Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Snowdrop surprise

Not kept in secret, although hidden away, Fingask Castle did feel like a secret find yesterday. The promise of snowdrops drew us along some quiet back roads only a few minutes from a very busy dual carriage way that I have driven along so many times. Since writing this gardenwatch blog I have been surprised at the activity going on in my garden that previously I have missed. It is also becoming clear I have been missing much outside my own garden too.





Topiary and statues I had expected to find at Fingask based on the description on the Scottish Snowdrop Festival website. With that in mind I had asked my Mum to join me on this trip to discover snowdrop displays. However, I had no idea the humour and charm we would also find there. What a setting this castle had. The red flowers of a rhododendron brought us from the lawn up to a shaded path behind it. Sculptures at the end of this path drew as along it. What a wonderful focal point!




Fingask Castle has been bought by the Threipland family four times in the last 400 years! I wonder if they are responsible for adding the selection of sculptures and more unusual garden design features of this garden that we discovered as we walked around. Notice the window frames placed into the hedging. Looking to the plants, the river of bergenia coming down the grass banking and around a water feature caught my eye. We didn’t explore the garden behind the wall as it appeared to be a private area.





Let’s have a closer look at this pair below… having a quiet drink on the terrace! The next statue tells quite a different story. I am guessing by the look on the faces of the family the man (husband/father most likely) is going away to work. Perhaps he will be away for some time. Our visit had absolutely no concept of time as we explored this magical place. Oh… but we were here to see snowdrops…..




A gentleman, not the one in the statue below, suggested we walked a particular route down the hill away from the castle to find the snowdrops. I am guessing by his attire, manner and voice he could have easily been the owner. He was with someone at the time so it wasn’t appropriate to ask him.



Below the road and under a bridge, making their own white streams and waterfalls, snowdrops brought life to this area. We followed narrow paths through dense shrub plantings. Scatterings of snowdrops were seen along the way. They were looking particularly beautiful on the wonderful browns of the ferns lying on the ground. Snowdrops are just so very pretty and elegant aren’t they?





It was time to go and we headed for the car park admiring the view all the way out to the Tay Bridges before we left. However, I didn’t put my camera in my bag quite yet. I laid it on the back seat of the car knowing full well I would use it just once more! On our drive up we past a wonderful display along the roadside. I stopped the car on the way down to capture our first and last images of the snowdrops at Fingask Castle.



This weekend I hope to visit another quite different area with displays of Snowdrops so fingers crossed the weather will be fair. This year I am looking to see if any other area, within travelling distance, can beat the vast numbers of snowdrops I saw at Dalmeny last year. Now that woodland really does take your breath away!

Meantime, I should give a quick recap on what’s been going on in my garden. Mm… I need to get out there a do some ‘real’ gardening. Things are moving on out there with crocuses now showing their lovely smiley faces when the sun comes out! Tulips are pushing their leaves through the ground and there are hellebore flower buds just about to open. Ah… the gardening year has well and truely started!

Finally, if you are considering visiting this garden I should add that it isn’t open on Saturdays. I will be discrete here to avoid an onslaught of advertisers. A cake and a special white dress may well be the reason. You might like to look at what else this Castle has on offer besides snowdrops. It really isn't so secret after all and is quite a special location for…

All photos above were taken on February 24th, 2009.

36 comments:

ShySongbird said...

Hi Shirl,
What a beautiful place! It looks so peaceful, the Snowdrops are gorgeous and I just love the sculpture. I had to smile at the bare bottom in the private area!!

We unexpectedly came across a sculpture exhibition in a garden in Woodstock Oxfordshire a couple of years ago and it was stunning particularly as we just found it by chance.

easygardener said...

What an attractive garden. Loved the topiary which was very individual and rather humorous. The statues were unusual too - like you say they each seemed to suggest a story.
The snowdrops look like an patch of snow. Beautiful flowers!

Midmarsh John said...

You visited a real treasure of a garden there. I love the statues.
Thank you for sharing your day out.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Hi Shirl, Thanks for such a treat--your tour was fabulous! And I didn't need to cross the ocean to see it!!

I just loved seeing those topiaries and 'sculptured' bushes, etc. Quite amazing, really. And when planted, en masse, the snowdrops appear to be a blanket of snow along the roadside! [Some extreme northern gardeners may have 2nd thoughts about putting too many of these in:-)]

Liz said...

Lovely photos Shirl, it looks like you had a wonderful time!

Oh to have my own drifts of snowdrops like that *dreams* :D

Anna said...

Now that looks like a really magical place to while away some time Shirl :) I wish Scotland was a bit nearer !

Joe said...

Hi Shirl,

What a fantastic gem of a place. The snowdrops look so beautiful, as do the sculptures and look a bit querky too. The castle looked amazing too. Glad you enjoyed your visit. I don't think I have seen anywhere quite like it before. Have a good time snowdrop-searching again this weekend!

The Early Birder said...

Hi Shirl, I just stopped by for a peek & lost track of time. Enjoyed the garden tour, particularly the Snowdrops & statues.
P.S. The previous post with pic of Loch Lowes brought back some memories of a visit many years ago when the Ospreys were in residence.

keewee said...

Shirl, what a perfectly wonderful place to explore.
I do not have any snowdrops in my garden, something I had better rectify.

shirl said...

Hi again ShySongbird, Denise, John, Jan, Liz, Anna, Joe and Frank:-)

ShySongbird – Yes, this place really had a magic about. LOL… yes I considered some witty comment about the bare bot too! Yes, as you say that the unexpected is way much better! I remember visiting Heligan (lost gardens of, in Cornwall) and after watching the TV programmes on it being restored I just couldn’t wait. It wasn’t the visit I hoped, too busy and no magic. On the other hand we visited Trebah on the same holiday (we had a NT membership) expecting it at the very least it to be a nice place for lunch and a walk! What a special visit that was and heaps of magic :-D

Denise – Yes, it did have so many features to catch your attention. I even missed some out as the posting was getting too long to be on the snowdrops! Yes, there were other humorous features too like the red BT phonebox in a wooded area beside a dell. Just remembered that! We were too busy being enchanted with the paths that I forgot to take any photos in that area. We felt like explorers. Yes, perhaps it is more fun not knowing the actual story behind the sculptures and imagining it instead. Yes, the larger groups did look like snow but close up, I agree, they are such beautiful flowers :=D

John – Yes, we certainly did and I had no idea it existed in the hillside along a road I am familiar with too! I am delighted to be able to share these visits :-D

Jan – Wonderful, so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, I always think of my blogging friends across the water when I post on snowdrops. It was quite a surprising garden with more surprises than I showed photos of too! LOL… the northern gardeners needn’t worry it takes quite a while for snowdrops to spread out to resemble snow. These snow growers are slow growers :-D

Liz – We did and quite unexpected too. So many elements to this garden least of all a special purpose built building for the ‘cake’ event and others similar. It was extremely tasteful. Inside it had the most beautiful modern candelabra I have ever seen! Oh… sorry back to the snowdrops… they were ever so dreamy too :-D

Anna – Oh… it really was… we completely lost track of time. Of course, we then stopped for a coffee before I dropped my Mum off on my way home. My poor Dad was a tad worried as he’d expected us back an hour before. Oops… yes we did while away the time. Oh… I’m sure there are wonderful places in England just like this… as in this instance they may be within a drive and you may not know they are there ;-)

Joe – An excellent description! It was a gem. I have certainly seen nothing like it either and to think I would look up at that hillside (when not driving) and never knew it was there! Thank-you, I’ll need dry weather to take my camera out on my next visit. Mm… perhaps my feet might get wet though ;-)

Frank – Sounds familiar! Glad you enjoyed your visit especially when caught a glimpse of Loch of the Lowes too! I’ve had a few postings from here including seeing a pine marten during a special evening. I caught video of it too. Last year we arrived (by chance) the day the first Osprey chick hatched. Gosh there was a buzz at the centre that day! You probably saw the same female Osprey as she had been nesting there for 30 yrs :-D

Keewee – Yes, it really was! LOL… me too…and I say that every year! Last year I planted a small number in their pots and they are coming up now but they take forever to make a covering of snow. I say this every year… but maybe the answer is buying them ‘in the green’. Perhaps an even better solution would be to buy them in the green and plant them in my lawn! Yes… I like that idea :-D

Salix said...

What an unusual treasure. Thanks for sharing, Shirl.

nancybond said...

Oh my, that carpet of snowdrops looks like snow itself! That would surely be one of those things that makes you draw your breath in sharply -- magical!

Little Brown Job said...

I've never seen so many snowdrops in one place!

Paul.

shirl said...

Hi again Salix, Nancy & Paul :-)

Salix – Exactly! I guess that is why I enjoyed it so much :-D

Nancy – It can do can’t it? Oh yes… the first glimpses always do. It was a magical place all round :-D

Paul – Now, I could say neither have I but there is another place I know that has way more! This year I am trying to see if any other area can beat it for shear numbers and spectacle. I am beginning to think not. You might like to see the snowdrops on a visit I made last year. That woodland really does take your breath away :-D

Garden Thyme said...

Wonderful Blog. I really enjoyed your pictures. I enjoy old mature gardens. Good job! Thanks for faving my blog. I will be back.
Debbie
Garden Thyme with the Creative Gardener

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Well, that was a secret and a half. Such a beautiful garden and castle and vast drifts of snowdrops too. What more could we possibly ask for.

BTW saw Edinburgh on Flog It yesterday and it brought back some great memories!

AnneTanne said...

Normally, I should dislike this overabundance of statues... But indeed, they give the place a certain magic, and you can't dislike them.
And those snowdrops... unbelievable too!

Mel said...

Wow, all those statues and the snowdrops!
They match so well, bit of magic in this post, Shirl!

Linda Lunda said...

AWSOME!!!!
Linda

Mildred said...

What a trip to Fairyland and back!

andré said...

Thanks for letting us see this nice place! Snowdrops are fantastic. :-)

ForestWander Nature Photography said...

What wonderful gardens.

This looks like a nice place to tour and take pictures!

Pam Kersting said...

Looks like a most excellent place to spend a day Shirl. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us! I loved the topiary and the statues too!

Layanee said...

A patch of snowdrops like those put my little groups to shame. I am going to think BIG next fall! But where shall I put them? Loved the fanciful characters in this garden. The owner must surely have a good sense of humor.

tina said...

It is awesome! I love your pictures as they capture the true feeling of this garden. I wish I could visit it in person. I do hope you find lots of snowdrops this weekend. After seeing them on all the blogs I have promised myself I will be sure to plant them this fall. Have a great weekend.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Oh, my, what a magical place! This is definitely going on the list of places we have to visit when we go to Scotland. (I don't know when that will be, but I hope our kids will still be kids.) The Snowdrops are just an added bonus.

Karen - An Artists Garden said...

Shirl - what a treat to see this through your eyes. I quite liked the topiary, and the garden statues were great - but the windows in the hedge! awesome.
Fabulous snowdrops.
Thanks for the tour.
K

Tricia said...

Some wonderful sculptures of human-sized humans there Shirl. And I've never seen so many snowdrops growing together like that before. Beautiful.

RainGardener said...

Hi Shirl,
What a wonderful tour that was! I've always wanted to see Scotland and this may be as close as I get.
Your pictures of the castle grounds and of your own flowers are fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing. Oh and I added you to my list of garden blogs so I can just click and come back to visit. Linda

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a delightful tour Shirl. The snowdrops were worth the walk. They are just beautiful in masse.

I love the statues in the garden too. I wonder if they come alive at certain times of the year??

shirl said...

Hi there everyone, hope you all had a good weekend :-)

Debbie –Thank-you. You are very welcome – I’ll be back to visit you too :-D

Yolanda – Yep… it was not at all what I expected. Oh… we could ask for more snowdrops ;-) Oh… that must have been interesting. I am guessing they showed a few images of Edin during the programme. I always think of you when we lunch on the benches in Princes Street Gardens :-D

Anne – Yes, I’m with you on that. Statues don’t really do it for me normally either but these did give this place magic there is no doubt. They needed the artistry and humour of the topiary to compliment them though. Ah… the snowdrops, well lovely but I discovered even more at the weekend :-D

Mel – Great stuff eh? They did. Hope you had a magical weekend :-D

Linda – Oh yes… now all that’s missing is a dragon or two ;-)

Mildred – LOL… it did feel like that :-D

Andre – You are most welcome! Please do visit again as I have another snowdrop posting coming up soon after I’ve sorted through and chosen photos from the weekend :-D

FWNP – Yes, it is the charm of this garden that really makes it. Without the snowdrops I would never have discovered it :-D

Pam – Yes, we were only there a couple of hours but with more time we could have explored much more. You are welcome, I think the statues needed the topiary for it to work the magic don’t you think :-D

Layanee – LOL… yeh and I’m not even at the patch stage. These displays have taken, many, many years I suspect. Yes… I know what you mean but will you do it… I always have good intentions! Oh yes… definitely a sense of humour here :-D

Tina – It was wonderful. Thank-you, I’m glad you enjoyed my photos. Perhaps one day you will go to the snowdrop ‘ball’ ;-) Thanks… oh yes and I did find many more snowdrops at the weekend. Yes, seeing displays like this do inspire us for the next year don’t they? Thanks, I had a good weekend and hope you did too :-D

MMD – You are so right! Ah yes… I do hope you get to visit Scotland one day I know you have mentioned it before. I am guessing this place will have magic at other times of the year too. Hope you get here in time :-D

Karen – Thank-you, yes topiary and statues don’t always do it for me but in the setting and with the styles chosen they did catch my eye. Funnily enough we were on the shaded walk behind the windows when I first caught a glimpse of them and at that angle I wasn’t certain I was seeing what I thought I was! What fun! Glad you enjoyed the snowdrops – I had another interesting visit to see more at the weekend :-D

Tricia – LOL… yes they were too! Oh yes there were quite a few snowdrops there but if you take the link to see the ones I saw last year you’ll see huge carpets as far as the eye could see. I saw many more at the weekend but for spectacle last years ones at Dalmeny have not been beaten. They are breathtakingly beautiful in their huge carpets – a bit like bluebell woods but with snowdrops being smaller and lower to the ground they really are quite special :-D

Linda (RG) – Thank-you, I’m thrilled to be able to share with you a little bit of Scotland. Thanks, I’m delighted you enjoyed the pics, I thoroughly enjoy sharing them. Thanks too for adding my link – I’ll pop by soon to see what you have been up too :-D

Lisa – Ah… the wanderer has returned :-D I see you were sending postcards from your trip. Great stuff! I loved the topiary animals they looked quite a sight! Can’t believe you are out catching up on blogs already! Delighted you didn’t miss this posting – I thought you might find the statues interesting. Now… when the clock strikes midnight……

em said...

wow, what great topiary! as soon as it warms up, i'm wielding the shears on my yew dragon! thanks for the wonderful photos of a magical place.

edinburghcitygardener said...

Hi Shirl,

Just bumped into your blog, good to see someone else championing scottish gardens.

James

shirl said...

Hi there em and James :-)

em – It was definitely Topiary with a sense of humour! Oh no… take care with your dragon!! You are most welcome… it was a find for me too :-D

James – Well hello there and Thank-you! Ah… love the Munro shot in your recent posting. Yes, it can feel a little like a tourist plug can’t it. I’ve done the same many times and I don’t work for them either :-D

Daffodil Planter said...

Shirl, My comment got chewed up by gremlins. What I was trying to say was Thank You for more wonderful, atmospheric snowdrop pictures and commentary. And I love that "you're not in California anymore" feeling of reading your phrases such as "dual carriage way" :-)

shirl said...

Hi again DP :-)

Oh… sometimes that does happen doesn’t it. I’ve had that on other blogs too :-)

You are most welcome! I’m delighted you enjoyed the snowdrop pics - just wait until you see the next posting I have for you!! It’s positively dripping with them :-D

LOL… yes there are quite a few language differences aren’t they. I always think of them when I write – most especially with the word ‘colour’ which I probably use and see the most.

See you soon :-D