Time to saddle up…

…we’re off to the North American Prairie at Cambo, Scotland. Whoa! Sorry, could resist the title 🙂 I also couldn’t resist the trip to see this prairie last September as soon as I heard about it.

Until then I had only associated Cambo with snowdrops and thoroughly enjoyed not just one but two visits to see them last March. Ashamedly, they were my first visits to this very special garden that is just over an hour’s drive from me.

Please do follow my post links above to some absolutely breathtaking displays of snowdrops from my visits. On the subject of Snowdrops, the Snowdrop Festival for 2010, here in Scotland, began on the 1st of February and runs through until March 15th if you wish to visit. The website gives details.

Okay, before I take you on today’s garden tour from Cambo I’d like to chat a moment.

Yep… as the image suggests maybe you’d like to pour a cuppa especially if you follow the links I’m adding today.

If planting combinations with drifts of bold perennials and grasses is your bag then yes… please do saddle up and hold on to your horses 😀

My garden visit this day took me into the walled garden before I came to the prairie area which seriously whetted my appetite. The exciting plantings in the Naturalist Potager just blew me away! Please do follow that link… there’s no chat there just a plethora of inspirational plantings. I really couldn’t stop taking photos and found great difficulty walking away!

I needn’t have worried, as in just a few steps I was walking through more inspiration plantings of cone flowers, sedums, grasses and… I was in the Early Flowering Border. For those following my Cambo weekend you many have seen these photos on Friday but if not please do follow this link too 😀

Okay, I’m keeping the full tour for next weekend… yep… I still have a few more photos to share! For those playing catch-up with my Cambo weekend postings yesterday was the wander through the Cut Flower Area with once again… more inspirational plantings 😀

For the moment, I’m keeping the walk around this ‘traditional’ walled garden back for the full tour so let’s leave it for now. Don’t worry… we will be back 🙂 Following the path outside the walled garden, in just a few steps, I finally came to the entrance of the NEW Prairie Garden and the main reason for my visit that day.

The planting at the path entrance was lush as you can see above. Remember, clicking on images will enlarge them. The Autumn crocus, ferns and… drew me in and had me rushing up the sloped path. I couldn’t wait to see this area. I also had just 15 minutes before the garden was closing. No time to wait then! However very soon I was to stop sharply in my tracks…

This can’t be it… can it? Few plants could be seen from where I stood. Gosh… what a contrast to where I’d been just a few minutes before. With one eye on the time I headed up the path towards the buildings…

Perhaps I was in the wrong bit? Then I spotted a sign on a post. Before I wandered across to read it my eye was drawn along the stone dyke (wall) and to a structure within it. Oh yes… I love that feature!

Reading this sign, I see… yep… I am very much in the right area for this NEW Prairie Garden. I guess thinking back on it now, I should have considered that the capitalised ‘NEW’ on the entrance sign was getting emphasis for a reason!

Whoa… 7000 plants from seed. Okay… it has my attention now. I’m guessing now that what, at first glance, looked like weeds growing through gravel could be seedlings then? Let’s wander down then and take a closer look…

Walking down the path, I then stop in my tracks once more. Oh yes… wonderful signs of a new garden in the making. Can you see what caught my attention?

Yep… garden twine wrapped around a peg in the foreground. Looking up again and across the many seedlings I see that this white twine is marking out paths through the seedlings. Now… this area is becoming as exciting as the inspiration plantings I had just photographed.

Let’s look down again for a closer look at the young plants. They look strong and healthy don’t you think? Let’s hope this very cold winter we have had has not caused any casualties there. That would be a pity. Although, this garden is not far from the coast so fingers crossed all will be fine.

Oh, before we wander off… hold on…what’s this? Some plants are actually in flower. Gosh… I nearly missed this one…

Glancing around the gravel again, I was now noticing bright dashes of colour. To my great surprise, there were actually quite a few plants in flower.

Looking up again, and across this very young prairie to the path I first walked up and the view looks a whole lot better now doesn’t it? The wall from the walled garden is in the distance. I do like the mature trees on the other side and as for the backdrop of the old buildings… I just think they are just perfect.

Once again, my eye was drawn away from the prairie and towards a stone structure. The stone ‘dyke’ seat in the photos below is a great stopping point to look up prairie. I love its simple design too.

Looking up from the seat and to the right I noticed there are more piles of stone. Now, I wonder if they will be used to extend the wall further up or for another garden structure. I guess I’ll just have to make a return visit to see 😀

With just five minutes until the garden closed I had to head away. Yes, I have to say initially I was a tad disappointed at the early stage this prairie was in but that all changed to excitement knowing I had been very fortunate to see it at this stage. I will have my photos to chart this prairie as it grows which is also a huge bonus.

Last glances across this North American Prairie at Cambo reveal the variety of plants growing in it. From the bold, to the delicate and the ones that will attract insects there is a wonderful mix of plants. What did the sign say again… wow… 126 species!

Mossy earth and dock leaves (dockens) were the final (and first) plants that caught my eye in this area. I’m guessing this will be either barked or have gravel covering it on my next visit. Although, perhaps they have other plans for it… we’ll just have to wait and see.

Time up, the garden was closed and I headed away. Now, I wonder what you fav image was from this part of Cambo… mine’s easy. No, its not the seat… your’e on the right lines though! Hands down… it’s the ball of twine and all the promise it holds 😀

Ah… finally you can rest your weary eyes! I’m done now with Cambo until next weekend if you’d like to join me once again. However, if you’ve followed all my links to the inspirational plantings at Cambo and you’ve still enough stamina for more…

I’ve one last (but my no means least) link for you. July 2008, The Millennium Garden at Pensthorpe in Norfolk, England… designer… Piet Oudolf. Enjoy! Oh… forgot to mention… I’ve video from there too 😀

All photos shown above were taken by me at Cambo during September 2009.

23 thoughts on “Time to saddle up…

  1. All of those Snowdrops are beautiful! I love the Potager too. I imagine the prairie will be something to see too once it gets some maturity.

  2. It will be so exciting to back in late summer / early Autumn this year to compare – I can understand that at first glance it may have been a tad disappointing – but how interesting to see it at this stage, I am so glad you wrote this post.

  3. PS – That's a lot of gravel – was it straight on the earth – or have they got a membrane underneath it?

  4. Hi again Karen, it certainly will be very interesting to see this area later on in the year. I guess more photos to come them too 😉

    Yes, the first drift of planting for my eyes to feast on were the dock leaves and from the level of this path I didn't take in there were young plants there. It was just such a contrast of the areas just minutes before. Thanks, I’m glad in the end I wrote it this way too 🙂

    Yep… that certainly was a lot of gravel… guessing they didn’t use barrows 😉 Yes, it did appear to be straight on the earth. I certainly didn’t see any signs of membrane on the edges.

    BTW, It's fun reading the Malvern meet buzz. Poor Helen… you can understand her panic too. I’m sure you’ll all have a fantastic time. I see Yolanda, Frances and Gail are joining you now too. Brilliant 😀

  5. Hi again sweet bay, delighted you followed the links to the snowdrops. It was a wonderful sight 😀

    That Potager was very special wasn’t it? Now, next weekend I’ve an update on this area! Oh… I’m very sure the planting combos in this new prairie will be very special too 😀

  6. It looks like the beginning of something very special there Shirl and as you mentioned it is great that you have early photos, it won't be long before you see a big difference.

    My favourite was the stone seat, I thought that was really lovely, so simple and natural.

  7. What a wonderful tour. And what a great prairie they've begun. :-)Is this close enough that you could visit again before too long, to see the progress? I think by the end of the tour, I'd have been ready for a second "cuppa!" Thanks, Shirl! 🙂

  8. That reminded me of my visit last March to a new nature reserve near me. Very disappointing at first glance with newly cleared areas and fresh growth just starting.

    I really liked the idea natural looking seating though probably not the most comfortable resting places in cold weather.

  9. It will be interesting if you go back to see the Prairie garden once it has become established – No instant reality gardens here 🙂
    The Potager was amazing – I loved the dark coloured Kale.

  10. it's going to be a wonderful prairie garden…I almost got homesick for summer looking at the blooms! I loved the stacked stone seating…aren't people gifted! Any chance you'll go to Malvern? gail

  11. I imagine that the prairie will be spectacular in a couple of years. Will be back with my specs to have a good linger at the links soon 🙂

  12. Fabulous posting Shirl – must admit the planting at Pensthorpe looks stunning… think I might look at one or two of your recommended books!

    I'm really sorry I've not got back to you on a question you'd put to me about pruning your Penstemons etc – it's very tempting right now to go and tidy everything up – I've done things like the roses – the first prune and then will do them again in a month or two depending on the weather… the other hardy shrubs are okay as long as it's not going to be too cold, but the other things which are maybe a bit more fussy I'd leave till the worst of this really cold snap is out of the way… might be a late start to the season I think… last year I was out cutting grass by the 3rd week of Feb… I very much doubt it will be this year 🙁 Hope you're having a good week Miranda xx

  13. Hi Miranda, Thank-you! Yes, I have to say the Pensthorpe planting was inspirational too 😀

    Funnily enough, Head Gardener at Cambo, Elliot Forsyth, studied Continental plantings in Piet Oudolf’s garden in Holland and at Westpark in Munich. I’ll be completely honest and say although I was blown away at Pensthorpe by the shear scale of the plantings which had an open site seeing a similar style within a walled garden was rather special too.

    Ah yes… I’m sure you’ll enjoy browsing these books too… something for a snowy day perhaps? Then again, you might rather just sit with your camera trying to collect photos of your new winter visitors 😀

    No prob about the plant query. I have to say I completely agree with you there and had’nt touched the plants in question. I am wondering now if possibly I have lost an established Bamboo. I’ll post photos at some point to see what everyone thinks.

    Wow… cutting grass in February… that’s not ever been a task for my garden then. I see you have snow again so your lawnmower will be enjoying an extended winter break 😉

    I see you’ve had a very interesting week… let’s just say mine went up/down… including the Aberdeen trek/drive to pick up my Uni daughter 🙂

  14. Hi there Jan, I completely agree there! I’m very much looking forward to seeing this area develop over the next few years 😀

    Yes, I too loved that stone seat. It almost inspires you to try building one doesn’t it?

  15. Hi again Shady, delighted you could join me on this one. Yes, it is and I do plan to return to follow it. LOL… yes this garden touring lark, both virtual and real, can be thirsty work… oh dear… life’s hard eh 😉

  16. Hi again John, yes I’m sure if I think about it I have had other visits like this too. The difference with this one was the contrast between more established areas of this garden and this new one.

    However, after the initial shock I was thrilled I’ve seen this garden in its early stages. It will put a whole new perspective on it on future visits too.

    Yes, not a seat for a cold or damp day perhaps but on a warm hazy day when insects are buzzing all over this area it will be perfect 😀

  17. Hi again Denise, oh yes… I plan a few revisits. I’ll have to take copies of my photos with me next visit to this area so I can attempt to repeat the views. Never thought of that then… but I did have one eye on the time!

    Oh… I loved the dark Kale too. However, I can’t stress how incredibly stunning this area was… all change now though! I’ll tell you all about it in the full tour next time 😀

  18. Hi again Gail, I’m expecting it really will be! Oh sorry… summer will be with us before we know it won’t it? I do like late Spring though. Loved the Witchhazel and words for your Mum 🙂

    Yes, I have always loved stone dykes (walls) and that seating just looks perfect there… I agree some people are very gifted. It is amazing what you can do with a few plies of stone.

    A few years ago I persuaded a farmer to sell/deliver me some he had dug up in his fields. We ‘hand’ picked them straight into the bucket of a digger. What fun it was… although a bit dangerous too I guess as we climbed around the very large pile he had. I couldn’t stop smiling as the stones were gently lowered on my driveway… one of the best purchases for my garden. I persuaded him again two years later too 😀

    Sorry Gail, I won’t be going to Malvern. I’d love to have come down especially when yourself and Frances are going to be there. It would have been great to see Yolanda again too. As for the UK bloggers I haven’t met any so that would have been good also. Unfortunately this isn’t the best time for me to be away as my daughter is sitting the most important exams of her school years and the ones that will determine if she can get into the course at Uni she would like to. She hasn’t kept well for over two years now and the silent migraine that she was diagnosed with last summer is no longer silent and some days she is unable to get to school. I want to be at home to take her out for breaks etc if she needs them 😀

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