February 25, 2010

Scotland in May

With a nod to Cyndy at Gardening Asylum who treated us to a week long trip to England in early February (her beautiful photos of exquisite gardens saved my mid winter sanity), I have decided to do a winter escape -- just a one-day hop -- and fly you to:


Scotland in May.  Overnight flight to Amsterdam, Easy Jet commuter to Edinburgh, a drive through the yellow blooming gorse, sheep everywhere in green meadows.  Isn't this much better than the dreary sight out your window right now?

There are lots of castles and moors and even a world class Royal Botanical garden in Edinburgh, but the loveliest setting in Scotland is the garden at the B and B in Bridge of Allan near Stirling.  What mystifies the American gardener is how everything blooms at the same time there --  azaleas and tulips and camassias.  Clematis draping over the high stone garden wall, everything all at once, I think there are roses too.  But it's not the flowers, it's the composition.  Get a glass of wine and come out into the garden to see:

(For the first time I understand what it means to create layers in a garden)

From my bedroom window: in the British Isles no space goes ungardened:

To my eye, our hostess's gardens are so much lovelier than the Victorian set-pieces designed 150 years ago under a completely different aesthetic --- formal, structured, grandiose and highly weird.  Look at the public gardens at Drummond Castle:

And what were the Victorian pruners thinking here?  Did they really plan this to look like what it resembles?  Really?  In her posts at Gardening Asylum Cyndy exhorted us to lie back and think of England.  Well, really:

Scotland is a beautiful place.  You're on your own now, go take the car, zip through the roundabouts, and start exploring the highlands and Balmoral and the lochs and of course spend a few days in Edinburgh.  But don't even think of missing the castle at Stirling or the town at Bridge of Allan.


  1. I'm with you. I prefer a much less formal look than the estate gardens. Your hostess's gardens are more to my taste. And that Scottish highland cow looks mighty tasty too :)

  2. Thanks! That tour waas wonderful. Laughed my head off at the topiary bit.

  3. Your photos are absolutely beautiful!

    Thank you so much for the exquisite tour - I've been in love with Scotland ever since a visit ten years ago, driving around the country with my oldest daughter who had just graduated college.

    I would stay in that B&B in a heartbeat!

  4. Wonderful tour Laurrie! The big formal castle gardens leave me a little cold, too. looks like you found a nice gardening kind of B&B. Thanks for the linkage :)

  5. Wiseacre: the Highland cattle are supposed to be great beef cattle -- tasty indeed.

    Cindee, Amy and Cyndy, thanks for visiting and sharing my Scotland getaway.

    The B&B really was a lovely place to stay, and the hosts were so nice.

  6. Well, I liked both gardens, I seem to be in the minority (maybe it was the topiary that made all the difference, lol).
    I do love to travel,and it is nice to get recommendations from fellow bloggers.

  7. Deborah, I would definitely recommend the B&B we stayed at if you ever travel there. I'm glad we found one fan for the public garden style!

  8. Ok, I am there now...eyes closed, sipping wine...all is fresh and warm and green. :-)

    I love the gardens of the B&B - the composition is excellent and understated. I enjoyed the public garden as well - but for a visit, not to spend long periods of time in. And that was probably the intention, to impress, not to linger.

    Thanks for the trip! :)

  9. Oh thank you thank you thank you, Laurrie! This was a pleasant getaway! I agree, the b and b had a most divine garden spot, but I can admire the castle gardens too. There is a slight suggestive quality to the pruning! HA :-)

  10. Garden Ms. S you make an interesting observation about the castle gardens being for admiration, not lingering. Very true.

    Frances, if your plum yew cloud pruning turns out ok, you might want to try some of the pruning techniques the castle gardeners used here!

  11. Nice castle. :) Can you imagine clipping all of that topiary??

    Those yews(?).. yeah, well.. what can you say? lol

    The B&B has a lovely garden. Beautiful house too.

  12. Sweet bay; maintaining those castle topiaries must have kept a lot of Scots gardeners busy full time!

  13. wow, these gardens are gorgous, shuh lovely colours for whats normaly quite a dull time of year in the garden. Grate photos too.

  14. Stone Art, it amazed me too how everything was so colorful and all blooming at once there. Thanks for visiting!

  15. Hi Laurrie. I just happened upon your blog and got stopped in my tracks with this post from Scotland. WOW! How Beautiful!!!

  16. Kimberly: glad you enjoyed the Scottish tour!


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