Friday, 27 January 2012

Dunrobin Castle Gardens

Dunrobin Castle
I had never been to Dunrobin Castle before my trip home to Scotland last year, but since it's a pleasant driving distance from my brother's house, on a picturesque route, I put that to rights.  It is a magnificent property, looking very much like a Fairytale Castle or French Chateau.   The gardens are magnificent, and the views from the Castle, across formal beds and topiary, and out to the sea, are quite beautiful.  When I was a kid, I always misheard the name, and thought it was "Done Roamin' Castle", and if I had the where-with-all to own this little pile, I would certainly be done roaming for good.  I would become a hermit and never leave the place....although on second thoughts, if I had the kind of fortune required to own this place, I would surely need the odd trip to Monaco, or Capri, or Biarritz, just to make sure I didn't start to take things for granted at home!

The elevation of the house above the gardens allows for great views of the formal beds

You half expect Rapunzel to let her hair down from these turrets

The damp weather in these sheltered, northerly climes clearly suits Gunnera - the leaves are immense!

A charming path down to the beach

The potager is highly productive and decorative.  Love the terracotta forcing pots for the rhubarb.

Potted trees are a feature of the gardens

Another feature are these rose pyramids.  We had missed their bloom peak, but these structures still made a good impact 

Low profile apple and pear espaliers formed low hedges.  Their bark was fuzzy with lichen.

Every crack in the ancient stone staircase was bursting with self-sown plants - all looking perfectly happy in their cramped quarters.

What perfectly crisp hedge lines!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A little piece of the mediterranean.....but where?

Where do you think this is? Amalfi Coast? Santorini? Malaga? Provence?

Ok, surely Provence.....makes me think of the Luberon

But look at that massive that makes me think it must be the Aegean.  And I think you only get a sky like that in Greece

Figs - Greece for sure
Hmmm, now artichokes definitely make me lean more toward Italy or France

Hang on.....that looks more like Denmark...or Holland....

Quite clearly Northern Europe
Ok, I'm sure you are tired of the guessing game by now.  All is revealed:

Located just across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh, on a chunk of land that looks like the profile of a scottie dog, in the Kingdom of Fife, Culross is a quaint village to visit.  The main attraction is the charming "Culross Palace", a National Trust for Scotland property, not so much a Palace as a gem of 16th century luxury.  The day we visited last July was picture-postcard perfect, and the steeply terraced garden of the Palace was baking in the sun, sheltered from cold sea breezes, and radiating heat from the ancient stone walls all through the garden.  As you can see from the photos, on a warm day, it feels very much like it would belong on the Mediterranean coast.  The garden is jam packed with huge rosemary, lavender and sage bushes, artichokes, bay laurels, figs, roses, centranthus, poppies, santolina and boxwoods.  The paths are cleverly lined with small clam shells instead of pea gravel, and the chickens were not at all camera shy! Hmmm.....I can smell the herby fragrance! Lovely!  Enjoy!