Floors Castle, near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, is a magnificent old stately home sitting in splendid grounds. It has an excellent tearoom, garden centre and adventure playground, and the gardens round the back of the house are a delight to wander round. The archway shown below is one of the many attractive features of Floors: a profusion of greenery cascading over a stone wall leading into a paved courtyard.
Today’s choice of photo was inspired by the book mentioned in my previous post. The garden shown below is Glenwhan, a beautiful retreat in the quiet area of Galloway, on Scotland’s south-west coast. To my mind, a peaceful garden features a predominance of green, enlivened with small splashes of colour. There’s something soothing about green foliage, in its vast array of shades and textures. Benefiting from a relatively warm, wet climate, Glenwhan is a haven of lush, restful greenery: a refreshingly peaceful garden.
When I finished reading ‘Peaceful gardens’ I felt a sense of disappointment. I turned the page thinking there was more to come, only to find I had reached the end. I got this book out of the library, but have enjoyed it so much I’d like to buy a copy to read again.
‘Peaceful gardens’ is what might be described as a coffee table book, full of lovely photos with detailed captions, interspersed with more general text about gardening. Although the front cover is not terribly appealing, the illustrations inside are quite the reverse.
The author, Stephanie Donaldson, was Gardens Editor for Country Living magazine for many years, and has written a number of other gardening books. Although clearly a knowledgeable gardener, her writing style is easily accessible to novice gardeners like myself. I’ve often been put off gardening books by too much jargon and technical detail; ‘Peaceful gardens’, by contrast, introduces ideas and tips about gardening almost without the reader noticing they’re being instructed. That’s my sort of gardening lesson.
The book is divided into three main sections: ‘peaceful shapes and spaces’, ‘tranquillity for the senses’ and ‘scent and sound’, all beautifully illustrated with photographs giving clear examples of what’s being described in the text. There are ideas and suggestions for rural and urban gardens, although the book struck me as being more heavily weighted towards rural or semi-rural gardens that might have space for a variety of features in versatile areas. The text is well worth reading, and nicely written, but even if all you did was look at the pictures you could easily find inspiration and joy in its contents.
Each year, at the start of spring, I have an urge to do something in the garden. I want to see things growing after the long winter months, but my enthusiasm often wanes rather quickly when tasks seem too daunting or the weather’s not conducive to pottering around outside. Perhaps this year ‘Peaceful gardens’ will provide the impetus I need to fulfil some of my gardening dreams in the months to come.
We had quite a bit of snow yesterday morning, but in the afternoon the sun came out and brightened things up. I expect the birds enjoy a bit of winter warmth on their feathers, just as humans appreciate it against the skin.
It’s cold and a bit snowy in sunny Perthshire this morning and I feel in need of a warm holiday memory, so here are some potted plants on a rooftop in Mallorca.
This is our neighbour’s Virginia creeper, seen from our side of the dividing wall between the gardens. Each autumn we get a splendid display as the leaves turn from a beautiful glossy green to magnificent fiery shades. On a sunny day, as it was yesterday when I took this picture, the whole wall seems to glow.
I was on holiday last week in the Scottish Borders, and took this photo on a hazy autumn morning as the River Tweed flowed through the town of Kelso. Going by the water level, I suspect flooding could be a problem in times of heavy rainfall, but houses were well set back from the water, with long sloping gardens providing some protection.