My January Garden

It has been such a mild winter here in Fife and my garden does seem to have more colour in it than usual for this time of the year. Snowdrops, primulas, primroses, heathers and pulmonaria were all in bloom.

January garden

January garden

January garden

Mind you my camera seems not to be coping with close ups, time for a new one maybe.

January garden

January garden

January garden, Fife

I still think we’ll get snow at Easter or thereabouts, but I’ve got some of the seeds I want for this summer and I’m champing at the bit to get stuck into some proper gardening. It’s still far too cold to sow seeds though.

Mindful thoughts for GARDENERS by Clea Danaan

 Mindful thoughts for GARDENERS cover

Mindful thoughts for GARDENERS by Clea Danaan was one of the books that I got for my birthday back in June and it’s only 159 small pages long. It seemed like a good one to read while it’s not really possible to get any actual gardening done.

The blurb on the back says: Gardening is so much more than planting seeds and turning compost; it is a spiritually enriching activity that reconnects us to nature everyday. Mindful Thoughts for Gardeners sows a series of meditations about tending the earth, rooting each thought in a practice that can lift our souls, as well as the soil.

This is a very cute wee book with some pretty illustrations by Lehel Kovacs.

Mindfulness was all the rage a while ago, but I feel that I’m far too level headed to be attracted to such fads. I already knew about everything in this book regarding gardening and what it can do for your mental health and well-being.

However if you’re a bit of an airy fairy type then this might be the book for you. At one point the author mentions that her ten month old baby crawled out of the back door and a long way to the bottom of the garden, and she looked all over the house for her before finding her!! It’s safe to say that her mothering skills are less than ideal.

However there is a section (p 54) on how important it is to have houseplants to nurture, especially if you live in an apartment. There were drug deals going on in the neighbourhood but – ‘The pots of plants sitting proudly on the artificial grass-covered balcony brought a sense of normalcy and nature to our space.‘ I’m sure I’ve said it before but I can’t stand that word ‘normalcy’ the word should be normality. Yes I have a real prejudice there but we all have our quirks!

My autumn garden – 29th of October

The leaves that are still on trees have been raining down on us over the past few days, the frost has left them unable to cling on any longer, but these photos are of my garden as it was on the 29th of October when the acers were at their most vibrant. A last loud hurrah before they have a rest.

acers

acers , physocarpus, viburnum, liquidambar

Below is a much smaller acer, a pieris and a conical evergreen which I love but can’t remember what it’s called, I’m really not very good with all those conifers. The blue/green one in the foreground is a creeping juniper I think.
acers,

acers

The mystery tree below which I bought for all of two quid at Hill House of Tarvit plant sale a few years ago is great – but still a mystery. It has lovely glossy berries and its leaves look a bit cotoneaster-ish, but it’s definitely a tree not a shrub. The heather has been looking a bit scruffy until now, it is great for autumn colour though.

mystery tree, my garden

The bright yellow-ish conifers in the background are those ones that you can buy from supermarkets for about £1 when they’re just a foot or so tall. These ones are now five years old and although they were all the same size when I planted them two of them have had to be cut back because of frost or perhaps wind burn damage, but they’re still growing well and they have a lovely lemony scent when you brush against them.

acers

Well, it was nice for me to be able to remind myself what the garden looked like just a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoyed it too.

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?