Garden Portrait: Threave Gardens

Threave Garden is part of the Threave Estate and lies off the A75 Dumfries to Stranraer road, 1 mile from Castle Douglas. There is a lot to explore and it has a particularly large collection of northern hemisphere species, planted in the rock gardens, island beds, ornamental borders and woodland. It is also home to the School of Heritage Gardening where students learn practical skills from the head gardener and help to transform the 65 acre site.

(click to enlarge and scroll through the gallery)

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Garden Portrait: Logan Botanic Garden

Logan Botanic Garden is situated at the south-western tip of Scotland in an almost island-like setting, where the warming influence of the Gulf Stream allows thousands of different species from the warm temperate regions of the world to flourish. There are two contrasting areas in the garden: The Walled Garden and The Woodland Garden. As you walk into the gardens from the Visitor Reception area, you have little idea of what awaits you. On the left pathways lead to the woodland, which is no ordinary woodland as it contains Chilean specimens, Australasian collections and a Tasmanian Creek and viewing platform. Not really what you’d expect this far north of the UK.  Walking through the entrance into the Walled Garden lies a complete surprise. Sheltered by 15 foot high walls are rolling lawns, groves of tree ferns and palms, water features and exotic plants. DSCF9015

DSCF9060 It’s all very strange and not remotely Scottish – even the sun is burning down making me feel as though I have suddenly been transported to the southern hemisphere.

There is even a Chusan Palm Avenue

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A formal pond with sculptures and irises

Cordyline Avenue

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Exotic Plants

Towards the Verandah

Asphodelus-ramosus and a bee on stilts!

Asphodelus-ramosus and a bee on stilts!

A Bug Hotel in the Castle Woodland

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And when you have exhausted the Walled Garden, turn your attention to the Woodland Garden where we met an Aussie from Sydney who was astonished to have come all this way only to find eucalyptus and palms and callistemons from New Zealand and Australia. DSCF9240

And before leaving (almost the last people there as usual, but that’s a good thing because then you get to photograph the gardens without people getting in the way) we headed to the Potting Shed Bistro (how could I possibly resist with a name like that? ) for a slice of key lime pie and vanilla ice-cream. We took it out onto the terrace and admired the lovely rock garden with its succulents and slate sculptures for one last time. DSCF9022

I hope you have been as bedazzled by this garden as I was.

More lovely walks can be found over at my friend Jo’s place.

Garden Portrait: Glenwhan Gardens

Glenwhan in Gaelic means “Rushy Glen” or “Grassy Green Place”

One reason for our recent visit to Dumfries and Galloway was the climate. The balmy air caused by the Gulf Stream creates a micro-climate meaning that plants that normally can’t grow outdoors all year round in Scotland, can here. Even sub-tropical species thrive. Around six gardens can be visited around Stranraer on the south-west coast, known as Scotland’s Garden Route and choosing just a couple to visit was difficult. Eventually we decide on Glenwhan and Logan Botanical Garden.

Glenwhan Gardens is focused around a couple of main lochans (ponds) and not only has a profusion of plants, but also a Tree Trail with over 130 different trees identified for the dendrologist (tree lover), and a Wildflower walk through adjacent moorland. Glenwhan Gardens offer magnificent views over Luce Bay, the Mull of Galloway and the Isle of Man, a perfect backdrop for this garden gem.

Setting off around the largest lochan we follow mown grassed pathways, weaving our way between hydrangeas and rhododendrons.

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Then headed off to visit the Dell and on to the Woodland Walk, where we discovered a lovely Buddha and Tibetan Prayer flags.

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The garden is full of winding pathways leading you between trees and shrubs into open spaces where you will find a seat to rest and admire the wonderful views. And the Luce Bay is in the distance – honest!

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Carrying on upwards we make for a summer-house at the top of the garden where you have views down to the Mull of Galloway and even the Isle of Man. There is also an interesting ‘Thinking Rock‘ and more seats from which to contemplate the beautiful surroundings, listen to the birds singing and the gentle buzz of honey bees.

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A beautiful vista – changing hut and diving board

Of course if you go uphill, at some point you need to go back down. There are several routes in this lovely garden to do that. Either take the steps leading to the water garden and stream area with lush plantings of various primula species, hostas and irises, or continue round the back of the shelter and back into the Tree Trail following the edge of the garden where gentler steps will lead to the stream, or simply amble down through the grassy bank and past the Gunnera manicata from Brazil, planted as a massive group where one can walk beneath the canopy and shelter from the rain. Not required today thank you.

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The Water Gardens

Crossing the stream over boardwalks, further steps lead up towards the moorland walk, but we didn’t have time for this today as we wanted to head down the peninsula to Logan Garden, so we headed into the rather boggy area called the Arena Garden, where we found another lochan, a peaceful figure and a colourful and noisy friend.

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Peaceful place to relax and meditate

Exiting the rather boggy Arena Garden we continued around the smaller pond, stopping to read the notice about the Dog grave, before wandering over the link between the two ponds to find a Japanese bridge.

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A last look at the pond and its reflections, then lunch in the tea-room, before heading south.

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Glenwhan Garden is a plantswoman’s garden for all seasons. It  is a peaceful haven with seats placed at strategic viewpoints and paths meandering through the woodland and rock garden with something new around every corner; statues and sculptures, rare plants, exotic shrubs and trees. The ponds are delightful and there is a variety of wildlife, ducks and peacocks, insects and even the chance to see red squirrels.

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More lovely walks can be found over at my friend Jo’s place.

Garden Portrait: Broughton House and Gardens

Broughton House stands on the north west side of Kirkcudbright’s attractive High Street not far from the town’s harbour and Maclellan’s Castle. The house and its extensive garden are cared for by the National Trust for Scotland and the house is of particular interest because it was purchased by the noted artist E A Hornel (one of the Glasgow Boys) in 1901 and served as his home, studio, gallery and library until his death in 1933. To its rear the remarkably large garden for such an urban setting includes the original gardens of Nos. 10 and 12 High Street, together with half of what was originally No. 14’s garden. Divided into several ‘rooms’ it seems much larger than it actually is. Source: Undiscovered Scotland

On a lovely sunny day we went to have a look at the garden. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

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Pathways lead in all directions once you step through the garden gate.

with water features all around, often simple hollowed out stones

Lots of colour

a magnificent miniature glasshouse

full of fuchsias, pelargoiums and a magnificent bottle-brush

and swathes of summer flowers like these astrantias and almost black irises

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The lovely writing shed surrounded by irises and hostas

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and beautiful pink astrantias and deep red hardy fuchsias

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 A wonderful town-house garden.