A passion for plants

It’s a glorious sunny day when I happen upon Philippa and her team working on the plant audit. The Double Shrub Border and the Golden Garden are the areas under scrutiny. This is the penultimate day for the Crathes survey; next week the team goes to Inverewe. They will be back in the winter, basedContinue reading “A passion for plants”

Home and away

Anticipating the excitement of exploring new landscapes is now tempered with the limitations of age; gardens offer alternative and accessible horizons. I was thus delighted to visit three very different gardens during our recent holiday on the Northumbrian coast. The Gertrude Jekyll garden on Lindisfarne is small, unpretentious, and utterly charming. The walled garden onceContinue reading “Home and away”

The hot days of summer

As the first red alert for heat in the south of England is given out by the Met Office, gardeners once more turn their thoughts to coping with extreme weather: winter storms and summer droughts. Scotland is renowned for its cool climate but for how long? For the last decade the head gardeners at CrathesContinue reading “The hot days of summer”

Dreams and practicalities

Repetition is inevitably part of gardening; some of it welcome, some not so. Every year at Crathes we anticipate the lovely blossoms of April and May and the cottage garden abundance of the June border. The brevity of some favourites only adds to their charm and I make no apologies for repeating my favourites. CaringContinue reading “Dreams and practicalities”

A Victorian legacy

There have been glasshouses at Crathes since the mid nineteenth century. A large rather fancy one that used to grace the north end of the Croquet Lawn was demolished in 1884. The present five stepped glasshouses inside the Walled Garden are by Mackenzie and Moncur (M&M) and date from around 1886. The Victorian firm ofContinue reading “A Victorian legacy”

An enigmatic champion

Although it had started off frosty, the first day of March quickly warmed up and people exchanged greetings with comments about spring as they soaked up the sun’s warmth. The next day was cold, windy and grey; winter had returned. The meteorological beginning of spring is indeed the first of March, but the astronomical beginningContinue reading “An enigmatic champion”

Donald far’s yer troosers?

You probably know the Scottish traditional song that begins ‘Let the wind blow high, let the wind blow low’, made famous by Callum Kennedy and Andy Stewart half a century ago, so I’ll not bother you with the lyrics. But it got into my head as I was contemplating the most recent storms, Malik andContinue reading “Donald far’s yer troosers?”

American giants and English oaks

It was a glorious day at the end of 2021 and unusually mild – 12 degrees Celsius. The car park was almost full and families were making the most of the erratic weather walking those trails that had reopened after the storms. A bad back had prevented me from stravaiging about in the usual wayContinue reading “American giants and English oaks”