|Alliums and box|
As I sit here at the end of September with the rain going horizontally past the window and the wind blowing again, it's nice to look back on some of our trips we did during that lovely summer. It all seems so long ago and I was searching in my June photograph folder for these photos and in fact we visited in May! It's many years since I visited Priorwood Garden, easily in the earlier 90's if not before that, it was certainly when they were doing great things with dried flowers, which I was into at the time. Melrose isn't too far from us now, and a lovely drive through the borders to get there, and so it was we decided to head there on our day off.
|Box and Euphorbias make a great early summer combination|
Like many National Trust for Scotland gardens, cut backs especially in staffing are all too evident. The attention to detail when a garden has enough gardeners sadly is not there any more. There was plenty colour and interesting plants when we visited and the orchard with all the apples trees was lovely to wander through. No flower shop though despite the title! Plus point is the garden is free so it is nice to pop in and have a look around when you are visiting Melrose. As someone who started their horticultural career with the NTS is it so sad to see their gardens in decline, both in maintenance and planting.
|Melrose Abbey makes a lovely backdrop to the gardens|
Set in two acres and sitting in the shadow within the precincts of medieval Melrose Abbey, the gardens are mainly contained by high, old stone walls and the orchard area may have been originally part of a kitchen garden for the monks of the Abbey. As you enter the gate from the road, you walk through some lovely matures shrubs, including tree paeonias. From here a seiries of beds are planted along the front of the building where plants are grown for flower cutting. Linked by winding paths the beds become perennial borders dotted with Box. These provided an excellent backdrop for lime yellow Euphorbias, pink Persicaria bitstorta 'Superba', Alliums and other early summer flowering perennials.
|Euphorbias and Persicaria bitstorta 'Superba'|
|Tree Paeonia flowers|
|A great specimen Rheum in full flower|
By far the largest area of Priorwood is the orchard which contains many historic apple trees and includes over seven varieties of heritage apples. With the Abbey in view and paths cut through the long medow grasses, this area is lovely to wander through, especially when the apple trees are in full blossom as they were when we visited. The meadow and blossom provides plenty food and shelter for bugs and beasties and keeps safe old varieties of apples that could easily be lost.
|Grasses in the orchard at Priorwood|
While in Melrose it is worth walking a few hundred yards down the road to visit Harmony Gardens. Behind tall stone walls opposite the abbey, this hidden garden is wrapped around Harmony House, now owned by the NTS. The house itself was built in 1807 by Robert Waugh who made his fortune in Jamaica. A native of Melrose he eventually returned to his house and settled there. The house changed hands a number of times before being bequeathed to the National Trust in 1996. The grounds comprise of 3.5 acres of lawn, borders, fruit and vegetable beds and greenhouses.
When we visited in May the gardens were ablaze with deciduous Azaleas and early summer perennials. The path to the right of the entrance takes you between the high stone walls on the right and tall azaleas on your left. Behind box hedging there was a lovely colourful mix of Trollius, Welsh poppies (Meconopsis cambrica), wall flowers and bluebells.
|Blue and pink bells!|
Walking up towards the house, you get glimpses of it through the tall Rhododendrons, eventually emerging onto the gravel in front of the house, here the views open up over the lawns towards the veg garden and over the wall to Melrose Abbey. To the west of the house is a sunken lawn that was once an area for bowls, tennis and badminton.
Heading to the east side of the garden through some mixed borders you come to the fruit and vegetable garden, sheltered by the boundery walls. Sadly visitors aren't allowed access tot he glasshouses.
|Tulips and wall flowers giving a real splash of colour|
Continuing around the gardens, heading from the veg garden to the house is a lovely area under some copper beach, carpetted with bluebells and wild flowers in the dappled shade.
We finished off our visit to Melrose with lunch (there are plenty good places to eat in the town) and a wander around some lovely shops before heading home.
Walks and Places of Interest
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