Garden Portrait: Trebah in winter (or A Walk to Alice’s Seat)

Garden Portrait: Trebah in winter (or A Walk to Alice’s Seat)

As the weather hasn’t been too bad recently I took the opportunity in early February to drive the 30 miles or so to the Helford river and pay a visit to Trebah gardens. Many of the Cornish gardens (and this is classed as one of the greats) are famous for their spring planting so I was interested to see what they had to show during the winter months. The colour is not always in the form of a flower – this month highlights the various tones and hues of brown, green, grey.

Starting at the Lawn Path I made my way in an anti-clockwise direction above the wooded valley before going downhill to join the Davidia Walk which leads to the beach, passing meandering streams and peaceful pools; Dinky’s Puddle, Azolla Pool and Mallard Pond, as well as the Gunnera Passage which were just stumps today, and Hydrangea Valley, the colours of summer now a faded, dusty brown.

The Lawn Path
The Lawn Path

Sub-tropical succulents still provide colour and form above the Lawn Path.

And pops of colour stand out from among the greenery.

I must remember to return to this garden in late summer and capture the four acres of blue hydrangeas in flower.

Davidia Walk
Davidia Walk

Stopping briefly at the beach to take a photo or two of the Helford River down the eastern side of the Lizard peninsula, I returned along the Beach Path taking in the clumps of pure white snowdrops planted on the banks above me.

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At Radiata Path I wandered uphill again seeking out the winter-flowering Hellebores and Hamamelis mollis (Witch Hazel) with its spidery ribbon-like flowers and spicy fragrance. The air was pervaded by the heady perfume of the Sarcococca confusa (Sweet or Christmas Box) close to Alice’s Seat, its tiny starry white flowers are almost unnoticeable among the dense green foliage, but boy can you smell it!

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Alice’s Seat

Fox Path and Camellia Walk took me back to the entrance/exit passing by a few Camellias that are already flowering such as the rich red ‘Macdonald’s Seedling’ with its distinctive bright golden stamens.

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The café was still open and serving so I popped inside for coffee and cake and to look through the photos on my camera, before heading back home.

Take a look here if you want to see the garden in spring.

IF YOU ENJOY A WALK, LONG OR SHORT, THEN HAVE A LOOK AT JO’S SITE WHERE YOU ARE WELCOME TO JOIN IN WITH HER MONDAY WALKS.

garden photography: Drummond Gardens

garden photography: Drummond Gardens

OCTOBER is the month to share your favourite gardens.

(This month share with us what is special about your favourite garden. Why do you like it? When is it at its best? And how do we get there. Of course you may wish to share your own garden in which case unless you open it to the public, keep the actual location private. )

Drummond Gardens are Scotland’s most important formal gardens and amongst the finest in Europe. Set below the castle walls and surrounded by woodland, rolling countryside and the Ochil Hills to the east they were laid out in 1630 by John Drummond, 2nd Earl of Perth, but took their present format almost two hundred years later. As you enter the courtyard there is no indication of the grandeur to come.

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A tiny room on the right of the arched entrance is the ticket office – no fancy gift shop or tea-room here. And then you move to the garden entrance at the top of the terraces.

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The design is the Saltaire, the Saint Andrew’s Cross of Scotland, incorporating within the axis the multi-faceted obelisk sundial, built by John Mylne in 1630. The box hedges within the cross contain the Coats of Arms of the Drummond and Willoughby families.

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The sundial shows the time in different countries
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A view of the castle from the garden

The garden is designed to be viewed from the terraces as once you are on the ground the layout is difficult to see.  The red and yellow roses represent the Drummond colours.

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Of course a formal garden like this must include much statutory. Cute cupids, Greek gods and goddesses, animals…

The garden includes fourteen species of Maples so colour in spring and autumn is guaranteed as well as a beautiful copper beech planted by Queen Victoria in 1842 and dozens of deciduous trees and shrubs.

At the rear of the garden behind a wall is the kitchen garden with 21 varieties of apples trained to grow up the walls, fruit beds, vegetable beds, roses, dahlias and a glass house filled with pelargoniums, Achimenes, plumbago and a grape-vine.

And once again I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of colour in a garden this far north and in mid-September.

Drummond Gardens are located at Muthill, nr Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland PH7 4HZ and even if you are not a fan of the formal garden it really is worth a visit to view something so unique in the UK. And if you go to the web site there is a lovely video on the Picture Gallery page which uses a drone to take you soaring above the gardens so you can see it all.

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules 🙂

  • Create your own post and title it October: A Garden Portrait
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in November.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

This is the last week for showing me your favourite gardens, next Sunday we begin the penultimate month of the challenge (how quickly the year passes) with Trees, leaves, woods, forests, and fungi – autumnal if you like though any time of year is quite alright by me.

As usual I appreciate everyone who has visited me this month to like and/or comment on my posts and a special thank you to those who linked their favourite gardens to mine so that we could all visit them too. I really enjoy my virtual garden walks.

garden photography: Bolfracks Garden

garden photography: Bolfracks Garden

OCTOBER is the month to share your favourite gardens.

(This month share with us what is special about your favourite garden. Why do you like it? When is it at its best? And how do we get there. Of course you may wish to share your own garden in which case unless you open it to the public, keep the actual location private. )

Continuing northwards we reached Scotland. A few days later with the weather returned to clear and sunny we discovered Bolfracks Garden on the A827 between Loch Tay and Aberfeldy in Perthshire. A short sharp turn uphill brings you to a gravel courtyard in front of a castellated Gothic-styled white house which is private. The gardens are open every day from 1st April until 31st October between 10 – 6 pm admission is £4.50 for adults.

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The garden faces north and has a fabulous view over the Tay valley and is built on quite a steep slope. Originally a Stuart property it was later bought by a branch of the Menzies family ( in fact you can see the Menzies castle from the grounds) who owned it through the 18th century and built the farmhouse. The Gothic front was added about 1830 by the Taymouth Castle Estate.

Views over the Tay Valley
Views over the Tay Valley

The soil is acid with good rainfall so suits rhododendrons and azaleas and camellias and other acid loving plants. There is a collection of old roses, viola, old daffodil varieties, hardy geraniums, sorbus, hydrangea, viburnums and a wide range of herbaceous perennials. And specimen trees.

Rugosa Rosa
Rugosa Rosa

It is probably at its best in spring with all the bulbs, bluebells and woodland planting, the mainly grass pathways were a little slippery from the recent showers, but with care we happily made our way around the garden.

One of the rose rooms
One of the rose rooms

The dark burgundy flower at the top of the rose rooms caught my eye, thinking it to be a climbing rose I was surprised to discover that it is in fact a beautiful double clematis, such a rich colour. And it complements perfectly the soft pink roses and the ruby-red penstemons.

The herbaceous borders contained many pretty flowers including hemerocallis, and even though many were going over their trumpet-shaped blooms added height and colour. Butterflies and bees were attracted to the attractive sedum edging the border. And there are one or two beauties that I didn’t recognise.

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Herbaceous border
Japanese Anemones
Japanese Anemones

The gardeners have their work cut out on this site, mowing the sloping lawns takes a lot of stamina and you wouldn’t want to leave any tool at the bottom of the garden when working on the upper slopes.

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The woodland garden is entered via  log-edged steps and guarded by a pair of lounging lions. From there you can wander through the Burn garden and in to the Spring garden, not too much to see at this time of year, but the running water of the burn, the little bridges and the turning leaves of the specimen trees and shrubs all create interest.

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A delightful garden. It was practically empty on this day except for a single American lady who was enjoying the planting and two gardeners who were hard at work, one of whom I enjoyed a lovely chat with. Hopefully he will see this post.

Bolfracks is a garden I would return to in the spring if it were not so far away. But if you have the opportunity, then I certainly recommend that you do so. You will not regret it.

Source of information: Bolfracks leaflet.

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules 🙂

  • Create your own post and title it October: A Garden Portrait
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in November.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

garden photography: a water garden

garden photography: a water garden

OCTOBER is the month to share your favourite gardens.

(This month share with us what is special about your favourite garden. Why do you like it? When is it at its best? And how do we get there. Of course you may wish to share your own garden in which case unless you open it to the public, keep the actual location private. )

My next showcase garden is in the north-east of England, in the fabulous county of Northumberland. If you have never been to this part of the UK then you are missing a trick. Combine the beaches and castles along the coast with the sublime countryside and history of Hadrian’s Wall and you will have a wonderful holiday. A place I didn’t manage to visit on my holiday in the north some years ago was Alnwick. Famous for its castle and gardens and as we were going to be driving right past the town on the way to Edinburgh on the A1, it seemed daft not to stop over. So we did. Unfortunately this was when the weather decided to change. From hot and humid days with bright sunshine to dull, grey and misty. And the castle was closed for filming.  Not knowing whether we would return to this part of the country again we took our chances and headed to the garden after spending a couple of hours avoiding the rain by perusing the books in the equally famous Barter Books – a second-hand book store and café in a former railway station. More of that on Travel Words eventually.

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On entering the garden you are automatically confronted by the water feature. Cascades lead up to a walled garden and every 15 minutes the fountains erupt. You can see from the background how misty it was, but fortunately for us the light rain stopped after half an hour so the camera could come out. Although it was September we headed for the rose garden, not expecting much, but we were pleasantly surprised.

A beautiful, slightly odd (fox and monkeys?) sculpture sits under a lovely metal arbour covered with climbing roses.

The roses were covered in rain drops, but most of them held their heads high.

And we came across the beautiful gate that I have used as the header image. Climbing roses complete with thorns and buds and lovely glass irises at the base. Don’t you want one like this? I know I do.

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Heading up the cascades, peeling off sideways every now and then to discover other fountains, raindrops and views, we finally reached the Ornamental walled garden.

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Again I wasn’t expecting to see much in the way of colour, but I was very mistaken. All the colours of the rainbow – and more – were present. Pinks, purples, reds, oranges, yellows, blues, whites and greens. The garden is laid out formally with a centre block where there is a pond crossed by a rill which leads to two other smaller ponds and fountains. The rest of the garden is laid out in beds, often bordered by Box, with pleached trees, obelisks, pergolas and sculptured slate pots adding height.

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The formal beds lead you to explore
Decisions!

Plenty of colour and plenty of benches too. Which was good because it took a long time to explore this part of the garden. Around every corner was a surprise and pops of colour beckoned.

Quirky little sculptures from fairy tales are hidden in the planting. But the fairy tale attic was closed.

And a final look at the Cascades

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If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules 🙂

  • Create your own post and title it October: A Garden Portrait
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in November.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

garden photography: a leaping hare

garden photography: a leaping hare

OCTOBER is the month to share your favourite gardens.

(This month share with us what is special about your favourite garden. Why do you like it? When is it at its best? And how do we get there. Of course you may wish to share your own garden in which case unless you open it to the public, keep the actual location private. )

The next garden I visited on the route up the east coast is not far from Bury St Edmunds – itself an interesting town to spend an hour or two along with its own Abbey Gardens where I did stop to have a look, but was distracted by the small but delightful cathedral.

In true Suffolk countryside you will find Wyken Hall Gardens and Vineyard, home to Kenneth and Carla Carlisle. The 400 year old Suffolk barn houses the Leaping Hare country store, which sells some very beautiful wares along with their award winning wine, a café  and the Leaping Hare Vineyard restaurant.   I can vouch for the Bacchus wine even after it spent days in the boot of my car.

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So, to the gardens which are open every afternoon from 2 – 6 pm except Saturday from April 1st until September 30th. A romantic garden surrounding an Elizabethan Manor House with paddocks containing llamas and sheep, free roaming guinea-fowl and peacocks, a kitchen garden and a hot bed. Let’s have a look around.

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Croquet Lawn
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Rose Garden

Alongside the house are a series of garden rooms which include a herb garden, a knot garden and a rose garden densely packed with old fashioned roses, delphiniums and hardy geraniums. A pergola leads through a blue Gothic gate to the garden pond complete with a decked pier and two Adirondack chairs.

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The Pond and Pier

We sat there for a while enjoying the warm September sunshine before continuing around the garden to the Dell, planted with silver birch and an ancient oak tree. At the top of the Dell is a newly planted copper beech maze  and a nuttery leading to a gazebo where we sat again to enjoy the melodious tones of the large wind chime.

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Gazebo

The paddock contains sheep and a couple of llama, but charmingly on the lawn by the formal garden are two ornamental sheep which I quite fancy. An ancient orchard is occupied by guinea-fowl and peacocks and a kitchen garden supplies the Vineyard restaurant with fresh produce.

Returning to the house you find a Red Hot border with a Corn Stalk gate at the end which was cast from the moulds for the famous railings in New Orleans. The house itself has a copper red limewash which is what ‘Suffolk Pink’ was in Elizabethan times. The southern veranda has five lovely blue rocking chairs brought over from Mississippi and is shaded by columns of Spartan apples, espaliered high so they do not block the view from the house.

In front of the veranda is a Quincunx, five equal interlocking circles which was inspired by a herb garden which Gertrude Jekyll made for Knebworth. In the centre circle is a ceramic fountain designed by potter Clive Davies.

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The settlement at Wyken dates back 6000 years with the Hall dating from 1570 with later wings added in 1630 and 1680 and a major face-lift in 1920. The hares have no significance other than the affection of the family and these magical creatures can be seen pargeted on the house and feature on the wine labels.

Source: Information about the gardens is taken from the Wyken Garden leaflet.

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules 🙂

  • Create your own post and title it October: A Garden Portrait
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in November.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.