler. Not that I’m complaining – well I might be – just a wee bit!
It’s ages since I posted any photos of my garden, these photos were all taken in early May. It was such a slow, late spring and it seemed that the place would never green up, but it did eventually as you can see.
But now nearly three months since then the garden is looking much fuller, although after the very hot dry weather we’ve been having it’s only the clover in the grass that is keeping it looking green as the actual grass is yellow/brown. Below is heather, a type of sorbus, a small rhus and a silver birch. I must admit that I’ve planted a lot of things too closely together in my impatience to have something that looks like a garden quickly. I’ll have to move some things before much longer.
The metal archway in the photo below has blown down several times in the strong winds that we get and Storm Hector turned up a couple of weeks after the photo was taken and flattened a lot of the garden as well as wrecking the arch completely, so we’ve since erected a much stronger wooden one. The garden is so different now though as the hot weather made everything explode into growth.
The photo below was taken from the guest bedroom window.
The photo below is of an ornamental quince, I have two others, one white and the other apricot. The ‘bug hotel’ in the photo has been completely ignored by all bugs as far as I can see.
The Princess Irene tulips lasted quite a long time, I presume they were named after a Dutch princess given that they’re a gorgeous vibrant shade of orange – the Dutch royal colour.
The rockery below is even more congested looking now. my hope is for most of the garden to be covered with plants, hoping that there will be fewer weeds to deal with if there’s no bare soil for them to get a hold in.
Below is a photo which I took in mid June and the warmer weather has worked wonders for the growth of everything. The cat seems to have adopted our garden – mainly to snooze in. The raised bed on the left has a lot of strawberry plants in it and we’ve had a real glut this year. I never thought I’d get fed up with strawberries – but I did and I ended up making jam with some of them.
He’s known as Big Hairy Cat to us, but he lives in a house not far from us, although I suspect he’s trying to move to a home which has no dogs and children to contend with! I’m not encouraging him though.
I’ve been enjoying watching the BBC’s coverage of RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this week. If you haven’t managed to see any of it click the link if you want to see some lovely plants and gardens.
In my own garden this week I’ve not been doing an awful lot, just dead-heading really as it has been too hot here to do anything much more taxing – and I never thought I’d say that as I really thought that our summer weather had disappeared forever!
I’ve been spending a lot of time reading, so this week I decided to begin reading King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett. It’s 720 pages long with quite small print and I hate reading books over a long period of time so I planned to read around 100 pages a day, and I managed that although some days I could hardly put it down so read even more. With the World Cup football on TV and Jack watching three matches a day – a great read was the perfect distraction for me – and it was a great read. But more about that next week.
Back to Threave Gardens again and the photo below is close to the entrance, it looks like a newly planted area and the sphere is made up of slate, very trendy at the moment I think. I’m sure they’re also very expensive as there’s obviously a lot of skill and time involved in sculpting something like that.
Threave really has a wonderful variety of plants and different types of gardens.
Below is another sculpture which is a big lump of rock with carvings of animals on it. I prefer big rocks to be left au naturel as to me you can never improve on the beauty of a natural rock face, but that’s just my opinion. The trees look fantastic though – don’t they?