One day a year

Once a year, on the second Saturday of June, my garden is open as part of our local summer festival. I used to open it under the ‘Yellow Book’ scheme as well, but this isn’t really a garden visiting part of the world, and the extra numbers weren’t really worth the effort. Besides, I like people to enjoy the garden without having to pay.

The forecast for Saturday is bad, as usual, but it isn’t raining today, so I thought I would run a virtual tour…
We start at the herbaceous border: It’s a late year, so it’s not at its best yet, with the big oriental poppies only just starting, and the black iris chrysographes yet to make an impact. But the plants have grown enough to hide my beech framework – so that’s one good thing. At  the end of the path, the euphorbia ‘Wallenberg’s glorie’ is not quite as yellow as it will be, while the iris siberica ‘Perry’s Blue’ , which should be a spectacular endstop, appears to have only one flower this year. The slugs must have got the rest… 
Turning right, we reach the steps down to the lawn. I see the gardener has left the tractor out again. I apologise. I shall dock his wages.
Half way down, we shall pause to admire geranium ‘Mayflower’ – blooming in June. …
Looking back up from the bottom, you can see my peat walls to the right, with gentians and primulas, and a lurid orange broom, which is supposed to hide the tangle of the lonicera syringantha behind it.
As we walk down the lawn towards the ruin, there is a patch of lupins flowering on the bank. They grow more or less wild in Scotland, but don’t spread here, because they are too busy battling the mice.

Here’s the ruined sawmill and my scree bed, looking quite colourful, though I say so myself. (If at a slightly odd angle)
Just beyond, to the left, there’s a patch of mossy grass where you can stand and inhale the scent of the yellow azaleas – inimitable and intoxicating.

Round the corner we find the Pictish stone, and what should be a flourishing bed of blue poppies set against the floating white blossoms of the rubus tridel behind. The poppies have not had a good year, and the rubus was so frosted that it refused to start leafing up until May -so no flowers. Not a pretty sight. Better turn to your right.

Here at least there’s a bit of colour, although the primula pulvurentula need to get their flowers bulked up a bit. I don’t think the buds enjoyed being covered in mud when they were submerged in the flood.

Beyond the Pictish stone, lies the pond, with primula florindae growing everywhere. There won’t be much colour here before July, so we can move on….

…although you could spare a glance for primula secundiflora on the way.

Up the steps from the pond, we come to what I am informed is my ‘creek’. It’s much changed from its bare Februrary appearance, with all the primulas that grow in its margins just coming into flower. If you will excuse me, we’ll just pop back in time a little so you can see what I mean
Sorry about that. To continue, before going up the hill, glance to the right….

…where the blue poppies are doing rather better than they are down by the pond.

The upper part of the creek is dominated by primula ‘Inverewe’ and by the big irises, which aren’t in flower yet. So we will retrace our steps and go down the path to the burn

It’s too shady for much to grow here by way of flowers, but it’s always nice to walk beside running water.

And you can shelter from the sun and have a picnic under this beech (or more likely shelter from the rain and wish you hadn’t brought a picnic)

And so we emerge from behind the ruin, past a rather stunted rhododendron decorum, and return towards the house. That brings us to the end of the tour. Exhausting things, virtual tours, especially hanging around waiting for the pictures to upload. Still, there are cakes and teas for sale at the community hall… See you next year.


22 thoughts on “One day a year

      • Thank you Mr K. One day, I might just take you up on that kind offer:} Visiting rights are reciprocal should you feel the need to check up on what we are doing at Bag End.

  1. Fantastic tour of your garden, your primulas are way ahead of mine, I think Inverewe is busy making roots and bulking up rather than making flower buds, hope it flowers next year. Love your creek, what a design statement that is! Good to see that you have so many different conditions to plant in and have made the most of them all. Hope it is fine for you on Saturday!

    • Pauline, no one has ever called my stonework a ‘design statement’ before. I’m thrilled….
      Hope Inverewe does for you. It grows like a weed here, but a lot of gardens (and nurseries) -even locally – find it very difficult. Heavy clay and soaking soil seem to be the answer – here at least. I occasionally fling some compost at it, but I doubt it really needs it.

    • Hello Flower Pot. I rescued you from my spam folder, because if you are a spammer, you are quite a clever one (I never tagged ‘stone wall’). Besides, anyone who sells flower pots in ‘peridot’ shades desrves to be allowed the odd comment.

  2. Thank you for the virtual tour. You have a beautiful garden. I love all the different sections, all the trees and how your garden fits so well in the landscape. The only thing about virtual tours is no tea and cake!! I hope the weather is better than they suggest it’s going to be. It feels more like November than June, here in Wales. Gale force winds and torrential rain. I’m not looking forward to visiting the allotment to assess the damage.

    • Never mind; in an independent Wales it will be sunny all the time (just as it will be in Scotland). Thanks for coming on the tour – and for the generous virtual tip to the guide..

  3. Wow! You moaned until the other day but you have a lot going on instead! I love those bold red poppies amongst the pale blue of polemonium (and those poppies look huge!). It’s funny, you seem to have a lot of blues and all in the almost same shade! Swathes of geraniums, blue poppies, polemonium, the iris… Love it. The orange broom looks just in the right place but it seems you don’t like it, do you?
    I didn’t know azaleas could be so strongly scented, it’s a plant I don’t know very much…

    • You’ve caught me out Alberto – I can’t resist blue and plant far too much of that colour. In my defence, the herbaceous border will be more varied in a couple of weeks. Actually, I love that broom – it does just what I wanted it to do. But it is definitely lurid – you need the occasional bright and glaring plant to draw the eye. Only the commonest yellow azalea (rh. luteum) is really strongly scented. You could try one – although they are mountain plants from Turkey/Georgia and like a bit of damp, but can stand a bit of hot sun. But only for acid soils….

      • Nothing close to damp acidic soil in my garden, I guess I’d better come to Scotland and sniff your azalea lutea directly from the source!
        Oh, by the way, what is that magnificent tree with a pale bark in the picture with the stream and ferns? Some kind of birch? A poplar?
        Blue flowers look just fine but I prefer them with some accent colour, like the red in the oriental poppy border.

  4. Oh well-done Kininvie–so much blue and stone and a beautiful places of water. You are fortunate to have great variety of elements to ramble among and really lots of great blooms in spite of the weather with first prize still going to the blue poppies. Nice ferns by the creek too. I’d love to attend the tour…

    Don’t be too hard on the forgetful gardener who left out the tractor, at least you have some help with the outside work. I hope you can get the cook to prepare something nice to go with your wine after all the tour guests depart.

    • Thank you Linnie….sometimes you can be very kind. You will be distressd to know that the gardener quarreled with the under-gardener over who left the tractor out, and they have both left. Worse, it turns out that the cook was having an affair with the under-gardener, so she’s gone too. At least the butler hasn’t departed, so he can bring the wine – but I fear he is bad at cooking and worse at weeding…..

      • I’m very impressed that the elderly cook who last I heard was about to die was simultaneously having an affair with the under-gardener. Treat the butler well or you will be a terrible pickle with no help at all. And what do you mean by “sometimes” — I am always kind. But now it is afternoon in Scotland and I expect you are busy with the tour. I hope the rain held off and lots of guests appeared and no one fell into the creek and generally all went well. Cheers!

        • The rain held off until just the right time to encourage the lingerers to leave. We had mini-olympics and a baby eagle owl and fossil painting and all sorts of happy things. I especially liked the eagle owl…..
          I’d forgotten the cook was on her last legs….she obviously decided that a toy-boy would give her a new lease of life

  5. I love visiting Scotland through your blog and the virtual garden tour was lovely, thank you, even if I had to make my own cake at the end. I like all your blue flowers although I can’t grow any of them. Actually, I don’t think I can grow any of your plants (grass perhaps) which makes your garden seem all the more magical to me. And I’m a sucker for a burn.

    • Hello Lyn, and thanks for coming on the tour. I loved your website….so different. I have all kinds of questions. The mention of frost sent a shiver down my spine though….

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