April is the cruellest month

Not really I muse. In the northern hemisphere April is a glorious time of the year with all the promise of summer ahead. This year, however, the weather has been cruel across much of Britain. The frosts I mentioned before have been even harder these last two weeks and much that struggled through to theContinue reading “April is the cruellest month”

Counting the cost

James was looking pleased as I entered the yard the other day. He was contemplating some newly delivered choice plants. The little conifer Pinus strobus ‘Minuta’ is destined for the Evolution Garden and the vines Vitis ‘Strawberry’ are to be planted against the Viewpoint fence. They will probably fruit, and in a good summer shouldContinue reading “Counting the cost”

Biding time

We’re all biding time just now; waiting for warmer weather; waiting to see how the virus responds to lockdowns and vaccines; waiting to pick up our lives again. It’s no different in the gardens; the gardeners all long for normality. But whilst many projects are going ‘full steam ahead’ (see last post), biding time isContinue reading “Biding time”

Full steam ahead

With the garden now open during the week I can finally check out the damage done by the hard frosts of February. Much has gone, but there are surprises. The aeoniums that were put into the polytunnels have suffered;  the Echium pininana that did so well in the early part of the winter are definitelyContinue reading “Full steam ahead”

Travellers’ Tales

Two hundred years ago the walk of seven or eight miles from Crathes Castle to the Castle of Midmar by way of the Hill of Fare was nothing out of the ordinary for Robert Burnett 7th Baronet of Leys, and there are many today who can appreciate the pleasure of such a walk. Robert (1755-1837)Continue reading “Travellers’ Tales”

The Wood Wide Web

Pottering about in the Crathes woods one November day in 2013 I came upon an old larch tree. Always happy to make the acquaintance of an interesting tree I took a photograph and noticed the fungus growing at the base of the tree and nearby. Although the fungus on the ground looked like a cowContinue reading “The Wood Wide Web”

A winter’s walk

It happens that one of my favourite walks takes me through the Craigmyle estate – an estate that has had connections with Crathes since at least the seventeenth century. Since it is a circular walk of three to four miles from my door it is ideal for Lockdown exercise. Craigmyle lies to the east ofContinue reading “A winter’s walk”

Tis the season for quizzes

Happy New Year! Whilst the short term view of the year is alarming, the long view does look more hopeful. Meantime Lockdown has returned and Crathes is off limits for volunteers. The gardening staff are still working, but other Crathes staff are on furlough. The walled garden is shut until further notice. Last year hasContinue reading “Tis the season for quizzes”

Pushing the limits

With the mild days gone we can see how much damage the frost does generally, and how tender plants can sometimes survive in sheltered parts of the garden against expectations. Most of the fuchsias are finished for the year, but will come back in the spring. Fuchsia reflexa in the Upper Pool Garden may beContinue reading “Pushing the limits”