That there are Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete in bloom in this photo shows how long I have been meaning to write this (or any, for that matter) post. I half intended to take a fresh, more seasonally appropriate photograph to reflect the fact that it is all of a sudden July, but my copy of the Scotland’s Gardens guide is by now so bruised and battered that it would not have looked nearly so appealing. On second thoughts, such a photo would have amply shown more than words what an essential and useful guide this book has been. If you live in, nearby, or travel to Scotland, and you love gardens, how could you do without this daffodil-coloured tome of horticultural promise?
Scotland’s Gardens is an organisation that allows private and public gardens to open for the benefit of local and national charities, with the help of volunteers and of course the generosity of the gardens’ owners. This year, some of the noteworthy gardens included a 700-year-old monastic priory, the apple-walk at Tyningham House, and an Edwardian Japanese garden, as well as 70 new gardens including Drumstinchall House in Kirkcudbrightshire, a wildlife garden at the Auld Post Office in Caithness, and Carey House garden in Abernethy. Beware – there are nine highly dangerous plant sales advertised, and several ‘Garden Trails’ and garden festivals are highlighted in the guide.
I have been a visitor of gardens all my life, at first in tow of my parents, who taught us to appreciate historic houses and their glorious rambling parklands and formal gardens from an early age. As I chased through the rhodadendrons after my sister, I cared little for the details of a garden but must have absorbed the whole unconsciously. These days, there is almost nothing I like better than to spend time in a beautiful, well-tended garden, and my sister and I often spend pleasant Sunday afternoons touring the gardens and historic houses of Scotland. Scotland’s Gardens is our signpost, a guide to all the gardens across Scotland, the majority of which are not routinely open to the public, set out region by region and detailing the days upon which they are open. There is also an online guide at www.scotlandsgardens.org in which gardens are searchable by date of opening or region.
This weekend, the annual East Lothian Garden Trail is our destination: twelve private gardens across East Lothian, which can be accessed for £5 per garden or £40 for all. For a map and downloadable guide to the gardens, follow this link.
With many thanks to Emma Mason for so kindly sending me a copy of Scotland’s Gardens to review.