Back to the iron Age, rhubarb and Summer flowers

The very variable weather continues, no hot early summer weather as we've had the last two years. Though I have to say my nerves and stress levels are in better shape as I've not had to battle to keep the plants watered as our water supply dries out! Still plenty summer to go so who knows what will happen, for now I could do without the wind damaging everything. Work in the nursery continues. We've started this years propagation, not that it ever really stops and Isabel and I are nearly finished the stock beds, which is exciting. Up until now I have done the great stock bed tidy and pot my self and it takes until September! This year I got Isabel to start at one end and me at the other, and in between everything else that needs done we are on course to finish in a couple of weeks which will be amazing!

The green roof on the bug hotel

We often get asked for suggestions for very short ground cover plants. This can be for planting between paving stones to soften the hard landscaping, in gravel again to soften the area and provide plant interest, on sloping ground where it can be challenging to grow plants and covering the ground with low growing ground cover solves the problem. These plants can also be used along the front of borders, edges of paths and in parking areas where you park your car, again for biodiversity and to break up hard landscaping. Many of them can take some footfall and some like the thyme smell lovely too. They are great for bees and insects and provide a home for all sorts of important bugs and beasties as they provide cover close to the ground. The first three photos show plants I have planted under the garden railway, where there is not much headroom, but they cover the ground and provide interest. Plants to consider and which you can find in our stock beds and sales area include:

Leptinella potentillina
Leptinella squalida 'Platt's Black'
Cymbalaria pallida
Acaena tesca
Acaena inermis 'Purpurea'
Acaena microphylla
Acaena minor var. antartica
Thymus herba barona
Thymus 'Bressingham'
Thymus serpyllum var. albus

Acaena tesca

Cymbalaria pallida

Leptinella potentillina

Thymus herba barona

Thymus serpyllum var. albus

Low growing plants in the herb garden

Acaena minor var. antartica

Acaena microphylla

The front garden this week, enjoyed by me, Poppy and Maisie while I was weeding and planting annuals

Delphinium Black Knight Group

Iris chrysographes 'Black Knight'
and Luzula nivea

Cephalaria gigantea

In the back garden this week, time to get the cacti and succulents out of their emergency accommodation in the potting shed after the greenhouse was destroyed in January. The wee ones fitted on the new shelves and the the large ones are dotted around, but I need to think of something more permanent for next winter. Maisie as ever is always there somewhere 😃

Kale and lettuce in the herb planter

Colour in the back garden

Rose 'Constance Spry' is beautifully scented

Viola cornuta 'Alba'

Bought 7 years ago on a February break to Northumbria, staying alongside Hadriens wall, its taken 7 years to finally have a home, a space and to get these limited edition prints framed. Even more poignant now that the famous tree at Sycamore Gap is no more. We walked to Sycamore gap on that holiday and saw these prints in the shop at Vindalanda afterwards. Now they have the perfect space and we can enjoy the tree in its four seasons and remember a great holiday.

Early morning coo nonsense

Some views of the nursery gardens over the last week. Very little sunshine and cold temperatures over the past couple of weeks have not stopped the plants from living their best lives. Some have done brilliantly with the extra rain, especially the ragged robin and ox eye daisies in the meadow which are stunning but so difficult to capture in a photo. The hostas are lush, I was worried the extra slugs with the wet weather would cause problems this year but they are looking splendid. The new grass path is growing and I'm hoping to get a first cut off it when I can next get the grass cut! Then we can open the path once the grass is a bit thicker, which will be exciting. The rain has meant I haven't had the stress of keeping all the plants in the sales area and stock beds watered, this time last year, we'd had very hot temps for a few weeks and the water supply was getting low and the plants struggling, it was very stressful!
Always looking for positives 🙂

Propagation material flowers in our watering can vases

Meconopsis 'Linghom'

The wildlife pond

The wildlife pond

Lysimachia and Euphorbias brightening up the bottom terrace gardens

The shade border

The bottom terrace

The herb garden

The scented garden

A fabulous day in Perthshire today to visit the new Scottish Crannog Centre. Following the devastating fire that destroyed the amazing crannog that sat out in Loch Tay the Crannog centre found a new home on the north of the loch where they have built 7 ironage roundhouses. They are about to start building not just one but three crannogs out in the loch. After a stop at Kenmore to exercise the mouse dog on the loch edge we arrived at the centre where we took the tour of the Crannog museum, guided by the entertaining John who took us from the ice age to roman times and through all the fascinating exhibits, many of which had been found in Loch Tay itself. We were then taken outside to visit each round house for an interactive iron age experience around open fires. We learned about cooking and baking in the iron age and sampled spelt bread cooked on the fire and honey butter, delicious. Next we experienced metal working around a forge before moving on to the wood turning round house. Here they only use local native wood to make all the benches we’d sat on in each round house and tables and other items needed in the museum. Next was the weaving round house where we learnt about dying linen and wool, spinning and weaving the flax and wool and then weaving it to make clothing and blankets. Lastly we sat in the main round house, a beautifully woven structure from hazel branches. This museum is well worth a visit, with a café and shop on site and dogs are allowed in the outside part of the museum. If you like interactive museums and iron age history and archaeology its well worth the trip. I cant wait to go back and visit the Crannogs when they are built. All the staff, dressed in their iron age clothes were very helpful, informative and loved working there. We meandered home via Loch Lubnaig, one of my fav places to stop but sadly too busy these days and Callander for a chippy tea by the river in the sun.

The acer in its new home in the dolls house garden

Sooooooo, its been over two months since I last painted and you can tell!! Life always gets in the way of the things you'd rather be doing but hopefully I can get back to painting more now, we shall see, I have missed it.

Semi abstract flowers on a hillside

Useful plants from the garden – our rhubarb plants have produced another picking so I made a healthy rhubarb crumble. I do love a crumble and this new to me recipe was great and healthy too. David and I are improving our eating habits but don’t want to miss out on our favs (I have lost one and a half stone!) I mixed in some lemon thyme from the herb planter in the back garden to add to the flavour which worked well. I have three rhubarb plants in our tiny fruit garden here at home – one is from my Grandad’s allotment in Leith which I used to visit with him as a child, another was one of the only remaining plants in the derelict property my kids dad and I bought to build a house around and the third is Rhubarb ‘Champagne’ which I’ve had for over 20 years. They spent 10 years in buckets as I moved around rental properties until David and I bought our house two years ago, so they have done incredibly well to survive!

Lemon thyme

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  1. I love the look of your herb garden. Good to hear you've had some rain at least. Here it's been a windy June too, with a few rains which is great. The garden looks so much better.

    1. We've had a few very hot summers in recent years which have been stressful to keep the plants watered, this year it is so cold and very wet, even for Scotland! We are fed up and its not good for business :( but the plants at least seem to be enjoying the cooler wet weather

  2. Hi there. Nice to see another gardening blog.


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