New Year Resolutions

As winter takes its turn I see the garden from a different perspective. There are plants that I have never noticed before – how can that be that I have walked passed the Japanese beauty berry, Callicarpa japonica, hundreds of times with blinkered eyes? Now I see that it has delicate mauve berries. I mustContinue reading “New Year Resolutions”

The cycles of life

On a dull day at the end of October I contemplate the trees that are preparing for the coming winter. Large flat leaves become a problem as temperature and light levels dip and winter storms threaten; by dropping them the broadleaf trees can reduce water loss and wind damage until the kinder days of springContinue reading “The cycles of life”

Bedtime stories

During the last few days my garden has been visited by hundreds of redwings feasting on rowans which are plentiful around Torphins. They have flown in from Scandinavia and will move on, probably up Deeside where the rowans are equally abundant. There are other signs of the approaching winter: the occasional frost, the long skeinsContinue reading “Bedtime stories”

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”