Earlier this week we visited Branklyn Garden in Perth which is a smallish garden, just two acres, which is owned by the Scottish National Trust. It’s a lovely place and has some gorgeous plants, it’s especially scenic at this time of the year with all the acers, rhododendrons, azaleas and Himalayan poppies in flower at the moment.
There are some wee winding paths through the acers/Japanese maples, but there are wider paths too.
The orange coloured flowers are particularly striking. I think these are azaleas rather than rhododendrons.
But the primulas and meconopsis are putiing on a great display at the moment too.
I think you’ll agree that the acer below is contributing a lot of colour too, with it’s zingy citrus shade and the red of its seed pods.
This garden is like a slice of heaven, the only thing which mars it is the sound of traffic from the nearby road below it. Obviously when the original owners of the garden built their house and garden in this location the traffic was a lot lighter.
There is a small stream which runs through part of the garden, but I’ll leave the photos of that to another post. It was just so lovely to get out and about and do something quite normal but certainly different from sitting at home as we have had to do for so long, and it felt safe.
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.
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!
It’s time for another wee walk in the Balbirnie Estate, Fife – socially distanced of course!
The burn (stream) in the photos is variously called Balbirnie Burn or the Back Burn. It’s a lovely thing but quite devoid of wildlife. The problem apparently is that there is too much sediment in it and not enough gravel for fish to lay eggs in. There was going to be a project to try to rectify that problem, but that may be on the back burner now due to all the costs of the lockdown to the local council.
Like many old estates this place was well known for rhododendrons, there was a bit of a craze for them in Victorian times and Balbirnie has some unusual and very old specimens.
Strangely the reddest rhoddies seem to bloom first, but I prefer the paler colours.
The ferns below must be the most elegant variety growing in the UK. There are big pockets of these ones around the woodland in Balbirnie, I think they’re called shuttlecock ferns.
There was a tall cherry tree still in blossom. It’s a shame that it never gets warm enough here for the fruits to ripen properly.
Walking in a big loop we reached the ‘big hoose’ again and as the hotel is closed for the duration, like everywhere else we slipped through the gardens and I took a photo of the small Magnolia below, I believe the variety is stellata but the photo isn’t as good as I hoped it would be so it’s not that clear.
I hope you enjoyed your walk in the woodlands. It wasn’t as empty of people as you might imagine. We had never seen it busier; usually we have almost the whole place to ourselves but people who never before exercised aroud this area are now making good use of the place. There was even an ex-leader of the Scottish Labour Party out and about.
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.
The burn is fairly silent until it reaches a tumble of stones and old displaced cobbles, evidence of what had been a ford until the rushing water took its toll.
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.
This woodland was part of a Victorian private estate but is now freely open to the public.
It’s not all green!
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!
We visited Threave Gardens during our recent four day trip to Dumfries and Galloway and we got there at the perfect time, just as the rhododendrons and azaleas were looking their best. The nearest town to Threave is Castle Douglas.
It’s very weird but when I was there I didn’t even notice the electricity wires in this photo, or the shadow, too busy looking at the plants I suppose.
This was originally a private estate but I believe it is now used as a horticultural training centre and the students have accommodation in what was the estate house – very nice I’m sure. The house is of course in the Scots Baronial style.
There’s a wee burn running through the gardens in the Japanese section.
It wouldn’t be a Japanese Garden without a bridge and acers of course.
And a wee bit of a waterfall too. It was a boiling hot and very bright day, in fact too bright – not that I’m moaning.
If you’re into gardening you should definitely visit Threave. They have a great plant nursery there with lots of plant varieties that feature in the gardens for sale, so of course I just had to purchase some. In my experience it’s rare to be able to buy plants that you’ve actually seen growing in gardens like this one and it drives me nuts that they don’t bother to make the most of the commercial possibilities. Whoever runs Threave has got it right!
I took lots more photos but I’ll save the rest for another time.
I didn’t take an awful lot of photos when we were at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens the other day but I liked this one of the burn (small river) which tumbles down to the large pond.
There were a couple of swans in the pond and the usual ducks. I don’t remember the swans from before though, so they may just have flown in, as it’s that time of the year.
The rhododendrons are flowering well and they are much further ahead than the ones in my own garden. I suppose my garden isn’t as sheltered as the botanics, or maybe I just have later flowering varieties.