Scottish Garden Visits (2)

Imagine a sloping field with cattle grazing… a stone wall surrounds it. Imagine this field twelve years on as a garden bursting with mature plants and overflowing with inspiration. It isn’t a dream…

Parleyhill Garden in Culross opened its gates as part of the Yellow Book of Gardens opening for Charity on July 19th. Wow… and what a gem of a garden this was! What a contrast to the formal gardens of Kinross House on my last visit but both gardens boasted equally stunning plants and planting in their borders.

Sculptures also appeared in both gardens but from quite different eras. Works by local artist Julia Francis were being exhibited in this garden and will be present throughout the season. “All of Julia’s work draws inspiration from the ‘spirit of movement’ as observed in the medium of dance and in nature.” Julia was present in the garden to chat to visitors about her work too.

Topiary and seating areas were also included in both gardens. I liked the contrasts in location for the seating throughout this sloped garden. Enclosed or with a view down to the River Forth, corner spots or simply surrounded by plants.

One of my favourite seats in Open Gardens visits are the ones just inside the garden gate with a table where (usually) ladies sit to take the entrance fee. A sun hat and umbrella are often close by … as are the owners. It is great to be welcomed into the garden.

We briefly spoke to the owner… with the fine Scottish name of Ronald McDonald! I asked him if it was okay to take photos and put them on my blog and he was fine with it. I have never taken photos on Open Garden visits before and would never dream of doing so without asking the owners.

There is great restraint on my part here not to chat endlessly about what parts caught my eye in this garden. Instead I’ll invite you to share your impressions of it.

Okay… just a couple of things I’ll mention… masses of bees were on a good clump of sea holly flowers. I spotted the first daylily I have ever bought (recently) in a border… argh… I think I’ll need a different location for it… more space required! I also spotted drumstick alliums in flower… mine weren’t. One week on and they are now but I guess the micro climate of the river and walls brings plants on there.

We parked in the village for our visit and walked along the water/railway path before winding our way through the narrow, cobbled streets and up past many pretty cottages with pots and baskets of colour decorating them. An added bonus of visits such as this is you discover hidden parts of the towns and villages so full of character.

Culross (pronounced coo-russ) has one well known building of character… National Trust Property Culross Palace which is well worth a visit. Now, Culross Palace also has a very steep, terraced and interesting garden but sorry by the time we left Parleyhill it was closed… another day perhaps.

As promised I do have some bird and wildife action for next time. Oh… I was so tempted to upload today’s video footage and post it instead of this posting tonight… but Mel’s comment earlier expecting to see a garden visit tonight has kept things in order! Thanks Mel… I’ll have more time to be creative with my video footage now 😀

Finally, I would like to thank Ronald and his wife for sharing their garden so others can enjoy it and I can share it with you. I also have to commend them in all the work they have put in and no doubt will continue to do. From a field to this… what an achievement!

All photos above were taken on July 19th 2009.

15 thoughts on “Scottish Garden Visits (2)

  1. What a beautiful garden! I love the sculptures too. The artist is really talented. That topiary has a unique shape. It must have been there for a long time. The photos are so wonderfully taken. Love them all!

  2. What a wonderful garden – I particularly enjoy the thought that has gone into the seating areas.
    Thanks for sharing this garden with us Shirl.

  3. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing this amazing garden! I so respect your asking the owner before taking photos. Love the sculptures too.

  4. Oh be still my heart. These photos are just magic. I love the overall views of the garden. Seeing things in their rightful space. The close ups are nice too but just think of having 12acres to be able to do what you would like to do.

    The bench with the sheared yews behind it is just wonderful. No wonder it caught your eye.

    The little village was well worth the walk too. Lovely place.

  5. Hi there everyone, delighted you all enjoyed this visit. Yesterday I made a return visit to Culross Palace garden to see it at this time of year. It was magical. I’ll keep this visit for a rainy day 😉

    Stephanie – Yes, it really was and I had many more views I could have shown. So much interest, thanks glad you like the pics 😀

    Karen – You are most welcome. Yep… I agree completely. Perhaps I should have taken shots from the seat…doh… I’ll just have to visit again 😉

    Helen – You are most welcome, so glad you enjoyed my brief view of it 😀

    Valeri – Excellent… Culross Palace is quite special. I revisited yesterday and took a walk around the garden and I agree it too is spectacular especially at this time of year. You’ll see these pics another day! You are most welcome 😀

    Carol – Thank-you, I am thrilled that I can share these visits. I just couldn’t have taken sneaked pics. Yes, the sculptures fitted in beautifully with the movement in this garden. I hope to share a few more visits of quite different Scottish Gardens over the summer 😀

    Princess – Thrilled you enjoyed them so much… I’ve more for another time 😉

    Liz – Thank-you, it was wonderful and an absolute credit to the owners 😀

    Lisa – I am thrilled you have enjoyed them. From a field to this in twelve years! I can’t imagine what you could do with 12 acres. There were so many vantage points for photos here that I may just have to return one day. I had the same problem yesterday with another garden in the village. Yes, the bench hedge was very creative wasn’t it? Ah… looking forward to more eye catching visits to other gardens over the summer 😀

  6. A lovely garden Shirl, the owners must be very proud of it and they have made it really beautiful. I love sculpture in large gardens and always think it a real bonus to come across it unexpectedly. Sorry to miss commenting on your London post, I have just enjoyed looking through it, London has never drawn me but I can see why others are attracted and there is certainly plenty to see.

  7. Such a beautiful garden! I'm impressed. One would never think the garden is on a slope. I have to remember this garden when visiting Scotland next time.

  8. Hi Shirl, I love the garden (and sculptures) in this posting. Which always reminds me that I should visit Scotland a lot more frequently than I do. Good stuff. Hope you're well. Andrew

  9. Hello Shirl,
    Thank you for the beautiful pictures and comments re our garden. We enjoy sharing the gift of our space with all who visit and feedback such as yours is very much appreciated. We are so glad you enjoyed our creative spaces and Julia's new an innovative sculptures – she intends at there to be at least one more for next year.
    We open from April through to September (when at home)and support the British Heart Foundation via our honesty box.
    do come again!
    Ronald & Betty McDonald

  10. Hello there Elizabeth, many thanks for leaving a comment! For any others reading my comments Elizabeth and her husband Ronald own this garden 😀

    I am delighted that you have discovered my posting and are happy with my pictures. All your feedback is well deserved and I do hope you continue to get it!

    You are so right… your garden is one fantastic creative space and there are so many more views I could have shown and chatted about… but my posts can get on the lengthy side so I have to try to cut back a little. It was so hard choosing.

    I returned to Culross Palace garden later that week and got some great pics and will post them perhaps next month and will add a link back to this posting with that too.

    That’s brilliant that your garden will see more of Julia’s work. During our visit I am guessing it was yourself that spoke to me re the grass being moved for the sculpture at the bottom of the wall steps. I agree with you on that one. I took a few pics and it was the one with this most movement I loved the best.

    I am delighted to hear you are open for a long spell each year although I can imagine that must be quite a bit of work for you too. I did want to mention that in my posting but I didn’t have enough details.

    I was concerned about advertising your honesty box too. How exactly do visitors visit your garden? Do they phone to ask or just wander by and if the gate is open just come in? I, for one, would love to come again but would be a bit apprehensive about just walking in. Please don’t leave me info here you don’t want to be public… perhaps you could email me instead.

    Hopefully I will see you both again, meantime I wish you continued success with your wonderful garden 😀

  11. Hi there Jan, Barbara and Andrew 🙂

    Jan – Yes, I agree it certainly was and I do believe the owners are very proud of it. Yes, I agree the sculpture was a bonus to see. No probs on back postings… I know you have many you follow and can completely understand how much time it must take you. Yes, there is definitely lots to see in London but being a country girl it is a huge contrast and I couldn’t ever imagine living in a big city. It’s great for a visit though 😀

    Barbara – Oh yes… I could well imagine you enjoying this garden. I wonder if you have gardens like this in Switzerland. You do feel the slope when you walk about and notice it more on other views of the lawns but the plants in the borders really draw you in so you tend to forget you’re on a slope. I do hope you can visit next time 😀

    Andrew – Hello again, I hope you enjoyed your blog break. I must pop by soon and see what you’ve been up to. Once again, I do hope you manage to visit this garden on your next visit too… it really is a beauty. I could see you enjoying the rest of Culross too… including the tearooms 😉 I’ve pics of a return visit to see the Palace garden which I’ll post perhaps next month… it has such fantastic character too 😀

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