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    Great Scottish Gardens & Parks: Threave Gardens…

    .

    Threave Gardens Mr Fox © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens Sculpture – Mr Fox © 2015 Scotiana

    Thank you Mairiuna for such a lovely virtual visit of the Kennedy Castle Gardens in your most recent article and I’m pleased to pursue in this series on Great Scottish Gardens and Parks, by opening the gates of the spectacular gardens of Threave Estate.

    Ready ? Follow the guide! :-)

    google-map-threave-gardens-scotland

    In the care of the National Trust for Scotland, the Threave Estate, House, Gardens and Countryside are located off the A75, one mile west of Castle Douglas in the Dumfries & Galloway region.

     

    threave-garden-and-estate-visitor-centre

    Threave Gardens & Estate – Visitor Centre © 2015 Scotiana

    Acquired from the Gordon family in 1957, the 1,600-acre estate supports farming, forestry, horticulture, wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation. There is also a visitor centre and a plant centre. The estate restaurant and shop completes a great family day out.

     

    Threave Gardens Information Board

    Threave Gardens – Information panel © 2015 Scotiana

    If you want to avoid disappointment, be sure to spare enough time in your day to explore the magnificent gardens created over the years by students of the Trust’s School of Heritage Gardening, as each minute spent within the estate is a beautiful experience!

     

     

    Threave Gardens Information Board

    Threave Gardens – Close up – Information panel © 2015 Scotiana

    As you can see on the above map, there are many different areas to discover:

    ·         Walled garden (originally built to provide Threave House with fruit, vegetables and cut flowers.)

    ·         Peat garden

    ·         Rock garden

    ·         Patio garden

    ·         Rose garden

    ·         Woodland garden

    ·         Pond and waterfall

    ·         Discovery Garden

    ·         Secret Garden

    ·         Glasshouse (built in 1997 with temperature zones)

    ·         Cool House ( shelters rhododendrons from Asia )

    ·         Tropical House (contains tropical flowers such as orchids, bananas and bird-of-paradise plants.)

    A wide range of plants and wildlife can be seen all over the estate.

    Threave Gardens  Sign Post

    Threave Gardens – Sign Post © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave is a teaching garden with a very wide range of attractions to interest every gardener.

    It has been developed since 1960 with the needs of students at the School of Heritage Gardening, garden-owners and tourists all in mind.

    Daffodils in spring, roses and colorful herbaceous beds in summer and dense heather gardens in autumn. There is a beautful Victorian-style conservatory in the working walled garden.

    Below are pictures we took while walking along this peaceful and lovely estate composed of so many gardens!

    Threave-Gardens & Estate - Scotland

    Threave Gardens – Flowers © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens white lily MA 16-05-2015  DSC08369

    Threave Gardens – White Lily flowers © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Garden blue poppies

    Threave Gardens – Blue Poppies © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Garden Meconopsis Betonicifolia

    Threave Gardens – Blue Poppies © 2015 Scotiana

    threave-garden-colorful-flowers

    Threave Gardens – Colorful flowers © 2015 Scotiana

    threave-gardens-colorful-flowers-alyssum-spinosum

    Threave Gardens – Alyssum Spinosum flowers © 2015 Scotiana

    threave-garden-colorful-flowers-3

    Threave Gardens – Colorful and flowers © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens Clematis 'Doctor Ruppel'

    Threave Gardens – Clematis ‘Doctor Ruppel’ flowers © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens Clematis marker

    threave-gardens-white-rose-plant

    Threave Gardens – Saxifraga – white ‘rose’ style © 2015 Scotiana

    2015-06-JA_Threave-Gardens-Poached-Egg

    Threave Gardens – Limnanthes douglasii – Poached egg plant © 2015 Scotiana

    threave-gardens-glasshouse

    Threave Gardens – Glass House © 2015 Scotiana

    In the above picture,  we are inside the glasshouse which displays many exotic plants native to tropical and temperate regions of the world.

    Threave Gardens - Glass House - Tropical plants © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens – Glass House – Tropical plants © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens green house

    Threave Gardens – Glass House – Tropical plants © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens - Glass House - Donations Orchid Collections © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens – Glass House – Donations Orchid Collections © 2015 Scotiana

    We gladly contributed to Mr Orchid’s fund raising in order for him to make it all happen :-)

    Threave Gardens - Ronald Rae - St Francis Sculpture © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens – Ronald Rae – St Francis Sculpture © 2015 Scotiana

    Many sculptures can be found inside the gardens and you just can’t miss Ronald Rae’s St Francis sculpture of granite/basalt which pictures Saint Francis with bird and fox.

    Threave Gardens - Ronald Rae - St Francis Sculpture © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens – Ronald Rae – St Francis Sculpture © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens - Ronald Rae - St Francis Sculpture © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens – Ronald Rae – St Francis Sculpture © 2015 Scotiana

     

    Threave House - Dumfries & Galloway  © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave House – Dumfries & Galloway © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave House was designed in 1871 by John Dick Peddie (1824-1891) and Charles Kinnear (1830-1894), who ranked among the leading Edinburgh architects of the period.

    It’s baronial style was built with red sandstone from Castledykes in Dumfries, a quarry whose stone was used throughout Scotland and elsewhere in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    When the NTS acquired Threave House in 1957, the Scottish Baronial Style was so unfashionable that there was even talk of demolishing it.

    The estate we now know as Threave did not receive this name until the mid-nineteenth century. Before this time it would have been identified as the parish of Kelton, and it appears in this form in maps and histories of the area.
    The beautiful, undulating landscape of the Threave estate forms one of the most multi-faceted properties in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.

    Within its boundaries is an ever-developing, working garden, where expert horticulturists of the future are trained; an estate of international conservation importance, where farming co-exists creatively with forestry and wildlife; and, overlooking it all, a fine house whose architectural merit has at last received its due attention.
    Source: NTS Threave brochure

    Treave NTS brochure

    Threave NTS brochure

    I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this journey in one of the most beautiful gardens of Scotland and wish that you get to visit same on your next trip in the Dumfries & Galloway region. Fun for all the family!

    Until next, all the very best,

    Janice

    PS: Stay tuned for the next article in the Great Scottish Gardens and Parks series which will feature Hornel’s beautiful garden nestled behind the Broughton’s House.  A delight to explore. :-)

    Previous article: Kennedy Castle Gardens



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    Great Scottish Gardens & Parks: Castle Kennedy Gardens…

     

    The Lily Pond in Kennedy Castle Gardens  © 2015 Scotiana

    The Lily Pond in Kennedy Castle Gardens © 2015 Scotiana

    Panoramic view of the Lily Pond in Kennedy Castle Gardens © 2015 Scotiana

    Panoramic view of the Lily Pond in Kennedy Castle Gardens © 2015 Scotiana

     

    The old pond –
    a frog jumps in,
    sound of water.

    “Frog poem” (1680s)
    (Haiku written by Basho and translated by Robert Hass)
     
    Kennedy Castle Gardens entrance gates © 2015 Scotiana

    Kennedy Castle Gardens entrance gates © 2015 Scotiana

    The mild and gentle climate of south-west Scotland is a gardener’s dream.

    (Michael Leapman – “Tropic of Stranraer” 1996)

    Part of the magic of Scotland comes from its wonderful gardens & parks and we’ve already discovered a number of them, from magnificent parks surrounding old castles and palaces to more intimate gardens once belonging to writers, artists or other famous people. As we’ve just come back from our last trip there with many new pictures and unforgettable memories of these enchanting places we’ve decided to share them with you in a new series devoted to Scottish gardens and parks. But there was not much blue sky to give a lovely background to the gorgeous colours of the rhododendrons and azaleas and vegetation seemed to be rather late this year after a persistent bad weather in May.

    Here’s the list of the gardens we’ve visited or revisited in May and June 2015:

     

    • Abbotsford
    • The Biblical Garden in Elgin
    • Blair Castle Gardens
    • Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park
    • Brodie Castle
    • Broughton House
    • Castle Fraser Garden & Estate
    • Craigievar Castle
    • Culross Palace and Garden
    • Drum Castle
    • Drummond Castle Gardens
    • Fyvie Castle Garden & Estate
    • Castle Kennedy Gardens
    • Holyrood Palace
    • Leith Hall
    • Mount Stuart
    • Scone Palace Gardens
    • Threave Gardens
    Scotland for Gardeners Kenneth Cox Birlinn Ltd 2014

    Scotland for Gardeners Kenneth Cox Birlinn Ltd 2014

    “Kenneth Cox is a renowned plant-hunter and writer and he has led many expeditions to Tibet and India, discovering and introducing new rhododendron species. He also owns and runs the Cox family garden centre and nursery at Glendoick in Perthshire where he has created many popular rhododendron and azalea hybrids.

    Ray Cox is a professional garden and plant photographer. His work has been published in a wide range of magazines, newspapers, books, websites, calendars and greeting cards in the UK, Europe, US and Asia.”

    (Scotland for Gardeners – Kenneth Cox –  Birlinn 2009)

    My old edition of Scotland for Gardeners is open on my desk as it is always the case when I want to learn more about Scottish Gardens. Following in the steps of his father and grandfather, Kenneth Cox is a worthy descendant of generations of Scottish botanists and plant hunters.

    Kennedy Castle Gardens is a wonderful place and one of our favourite Scottish gardens. That is why we’ve chosen it to begin our new series about the magnificent gardens of Scotland. Situated in the South West of Scotland, three miles of Stranraer, Castle Kennedy Gardens look like a garden of Eden, especially when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. We would have like to stay there from dawn to dusk. No wonder if, in 2004,  we got locked inside after closing time! Last June, when we visited the gardens, the weather was not bad but the sky remained desperately white with sometimes a few clouds…

    What a pity we’ve missed a guided visit with John MacArthur, Head Gardener in Castle Kennedy Gardens. We didn’t know there was one! Next time we’ll join the visit for, to be sure, there will be a “next time”;-) Anyway, I’ve subscribed to the Gardens mailing list ;-). At least it will give me an idea of the passing of the seasons in these wonderful gardens.

    http://castlekennedygardens.com/blog/join-head-gardeners-guided-walk-rhododendron-arboreum-national-flower-nepal/

     

    Castle Kennedy Gardens map © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens map © 2015 Scotiana

     

    The map one can see on a panel at the entrance of Castle Kennedy Gardens is very helpful to understand what makes them quite unique. These  75 acres gardens lie on a narrow strip of land between two natural lochs, the White Loch and the Black Loch linked by a long canal lined with exotic plants and rare species.

    Castle Kennedy Gardens map

    Castle Kennedy Gardens map

    This enchanting place offers to its visitors no less than two castles, a lovely walled garden, an impressive lily pond, a grassy terraced garden, large avenues lined by a profusion of rare trees and colourful plants. We arrived at 10.00 am at the entrance gate and lingered quite a long time in the gardens, enjoying very much the beauty and peaceful atmosphere of the place…

    Castle Kennedy green avenue © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy green avenue © 2015 Scotiana

    This is a garden well worth visiting at any time: in spring for the rhododendrons, in summer for the walled garden and the enormous Eucryphia and at any time just to enjoy the scale of the landscape, the setting and the fine trees. You can easily wear out your children running around it all, though you may take a while to find them again in the undergrowth. It will surprise you to know that it is all looked after by only two super-human gardeners.

    (Scotland for Gardeners – Kenneth Cox 2009)

    If you visit Castle Kennedy Gardens try to localize all the land “sculptures” including spectacular mounds, terraces, symbolic shapes and even the family crest which is probably at the origin of the sadly famous “Curse of Scotland”, a nickname given to the Nine of Diamonds playing card. It is not difficult to find the Belvedere, from which you can see both lochs, the Round Pond, Castle Kennedy and Lochinch Castle but we didn’t see the Giant’s Grave, a 118 metres long mound under which a Giant is supposed to be buried, nor the nearby 10 metres high Mount Marlborough and neither the sunken gardens nor the family crest.

    Castle Kennedy Gardens & the ruined castle © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens & the ruined castle © 2015 Scotiana

    The romantic ruins of the old castle stands in the middle of the gardens, creating gloom and mystery. It is around it that the story of the gardens began.

    Castle Kennedy from Lily Pond © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy from Lily Pond © 2004 Scotiana

    The ivy-covered ruins of Castle Kennedy © 2015 Scotiana

    The ivy-covered ruins of Castle Kennedy © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy dates back to the 14th century. It was built between the White and Black Lochs by John Kennedy, 5th Earl of Cassilis, whose previous stronghold was situated on an island in the White loch. Castle Kennedy first passed to the Hamiltons, then to the Dalrymples of Stair.

    When the castle was destroyed by a fire in 1716 its owner, Field Marshall Dalrymple, the 2nd Earl of Stairs, who had been appointed ambassador to the French Court, was living in Paris (1714-1720). Much influenced by the formal gardens he had admired in Versailles he decided to create a sumptuous garden around the ruins of his medieval castle, turning his soldiers into gardeners to help him in this huge task. He also used their horses. A number of features of the gardens are reminiscent of the Earl’s military background: Mount Marlborough, Gun Emplacement, Field Marshall Terraces…

    To create the garden of his dreams the Earl consulted William Adam, one of the most famous Scottish architects of his time and it took him twenty years to achieve it with the help of his chief gardener, Thomas McCalla.

    After the Earl’s death, in 1747, the garden was maintained for some time before being left abandoned for decades.

    John Claudius Loudon Scottish botanist and designer Wikipedia

    John Claudius Loudon Scottish botanist and designer Wikipedia

    Towards the middle of the 19th century, the 8th Earl of Stair (1771-1853) fell upon a copy of the original plan designed by William Adam and works of restoration soon began under the supervision of John Claudius Loudon, an eminent Scottish botanist and designer (1783-1843).

    Lochinch Castle Kennedy Castle Gardens© 2015 Scotiana

    Lochinch Castle Kennedy Castle Gardens© 2015 Scotiana

     

    Like the interior of a house, a garden changes with each generation.

    (John MacArthur Head Gardener in Kennedy Castle)

    Later, the 10th Earl of Stair (1819-1903), John Hamilton Dalrymple, who built Lochinch Castle at the other end of the estate, much contributed to the improvement of the gardens. Then, it was a great time for plant hunting expeditions and indeed many of the 19th plant hunters were Scottish. As the Stair family were generous patrons, Castle Kennedy Gardens greatly benefited from the fruit of these expeditions. The favourable climate which characterizes the south west of Scotland (mild winters and influence of the Gulf Stream) offered good conditions for the growing of exotic plants and many new species were sent there. One of the best examples is illustrated by the omnipresence of wonderful rhododendrons in Castle Kennedy Gardens. Many of them were first introduced there by Sir Joseph Hooker one of the most famous English botanists (1817-1911).

    The first designers of Castle Kennedy Gardens would certainly be surprised to see how beautiful the gardens are today with the big trees and rhododendrons arboreums, a forest of rhododendrons…

    Castle Kennedy Gardens a forest of rhododendrons © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens a forest of rhododendrons © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens rhododendron arboreum © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens rhododendron arboreum © 2004 Scotiana

    The thuyas avenue in Castle Kennedy Gardens© 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens the thuyas avenue © 2004 Scotiana

     

    They would probably recognize a number of the original features for the present Lord Stair and his family, under the supervision of Joseph McArthur, their long-time and very talented chief-gardener, have never cease to to preserve and improve the gardens, always trying to restore them to their 19th century splendor.

    Castle Kennedy Gardens aerial view Round Pound © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens aerial view Round Pound © 2015 Scotiana

     

    On the above picture taken by Jean-Claude with his drone you can recognize the White Loch, in the west, with Lochinch Castle in the background and the Black loch in the east, also the two acres circular lily pond surrounded by magnificent rhododendrons,  wooded grounds and terraced garden…

     

    Aerial view of Castle Kennedy and Walled Garden © 2015 Scotiana

    Aerial view of Castle Kennedy and Walled Garden © 2015 Scotiana

     

    On this picture you can see the walled garden behind the castle and the tea-shop on the left.

     

    Castle Kennedy Gardens  Cordyline Avenue Dumfries & Galloway near Stranraer © 2015 Scotiana

    Cordyline Avenue at the entrance of Castle Kennedy Gardens © 2015 Scotiana

    Here’s the canal on the side leading to the Black Loch…

    Castle Kennedy Gardens Cordyline Avenue © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens Cordyline Avenue © 2004 Scotiana

    11 years separate the above two pictures…

    Castle Kennedy Gardens canal The White Loch  © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens canal The White Loch © 2015 Scotiana

    On the other side of the bridge the little canal leads to the White loch…

     

     

    Castle Kennedy Gardens rhododendrons © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens rhododendrons © 2015 Scotiana

    Rhododendrons in full bloom everywhere…

    Castle Kennedy Gardens rhododendrons © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens rhododendrons © 2004 Scotiana

    The splendour of the Rhododendrons is marvellous: there are 10 kinds on this hill, scarlet, white, lilac, yellow, pink, maroon [sic]… the cliffs actually bloom with them

    Engraving of Hooker by Charles Henry Jeens Wikipedia

    Engraving of Hooker by Charles Henry Jeens Wikipedia

    I staid [sic] at 13000ft* very much on purpose to collect there seeds of the Rhododendrons & with cold fingers it is not very easy… Botanizing, during the march is difficult. Sometimes the jungle is so dense that you have enough to do to keep hat & spectacles in compagny, or it is precipitous… certainly one often progresses spread-eagle fashion against the cliff, for some distance, & crosses narrow planks over profound Abysses, with no hand-hold whatever.

    (Joseph Hooker)

    *13 000 feet = 3 962.4 meters

    I’ve found these extracts of Joseph Hooker’s letters together very interesting information about him and the rhododendrons he collected on a page of Kew Gardens website.

    The Indian state of Sikkim in the Himalayas is famous for its fabulous spring flora, and tourists flock there, in particular, to see the vast tracts of rioutously coloured rhododendrons.

    In 1848, Joseph Hooker was one of the first European visitors to set foot in Sikkim. A plant hunter and  and son of Kew’s first Director (William Jackson Hooker), he was there to hunt for treasure – plant treasure – to send back to his father at Kew.

    http://www.kew.org/discover/blogs/library-art-and-archives/joseph-hookers-rhododendrons-himalayas-kew

     

    Castle Kennedy Gardens hedge of rhododendrons © 2004 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens hedge of rhododendrons © 2004 Scotiana

     

    Castle Kennedy Gardens embothrium & rhodos © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens embothrium & rhodos © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens embothrium © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens embothrium © 2015 Scotiana

     

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden gate © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden gate © 2015 Scotiana

    The originally planted herbaceous borders of the Walled Garden in their best in July and August but, as you can see on our pictures, it is well worth the visit in June. We took several videos in this lovely and peaceful”Secret Garden”…

     

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden © 2015 Scotiana

    Nobody there at this early hour…

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden red poppies © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden red poppies © 2015 Scotiana

    Well-tended lawns with patches of vivid colours…

    Castle Kennedy red poppy © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy red poppy © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden white digitalis © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Walled Garden white digitalis © 2015 Scotiana

    Kennedy Castle Corydalis elata © 2015 Scotianar

    Kennedy Castle Corydalis elata © 2015 Scotianar

    Kennedy Castle Gardens blue flowers © 2015 Scotiana

    Kennedy Castle Gardens blue flowers © 2015 Scotiana

     No blue sky but lovely blue flowers to compensate 😉

    Castle Kennedy from Walled Garden Castle Kennedy © 2015  © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy from Walled Garden Castle Kennedy © 2015 © 2015 Scotiana

    And before going out of the Walled Garden a view of the romantic ivy-covered ruined castle…

    Castle Kennedy entrance gate walled garden © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy entrance gate walled garden © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy © 2015  © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy © 2015 © 2015 Scotiana

     

    Edinburgh, November 3, 1716

    Upon Saturday last the house of Castle Kennedy was burnt, of which I have no account of the way it was done, but only that the maid put out a fire in the drawing room for airing the room, and went to bed after she had put out the fire. However, in the middle of the night it broke out and burnt all, so they had difficulty to make their own escape, and could save nothing except my son’s own picture and two more. I know he will be concerned, because Castle Kennedy was the favourite house he had in this country; but we must all submit to the providence of God and acknowledge His Justice that orders all things well. And I desire you may transmit this letter to him and observe his orders.”

    The Countess-dowager announcing the burning of the castle to Lord Stair’s Agent in London

     

    Castle Kennedy Gardens oyster catcher © 2015 Scotiana

    Castle Kennedy Gardens oyster catcher © 2015 Scotiana

    We lingered a long time in the gardens under the watchful eye of a friendly oyster-catcher. He seemed to be a friend of the place for we met him several times here and there. We already took a picture of one of these lovely birds in 2004 (one of our favourite ones with puffins). As oyster-catchers are long-lived birds (some of them can reach 30+ years of age), maybe it was the same bird we met there in 2004.

    It’s time to close the door of Castle Kennedy Gardens. Maybe I will add more pictures soon but in the meantime Janice will open you the gates of Threave Gardens… another wonderful garden.

    Threave Gardens Mr Fox  © 2015 Scotiana

    Threave Gardens Mr Fox © 2015 Scotiana

    We’ll follow the guide around his territory ;-)… so stay tuned!

    A bientôt.

    Mairiuna

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    Back from Scotland: the Magic of Alba…

     

    Fyvie Castle Mairiuna opening the gate © 2015 Scotiana

    What would he find there ? What new friends would he make ?

    What new songs would he sing ? Over what graves would he stand a moment in thought ?

    (In Search of Scotland – […]

    Along the Northern Roads of Scotland…

    Hello Hello from beautiful Scotland!

    Finally have access to Wifi and therefore very happy to share some pictures we took recently while touring the scenic roads, colorful places and magnificent landscapes of our beloved Alba.

    ©‎ Scotiana 2015

     

    Even when the weather is acting up….the beauty lies within.

    Assynt – Scotland ©‎ […]

    Travelling in Scotland again!

    Edinburgh Ross Fountain Castle © Scotiana 2015

    Travelling Scotland again

    Hello dear friends! We are happy to let you know that we landed in Edinburgh on May 5th 2015 to initiate our 8th trip, since year 2000, to Scotland, and this time around, for an extended 45 days.

    Despite problems upon arrival with […]