Monday, 21 September 2015

Late summer sun, the beach and a garden visit

Autumn is definitely on its way, not that I'm complaining, it's my favourite time of year. There are lots of lovely colours on the trees, a distinct coolness in the air in the mornings along with heavy dew. Fortunately we've had some really lovely weather in the past week or so, not quite making up for the lousy summer but enough to feel all is not lost! 

This rather fine gentleman lives in the field behind the nursery

We have a selection of trees and shrubs sporting some glorious autumn colour. From Acers to Blueberries and Cercidiphyllums in reds, yellows or oranges, this is the time to choose plants for autumn colour. You can see how well they colour and it is an ideal time to plant as the soil is still warm and there is time for the plant to settle in before winter.

Acer capillipes

Acer capillipes, which also has great bark, being one of the Snakebark maples

Another one of my favourite plants. They are great year round plants with pink shaded foliage in spring, white bell
shaped flowers in summer, berries in autumn which never make it to the kitchen in my garden and fab
autumn colour

One of my favourite trees, again lovely spring foliage, an ideal tree for small
 gardens, glorious autumn colour and that elusive candy floss smell as the leaves drop

I am lucky these days that my commute to the nursery is only 15 to 20 minutes and through some lovely countryside, I love it. About five minutes after leaving the house I have climbed out the valley and there is a great view towards Biggar, the Biggar Hills and Moffat Hills beyond. Coulter Fell, Broad Law, Gathersnow Hill, Dun Rig, and many more, I've climbed them all. Luckily if the sky or light is interesting for a photo there is a car park at the side of the road to stop and do some photography.

Morning view of the Biggar Hills on the way to work

Harvest time on the farm at Whitmuir

In the nursery we're still re potting everything before winter arrives, I've finished the trees and shrubs and back working through the herbaceous perennials. It is so satisfying seeing them weed free, re potted and growing in new compost and rowed up neatly. Next year we will have lots of lovely healthy, happy plants for sale.

Looking back across some of the stock beds in the late summer sun

Our day off last week was quite relaxed, the weather was lovely and sunny so we decided to grab the chance to go to the beach. The last few weeks have been wet on our days off or we've had other stuff to do, so this was the day. We went to Niddry Bents in East Lothian with views of Edinburgh and Fife. As soon as Bracken saw we were on the beach he was beside himself, like us he loves the beach. He got off the lead and ran in HUGE circles over the whole width of the beach before chasing sticks in the water. We walked for a while heading east throwing sticks for Bracken, picking up bits of sea washed glass and enjoying the late summer heat. It was good to feel the sea air and get some photos, I do love the beach.

Bracken retrieving a stick

Many colours of seaweed

Looking over to Fife

The soon to be demolished Cockenzie Power station

Marram Grass on the sand dunes

It's my seaweed stick, no it's mine

Sea Buckthorn

After coffee and cake in a wee tearoom in Gullane we headed home but decided to stop off at Inveresk Lodge gardens. A lovely garden in it's own right, belonging to the National Trust for Scotland, this garden has special memories for me. Back in the day before going to study horticulture at college you had to do a years practical experience, I did mine with the National Trust for Scotland on their Youth training Scheme at Inveresk Lodge Garden. It was a wonderful year, not only getting to work in a lovely garden with a great gardener, but some independence, a wage to spend, experiencing lots of new things, meeting new people, it was the mid eighties and I was 16.

The patio, Inveresk Lodge garden

Looking up to the house, Inveresk

The House, glasshouses and yew tree, Inveresk
Some borders are fenced off as they are under reconstruction or being studied to understand the soil and water problems. I enjoyed the walk around the large pond in the paddock full of Bull rushes and with lovely views back to the house and garden. The house itself isn't open to the public but commands a lovely view over the lawns and makes a great back drop to the garden and the huge yew tree still standing in the top lawn. I remember trying hard to get those lines straight in the lawns using a huge, heavy 36 inch wide Ransom petrol mower. Those things were beasts ans would have you through a border if you weren't careful!

Humulus lupulus 'Aureaus', golden hop in the gardens

Inside the glasshouses, Inveresk

Autumn colour creeping into the gardens

We had a lovely walk round the gardens, with me reminiscing, looking at the changes and enjoying the autumn colours and late summer flowers. It is sad to see the gardens not quite up to scratch but with financial cut backs the Trust struggles to man these and many of its gardens. A sad state of affairs all too common these days. Visit the gardens and help keep them open at £3.50, it's not bad in this day and age.

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  1. I just love that shot of Bracken in the water Rona - I've never had a dog that like to go into the sea but all of them loved running around on the damp sand. A nice day out was had it seems.

    1. Bracken will go up to the point his feet leave the ground, and only if there is a stick or ball to fetch back. It was a lovely day out, great to get on the beach and reminisce in an old stamping ground of mine :)