Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Bracken visits Floors Castle Gardens

A lovely day was forecast so we decided to head further east through the borders and visit Floors Castle and it's gardens. I'd heard good things about the gardens and was keen to see them for myself. Bracken of course was enthusiastic as ever to explore somewhere new and have a walk. Although dogs are not allowed in the castle itself, the castle gardens and grounds are all open to dogs and there is outdoor seating on a nice day at the tea room for customers and their furry frends. 

Great sky as we headed through the Scottish Borders
Great sky as we headed through the Scottish Borders

We decided to park in the car park outside the gardens and tearoom and go for some lunch first. The food and service were excellent and we chose the autumnal pumpkin soup with flower pot bread. This it turned out was baked in terracotta flower pots and arrived still in the pots for us to slice as we wanted, both were delicious. We finished off with coffee and cake before heading out in to the walled garden to explore.

Flower pot bread
Flower pot bread

The walled garden covers four acres and is home to a wealth of colour, glasshouses, fruit and vegetables and stunning herbaceous borders. Originally the walled garden was built to supply fruit, veg and flowers to the castle and it still does! There are several long glasshouses which date from the 1850's when growing tender exotic plants were all the rage with Victorians. The glasshouses are open so we could wander through them and enjoy the scent of Pelargoniums and see a lot of indoor plants I used to grow when I worked in the glasshouses at Threave as a student.


Bracken inspecting the Dahlias outside one of the glasshouses
Bracken inspecting the Dahlias outside one of the glasshouses

Some of the glasshouses
Some of the glasshouses

New in the garden is the massive fruit cage built from huge pieces of oak from woodland on the estate. The fruit cage is home to soft fruit such as strawberries, Scottish raspberries and gooseberries. It certainly makes an impressive feature.

The new fruit cage
The new fruit cage

I liked this combination of blues using Perovskia and Nepeta (catmint)
I liked this combination of blues using Perovskia and Nepeta (catmint)

Cutting across the walled garden was this lovely double herbaceous border
Cutting across the walled garden was this lovely double herbaceous border

There were many plants used in these huge borders including Sanguisorba, Phlox, Eupatorium, Perovskia, Centranthus, Geraniums, Heleniums, Actaea and so many more. It was a tapestry of colour, heights and textures enhanced by the arched gate way at the end making a great vista.

Bracken exploring the herbaceous borders
Bracken exploring the herbaceous borders

Actaea in the herbacious border
Actaea in the herbacious border

Phacelia
Phacelia in the walled garden,
loved by bees and a gorgeous colour.
I am definatly going to grow this in
 the nursery next year

If we thought the herbaceous border was amazing, we were blown away when we turned the corner and saw the hot borders. Again a double border, rising up on either side of us in a blazing glory of yellows, oranges and reds. In amongst the perennials are impressive grasses including Miscanthus varieties with red feathery flowers. 

Looking up the hot border towards the gardeners house
Looking up the hot border towards the gardeners house

Yellow kniphofia adding a different texture to the border
Yellow kniphofia adding a different texture to the border

On one side the brick walls of the walled garden add a great backdrop
On one side the brick walls of the walled garden add a great backdrop

Rudbeckia and Helenium
Rudbeckia and Helenium make a great
team from late summer into autumn

Miscanthus putting on a great show with towering Rudbeckia in the background
Miscanthus putting on a great show with towering Rudbeckia in the background

In another area of the walled garden is the tapestry garden. Started in 2016 this garden is a mix of borders divided by meandering grass paths. When we were there it was all blues, whites and pinks with interesting plant combinations. I liked the tall white Sanguisorba used as feature plants through the borders.

Selfie in the tapestry garden, the gardener explores another garden
Selfie in the tapestry garden, the gardener explores another garden

 The Tapestry garden
 The Tapestry garden

Ceratostigma, Wisteria and Nerines
A sheltered corner planted with Ceratostigma, Wisteria and Nerines, can you spot Bracken
has managed to get into another photo?

Through an arch on the East side of the walled garden is the Millennium Garden. This formal garden has been planted in the French parterre style. The initials of the Duke and Duchess, the date and ducal coronet have been created using box and Euonymus. Scottish apple trees have also been planted on the raised terrace in front of the walls.

Yew berries
Yew berries
Leaving the walled garden we decided to do one of the walks around the castle grounds. We wandered through the Star Plantation, a mix of trees and shrubs with clearings and grassy paths which eventually brought us out in front of Floors Castle. Walking along we managed to persuade Bracken he didn't need one of the chickens free ranging in front of the castle. From the front of the castle we followed the signs taking us past the old courtyard and stables and through the woodlands heading down towards the river. We enjoyed the beginnings of autumn colour, found conkers and acorns and Bracken of course had a great time exploring. The path eventually brought us back uphill and along the west side of the walled garden and back to the car park.


Floors Castle
Floors Castle

Stable doorways
Stable doorways

Bracken pretending to be Sir Doglet of the Castle
Bracken pretending to be Sir Doglet of the Castle

Lovely Acer autumn colour
Lovely Acer autumn colour

The childish delight of conkers
The childish delight of conkers

Conker time
Conker time

I hope you've enjoyed a wander round the gardens and grounds at Floors Castle with us. You can find out more about visiting from their website here

In other news

~ our wedding was featured on a Scottish Wedding website and blog We Fell in Love, a lovely write up and great advertising. 

~ If you have a problem with rabbits, have a read at my last blog Garden Challenges - Rabbits

~ If you want to find out what's been happening in our garden at home like our Facebook page 
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