The Scottish Country Garden is nestled in the picturesque rolling hills of the lowlands of South East Scotland. Centred around the two-acre walled garden of a Victorian country estate, this is now very much a family garden which has to compete for time with all the other pressures of a busy family existence. We have no outside help, so the garden has to be maintained at weekends, with the occasional day off here and there! We are like most people – keen amateurs on a limited budget.

Over the past fourteen years we have been here, we hope we’ve achieved some progress – there are more plant species, there are fewer weeds, we have started to cultivate and clear new areas, and perhaps we have established the limits of what we can do with the time we have available.

The garden is very much a labour of love and it demands attention all the year round from when the weeds start to grow in February/March to the pruning of the last apple tree in the early winter. It dictates our existence.

wpid-20130120_091823-1.jpgThis blog has been established to chart the progress of this tranquil and beautiful place as the seasons advance and perhaps helps us justify the hours of mowing, hoeing and trimming we dedicate to it. We are not horticulturalists, we don’t have any national collections and the place is by no means in the same league as the many wonderful Scottish large and small gardens open to the public. And yet, despite this, we think there might be one or two out there who might find our occasional tales from a Scottish Country Garden of some passing interest.

The Scottish Country Garden – in a nutshell

The Walled Garden

20130601-180944.jpgA two acre walled garden, with a large and rather unusual T-shaped English Yew arbour imagedividing the garden into 3 segments. Formerly, this would have been the productive garden, the “larder”, providing the ‘big hoose’ with fresh vegetables, fruit and flowers. Aided by a nearby ice house, to keep produce fresh, the head gardener would have been expected to work alongside the estate farm to provide fresh and wholesome fare all the year round.  The big house is now just a space in the woodland, its location disclosed by some tangled wrought iron fencing and one or two specimen trees still standing proudly marking a bygone age.

While we did have a sizeable fruit and vegetable garden in the early years, this proved very labour-intensive, and we have converted the productive areas over to lawn (for future development) and herbaceous. We do continue, though, to have two small, rather more manageable vegetable areas, and a herb bed.20130601-180303.jpg

Other features include:

-Deep herbaceous borders20130525-201657.jpg around the perimeter incorporating some fine shrubs and trees including a 12’ Eucryphia, some fine magnolias, acers and tree paeonies. New plantings include a north-facing shade border with ferns, foxgloves, hostas and aucubas. Our refurbished south-facing border includes lupins, nerines, Echinacea and eryngiums; in the late summer and early autumn, the buddleias and windfall fruit attract a wide range of butterflies, including peacocks, red admirals and small tortoiseshells.20130609-171634.jpg

-A large range of apple and pear trees, some very old –  free-standing, espaliered, fan-trained and pillar

The Greenhouse-A traditional brick-based, timber greenhouse: an elderly vine is the greenhouse’s permanent resident, accompanied by a Phoenix Canariensis palm and pots of flowering agapanthus from Madeira in the summer. All our annual bedding and most perennials are raised from seed here.

-The orchard – two wild flower areas underplanted with a range of spring- flowering bulbs sheltered by the protective limbs of some very old free-standing apple trees, probably planted when the walled garden was in full production towards the end of the 19thCentury.

In order to create a focal point nearer to the house, in summer 2016 we installed a circular, raised pool in the south-west corner of the Walled Garden with an attractive fountain of a boy holding a fish.

The Pleasure Ground

20130609-172004.jpgSurrounding the walled garden and edging the house is a further two acres of  lawns with some fine trees including cherries, birch, rowans, acers and a young dawn redwood, leading down to…

The Pond

Housing our collection of water lilies and home to a resident colony of newts, frogs and toads, this wildlife pond was originally built with a deep water area for over-wintering ornamental fish.

Water Lilies in the Pond

Occasional visits from heron, mink and possibly otter during the first winter put paid to them, however, and, as a result, the pond supports a far greater range of equally interesting invertebrate and amphibian species.

The Woodland20130609-172955.jpg

A row of huge sentinel lime trees, probably planted at the time the walls of the garden were built some 150 years ago, forms the backbone of our small woodland, home also to hollies, yew and oak species. We have started to plant an under-storey of 20130525-201523.jpgmedium- large shrubs including a few rhododendrons which shine out like beacons in the spring. In time, we plan to plant the woodland with more herbaceous, offering more summer interest.

The Drying Green and the Secret Garden

Located to the south of the walled garden, the Drying Green (formerly known as the Kitchen Garden) is a real suntrap with all the benefits of the heat-retentive qualities of the wall itself. Home to more wall-trained apples and pears and at its best in the late summer, with sweet peas, cosmos and dahlias to the fore.

At the end of the Drying Green, and partly concealed by a mature Laburnum tree is an area currently laid out to grass which we call the Secret Garden. Recently naturalised with scented Jonquila daffodils, this area in time may be planted out with a selection of flowering shrubs of various colours and forms. Around six years ago, we restored the original height of the beech hedge to the south of the Secret Garden which had reverted in past years into an avenue of tall, multi-stemmed beech trees. These were shading out the wall-trained apples and pears growing there and preventing them from flowering and fruiting.

The Glen

The Glen

Looking south east over a magnificent stand of mature conifer and broad-leaved trees, and down to a mist-wreathed meadow, the Glen is our wildlife area, where the natural scenery can’t be improved by artifice. Regularly visited by deer and foxes, and overflown by buzzards, owls and bats, this area hosts a wide range of meadow wild-flower species including exotic-looking orchids.


35 Responses to About

  1. 2ndhalfolife says:

    Thanks for the blog visit. Scotland is the one place I would love to visit–and seeing these gardens only makes me want to go more! They are lovely!


  2. Simply beautiful. Love the wall and the old greenhouse in particular. A real oasis. Thanks for liking my own sunflower posts and do come back. MM 🍀


  3. I love your blog. Although you are a world away from me in central NSW in Australia, your garden has inspired me with my own walled garden ambitions. I look forward to following your posts.


  4. Your garden is breathtaking! What a dream. I imagine if I were there, I would never leave your glen…or maybe your orchard. Perhaps I would become a hermit and take up residence in your ice house (that wouldn’t be nice of a guest, would it? 😉 ). My kids would want to run endlessly, in huge circles, on that beautiful carpet of lawn. Thanks for coming by my blog; I look forward to getting to know yours better! Happy weekend and hope it warms for you soon.


  5. Bren says:

    Thank you for visiting my blog and your likes, it is greatly appreciated.. I love the look of your garden especially the walls.. they add so much character to a garden and give it a theme and nice back drop.


  6. So glad you liked my latest post and good to hear from you. I had clicked the ‘follow’ button but for some reason have not been getting notices of your posts. I’ll try again. Snow is pretty scarce here this year, so really enjoyed seeing your gardens in snow.


  7. tompostpile says:

    Thanks for your visit to thetompostpile. I’ve bookmarked the URL so I can come back and read at leisure. Today is 50-55F, and in 48 hours it’s predicted to be 8-12F. If I hop on it, I can get a few chores in before the ground is hard as iron.


  8. Pingback: Garden Blogs of the Month: January 2013 « Jean's Garden

  9. karmaquinta says:

    I love your blog. Where in SE Scotland are you . . . We lived and worked in Scotland for many years . . . your photos are so charming.


  10. Ruth2Day says:

    A-ha, so now I have read your “About” page and find this photo in your heading is your beautiful garden. Really, really stunning. 🙂


  11. Loving your gardens and blog and became a follower today. I always dreamed of having a walled garden and seeing yours just makes me want it even more it’s just stunning! Thank you for visiting my blog and following me. Sandi


  12. I love your blog. My wife and I are inspired by your garden. I look forward to your future posts. We will be following your blog.


  13. Thanks for deciding to follow my blog. I hope you enjoy it.


  14. I’m so glad you could stop by my garden. Much smaller than yours, of course, but equally well loved. I’ll be following your blog — only wish I could visit the garden personally. Beautiful!


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