A blog about a garden in central Scotland.
The garden was started in 1962 by my mother and father in what used to be the land belonging to an old water-driven sawmill. When it was started, it was nothing but a steep clay bank beneath the newly-built house, about thirty old spruce trees and deep beds of nettles.
The sticky yellow clay subsoil from the house excavations was tipped down the bank and held in place by three stone retaining walls, as shown above. The first shrub plantings were dug into holes in the clay filled with compost. Drainage was not good.
The rest of the garden was rough grass, with the bank on the left thick, ungrazed tussocks. In the centre (just visible) is the ruin of the old mill. To the right runs the burn (stream/river to English speakers) which once powered the mill. Among the spruce trees beyond the bank is the pond which once served as the quarry for the stone from which the mill was built. Everything a new garden could want, except a decent climate and good soil.
Still, over nearly fifty years, we have achieved something, I think. Here is a picture of the garden today (June 2011) taken from much the same spot as above.
And here is the clay bank, now a mix of herbaceous and shrubs:
That’s the bare bones of it. Back to the blog.
Beautiful place; great writing too. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Glad I found your blog! What beautiful scenery! What a great job you have done on the clay bank, you have brought it to life with color! Thanks for sharing the photos! Happy Gardening, Mindy
Hi Mindy – thanks for visiting, and don’t let those bunnies out!
I’ve been getting your well written posts by email but today became curious to know more about where exactly you are. I’d love to hear more about your climate and how long your growing season is. I garden and design in the mid-Atlantic area of the United States. Your gardening experiences seem charmingly exotic from where I sit. I post about my work on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Garden-Design-by-Carolyn-Mullet/174456635929334. It so very different and I think climate is the key. Thank you and I look forward to reading and seeing more.
Hi Carolyn, It’s great to have you visit. You can pin down exactly where I am if you visit blotanical.com and use their rather good blog/map locator. Central Scotland has one of the worst climates in the world (I only exaggerate slightly). Constant rain, cool all year, bad soil. Unreliable winters, late springs, strong winds…..I could moan for a long time. Growing season is roughly March-October, but enhanced by long daylight hours in summer.
Amazing submit thank you! Sent through this iphone 4G
So glad I came across your blog! Beautiful place you have there.
Thanks; Please feel free to visit whenever!
hi, I’ve found your blog thru blotanical…you’ve got a nice garden setting:)
Love seeing what is possible. We too live on 7 acres that is a muck of solid non draining heavy clay. Tough to work in it.
Hello Amy, sorry to be late with the reply – I took February off. I think you just have to learn to live with clay; there’s no changing its nature.
Lovely! And you have the same crazy weather we do only we’re colder than you are! We have lots of Meconopsis, the Primulas love us, and we’re always moaning about trying to stay sane and garden in Alaska. Not enough sunlight I guess!!
I imagine Alaska is very like Scotland in many ways. But at least you have reliable cold winters – so good for primulas!
Hello. Just wanted to let you know that your blog is getting a mention and a link in my post for tomorrow. Be well and stay warm.
Thanks for that, Kevin
Love your blog and have mentioned it on our Facebook page as I’m always looking for things to inspire the French to use more primulas in their gardens as they don’t grow many over here. I was wondering if there was any chance of sending one of your lovely photos of primula aurantiaca to a French magazine for a piece on primulas for damp places. I would of course credit the photo appropriately. Many thanks, Jodie
Of course, Jodie – and thanks for asking
Thank you that’s great. Do you want me to credit to ‘Gardening at the edge’ or shall I put it in your name?