The Scottish summer is a variable phenomenon. With weather often more disappointing than the spring that precedes or the autumn that follows, paradoxically it is this very climate that contributes to making Scotland an almost perfect growing environment and home to some of the world’s finest gardens.
Rain falls when we most need it, and temperatures seldom exceed 20 degrees C, and this, combined with approaching 20 hours of daylight in high summer, results in vibrant lushness of leaf and prolonged intense flowering for the entire season.
Here in the Scottish Country Garden, early June sees a mass exodus of summer bedding leaving the Greenhouse for our summer displays.
Hundreds of plants of Dahlia, Cosmos,
Sunflower and Marigolds provide a summer spectacular, while Mesembryanthemum with their dayglo daisy flowers and their succulent leaves underplant the hybrid teas in the rose beds, providing a rainbow backdrop.
In the pond, the water lilies of white, red, pink and yellow start to push their buds above the water-level, flowering continuously from early June right through until the waters start to cool in September.
The ornamental trees in the Pleasure Ground and the woodland, their spring flowering flourishes over, adopt their more muted tones of green, in all shades imaginable. In the walled garden, the fruit trees tempt us with some first indications of what the late summer harvest will bring.
The garden and the Glen are alive with insects, including many species of butterfly including Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Painted Lady. Damselflies and very occasionally a dragonfly overfly the pond like miniature Chinook helicopters, watched from beneath the surface by our resident newt colony. At dusk, the Pippistrelle bats take over the aeronautical displays from the swallows and house martins. The flowers of the sentinel limes (Tilia) disclose their honey-scented blooms and hum, perpetually, from dawn to dusk as millions of bees top up their pollen reserves.
This is Summer in the Scottish Country Garden.