I visited a number of interesting gardens this Spring, all full of flowering treasures. Below are some impressions from my visits.
Starting nearby at Cambo, in the snowdrop season, apart from all the snowdrops lighting the paths beside the burn running to the sea, there are lots of other lovely early spring plants. They number among them the low growing Scillas and Chinodoxas, through middle sized Hellobores to early blossoming bushes and trees – all good to remember as a invaluable food source for the early pollinators. The individual types of snowdrops grown and clearly labelled are so varied – a chilly paradise for galanthophiles. “Galanthus” translates as “milk white flower”, and their flowers are mostly white, with a touch of green through to yellow markings. Cambo is extensively laid out now but I do rather miss the old tunnel piled up with plants. It is good to see the winter outline of the walled garden, planting structure still stunning and visible with great big seed heads aplenty in muted wintery shades.
A garden I have not seen previously, but recommended to me, was Attadale near Plockton, which we saw during an Easter family holiday on Loch Long, snow on the hill tops and banks awash with primroses. Attadale is a 19th century garden that had been destroyed in a storm in 1980s and rebuilt. It turns out to be a perfect place for many plants native to Himalayas, short of the Himalayas themselves. Some of those beauties were for sale, and yes I bought (only two) a striking Iris Cerice and a lovely Pulmonaria. The latter is different from the two usual/common ones in my own garden which are usually abuzz with insects when not much else available. Attadale has a strong emphasis on sustainability and encompasses natural areas as well as the managed water “features”, and different garden spaces, the area by the house has successional planting, and the kitchen garden goes on well into mid- winter. The views are stunning plus you get the occasional sound of the Highland Railway train. The garden nestles in a mild area, sheltered and warmed by the Gulf Stream and lots of soft West coast rain.
Closer to home is Branklyn, now National Trust, it was started by the Rentons in 1922. Mrs R had, apparently, a good eye for colour, and it has become a Meconopsis haven alongside many other gems, which were new to the UK at the time. The Rentons worked hard to make the conditions right. Their rock garden was laid out to mimic where so many plants now thrive far from their original habitat in crevices and scree areas. The house (not open) is Arts & Crafts in style, both it and the garden are quite hard to find, but so worth it. The Rentons personally knew many plant Hunters, lucky them! I expect they were made as welcome as their plants and seeds have been for 100 years.
Not quite a garden but Scottish Rock Garden Society Show in Glasgow, well, just outside, was certainly good indoor viewing, both for the judged exhibits and the plant stalls. There were lots of delights, including Zaluzianskya ovata, which was grown in Abernyte, a long way from its native South Africa! So many unusual plants or unusual variations on the usual. Perfect plants beautifully set out. More goodies for sale!
There was yet another plant sale at Newport and Wormit In Bloom AGM last month when we were treated to a talk about alpines and their story by Julia Corden, a new Chair of Scottish Rock Garden Society, and the boss at Explorers Garden in Pitlochry. Here is a different plant stall, and another garden in Pitlochry just waiting to be visited!