Rhododendrons in Balbirnie

Rhododendrons, Balbirnie, Fife

Rhododendrons, Balbirnie Park, Fife

As we’re now allowed to travel out of our immediate locality for the first time in what seemed like a very long time we decided to go to visit some old friends a couple of hundred miles away, very carefully of course and keeping well away from other people. It was lovely just to have a change of scene, but two days away from home seemed like enough for us at the moment.

Rhododendrons, Balbirnie, Fife

Anyway, before we left home I took some photos of the local rhododendrons which are looking really good at the moment. These plants are growing in what was a private estate and would probably have been planted in Victorian times. Some of them have a beautiful scent, which I think is quite rare with rhoddies. But in my own garden it’s the apple blossom that is most attractive at the moment, because of the freezing cold weather we’ve been having it has been flowering for weeks, it remains to be seen if we will actually get any apples from the tree though as it’s to be just above freezing tonight – in the middle of May!

Apple blossom, my garden

Apple Blossom in my garden

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.

apple blossom
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.
apple blossom, my garden

apple blossom, my garden

apple blossom, my garden

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.
apple blossom, my garden

Scottish Garden in spring


This is a photo of the apple blossom in my garden. I have a couple of other apple trees which I planted but although they are quite tall they can’t be mature enough to flower yet, so no apples from those ones this year.


The few days of warm weather which we had last week fairly brought the flowers on, these fritillaries are favourites of mine. They look like they’ve been painted by a fairy. The white flowers next to them are a type of viburnum.


I’m wondering if these tulips will reappear next year or if they will do what they used to do in my old garden and appear for one year only. Apart from the couple which I didn’t plant which came up every year of the 26 years we lived there.


Doronicum, well I think that’s what they are but I’m not brilliant with perennials, I’ll have to check my plant labels. Whatever, these yellow flowers which I planted last summer were in flower for months so I was surprised that they flowered again so early in the season. It’ll be interesting to see how long they last.


The ferns in the nearby woodland are just beginning to unfurl. I can almost hear them stretching up to the light.


That’s just some of the things which are flowering in my garden now and it’s a cruel fact of life that after I took these photos the wind changed direction and came straight at us from the Arctic, we even had a few snow flurries. I might shiver in the wind but so far the plants are standing up well!

My Garden

I haven’t had much time for blogging over the past week or so, in fact even my reading has almost come to a standstill. Life has just got in the way of the more pleasant things in my life, as it sometimes does for us all.

I did get a chance to take a few photos out in the garden though, so here they are. The photo below is of a male blackbird, perched high in one of my trees. I wish you could have heard him singing. As you can see the tree he is sitting in is yet to start unfurling its leaves. It’s always a late starter but it must be at least a month behind where it normally is at this time of the year.


I know that everybody is getting very worried about the bee situation but so far it’s been a good year for bees in my garden, despite the terrible weather. This one was really quite drunk on rhododendron.


I think it was Anbolyn of Gudrun’s Tights who was wondering what apple blossom looks like, well here it is, but this tree is more ornamental than fruit bearing, in fact as this tree was in my garden when we moved in, I thought for a few years that it was a cherry blossom, because of its colour but it does have teeny wee apples on it which are even smaller than cherries. They would be fine for Borrowers! I can’t smell any scent from apple blossom at all, but that might just be because it doesn’t get warm enough here to bring it out.

apple blossom

This apple blossom is much more common, pink buds which open out to pale pink blossom. This tree does grow apples which you can eat, but they are quite small.

apple blossom

This is the table and chairs which I normally sit at when I read in the garden, unfortunately I’ve only managed to do it for about 30 minutes this week, despite the fact that we had some half decent weather for once.

Katrina's garden

And lastly here is a photo I took of a swan and her cygnets in Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy. I gave the swans a bit of a slagging last year because they’ve only ever managed to bring up two cygnets each year in the past. This year they’ve surpassed themselves though. The first time I saw them they had seven cygnets, unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me that time. Two days later they were down to six cygnets, but a week later they still have all six of them, and I think they’ll manage to survive now. The parents spend their time pulling weed up from the bottom of the pond and dropping it on the surface, where the cygnets can easily pick it up.
Swan and cygnets