Thursday, 5 August 2010

Set Sat Nav to the Village Hall

A warm welcome will await you! A numbered, usually hand drawn map (not always to scale) will be on the table just inside the entrance. Have you guessed where we’re off to? Yep… its an Open Gardens Day :-)

Last Sunday, 10 gardens owners very generously agreed to open their gardens for the afternoon to raise money for their community. Our map is our entry ticket… now the big question is how many gardens can we visit in three hours?

As expected, progress was slow. Just too much chat with the owners… personal tours too! Contrasting garden styles, lots of interesting features and stories of how the gardens evolved… oh dear, just three gardens down. Time to head back to the village hall for refreshments…


Entry included tea/coffee and a cream scone.
Sorry, out of focus photo via phone… trying to be discrete ;-)


Being realistic, visiting 7 gardens before they closed wasn’t going to happen. A quick read of the accompanying description of the gardens and I picked out a garden that caught my eye. One of the organisers (Glenfarg and Duncrievie in Bloom) wandered over to ask how my visits were going and suggested another. We’re off again.

Although I carried my camera discretely in a bag I only intended taking it out if something unexpected caught my eye and if I felt the owners would be willing to allow me to take photos… oh and I did!

Walking shoes on? Let’s take a wander round the garden of Pete and Marion Dickson. With their kind permission, I'd like to share with you my visit to Hayfield Cottage Garden, in Glenfarg, Perthshire…




Clicking on photos will enlarge them. Please do not copy.


The map description began: ”A cottage garden set in 4 acres, a peaceful setting with the River Farg flowing through.”

Hands up, I’m only now warming to the style of cottage gardens. However, the idea of a river flowing through a garden was one of the attractions that brought me here. The other was behind me in the photo below... you knew I was going to keep you guessing ;-)



Being honest, I quite literally stopped in my tracks on the gravel driveway as I made my way to the gate on the picket garden fence at the side of the cottage.

Before beginning my tour (surprise, surprise) I chatted a while with Pete and Marion. As well as the stunning feature I was in awe of in front of me, nature winning over the gardener was also discussed and with a garden of 4 acres the odds were in its favour.




The map description continued: Fruit trees, productive polytunnel and greenhouses provide organic produce. Herbaceous beds and old-fashioned shrub roses form part of a natural garden with a wooded hill and…” Lol… I’ll keep you guessing a little longer!





Marion mentioned she had a cutting garden for flowers in her house. I loved the large corner plantings of blue and almost black cornflowers. Another flower I particularly enjoyed seeing in different parts of this garden was the yellow bells of evening primrose.





The map description ends with: "Alice, Isobella, Rose and Poppy our hens will be happy to say hello!” Not sure who we have below but another was quietly curious just on the other side of the fence at my feet as I took my photos… must have been the spokeswoman of the group ;-)




Garden tour almost over now and if you’ll indulge me I’d like to be a temporary spokeswoman now. Although they keep it low key, I discovered that the cottage above is used for Bed & Breakfast. “Peace and Tranquillity by the River Farg” is how they describe the cottage and I would absolutely agree with that.

As thanks to Pete and Marion for allowing me to photograph their garden and share it with you on my blog I am giving them a bit of a plug by sharing their email address.

However, I should stress that this decision has been completely at my own discretion. I see this quite simply as a very special place. If you scrolled down this post to see the feature that stopped my in my tracks I'm sure you'll understand.




Hayfield Cottage, or perhaps I should say cottages, have a bit of wonderful history being the workers' cottages for a corn-mill in the late 18th Century. Some original features still remain in the cottage above. Out of respecting the privacy of Pete and Marion’s home I didn’t look closely at the cottage they lived in as I walked past it along the gravel path but at a guess it may have been two cottages joined together.

You’ve probably guessed now what stopped me in my tracks. Not in reality ever intended as a garden feature a derelict 18th Century corn-mill stood tall with nature as its true keeper now. I loved the tree growing out of the roof. What an incredible structure to have in your garden! Could you even imagine opening your curtains in the morning and looking out on to this view? Wow... I unashamedly swooned :-)



A bridge opposite the house leads you across the river of this natural garden where the first of many quite different seating areas could be found. On my way to visit this garden a couple stopped to recommend it… romantic was how they described it.

Yep… romance has truly been in the air in the area below… Pete and Marion’s daughter chose to get married here. Some photos could be seen in the Summer house photo board kindly left out for visitors to see. Their son is now planning his wedding there now too. What fun this must be.



My time was up and the final count of gardens visited was 5! Funnily enough, on chatting to other visitors on my way round Glenfarg Open Gardens I was told to expect to only get half way through the map… they were right :-)

Here in the UK, not all Open Gardens are organised through the Yellow Books of Scotland and England & Wales. This, like many other village and small town Garden Open Days was organised by the members of the community and the local Bloom Committee. They do a great job too.

If I could keep you just a little longer… blogger’s block has definitely not been keeping me from blogging. As with all summer bloggers, time is the issue at the moment. I’ve really have so many things I’d love to share. Yesterday, I was out with my daughter and for the first time saw a….

Sorry, that was cruel ;-) Before I leave this posting on gardens in Glenfarg I have just one more to mention… it was on also on the Open Gardens map. I have visited this garden before. The description of Glenfarg Green read:

"The centrepiece of the community. The Green came into community ownership as a result of extraordinary generosity of Maggie and Brian Lascelles. Created from scratch by Maggie and Brian, it has a wealth of flora and fauna to provide hours of delight."



Click on image to enlarge and zoom in to read. Photos taken in May 2010.


Now… this is another special place. At two and half acres of open space it is in the middle of the village. You’ll find an entrance to it on Greenback road. Alternatively you could now set Sat Nav to PH2 9NY (or Lat: 56.279866 Lon: -3.399941) ;-)

Enjoy your garden visits and outdoor walks over the weekend. Hope the weather is in your favour. Have you plans?


P.S. Thinking of all the other parents and children in Scotland waiting on the postman for the exam results this morning… hope you’re more chilled than I am at the moment! This blog post has kept me distracted :-)

8 comments:

Patsi 'Garden Endeavors' said...

I'm in love with the Hayfield gardens.
The building,garden beds and even a river.
Thanks for the tour !

leavesnbloom said...

Hope the postman brought good news - I've got all that to go through this time next year!

I've never been in Glenfarg just driven past it on the A9. The garden you featured looks so beautiful and so naturalistic. I loved seeing the cutting garden in particular - reminds me of my MIL's many many years ago.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow to have a river run through your garden would be a terrific thing. I can't imagine. It is just beautiful. I can see why you loved seeing this place. What fun. I don't have plans for this weekend. It has been so darned hot! I don't care if I go outside.

A wildlife gardener said...

You will be thinking, 'Long time no see', Shirl... :)

Just popping by to say hello and how are you...

June and July, for me, passed in a flurry of activity...family coming to stay, being on holiday and being busy in the garden ...

You have certainly been busy visiting those Open Day gardens...so many, and all of them quite different, as well as beautiful (what about a river running past the garden? Wow!)...thanks for sharing :)

Happy August gardening :)

patientgardener said...

What a fantastic garden you visited I can see why you loved it so much

Chookie said...

I love B&Bs with beautiful gardens and this one would be ideal, but I fear the plane ticket is out of my reach!

Loved it, especially the cornmill.

Gardeningbren said...

I so enjoyed you sharing this...it was just lovely seeing the gardens and reading your descriptions... Lovely photos as well!

shirl said...

Hi again Patsi, Rosie, Lisa, Wildlife Gardener, Helen, Chookie and Bren :-)

Patsi, yes me too… delighted you caught the tour, great to have you join us :-D

Rosie, it did thanks! I’m guessing you are at the start of the big exams… so very glad next year will be the last of the school ones for us after six consecutive years of stressful May’s. Maybe I’ll get back down to Chelsea next year :-D Glad you too enjoyed this garden. I would definitely recommend a visit to Glenfarg Green which is open all year round :-D

Lisa, I agree completely! I asked them if the river ever flooded (that would be my worry). They said only once after bad snow (not this past year). It was raining as I left and was unable to photograph the view from the driveway that stopped me in my tracks. The mill photos I had didn’t do it justice. Oh dear… hope your weather has let up and been cooler for a few days. We are noticing very slightly cooler days here when the sun isn’t out.

Wildlife Gardener, well hello there! I’ll have to pop over and see how you’re garden is doing now. I always admire your wildlife ponds in particular. I’m in the process of clearing a space for one myself at the moment. Having fun with this area when I have time and the weather permits. Progress is slow but that’s okay. August gardening is going to be happy thanks… wishing you good gardening too :-D

Helen, yes it was rather special and the people were lovely too :-)

Chookie, funnily enough I don’t suppose I ever think of B&B’s with gardens. I do now, although you’d never know. Yes, a ticket from Aus would be stretching it. Ah… delighted to hear you too loved the cornmill :-D

Bren, I am delighted to be able to and pleased to hear you enjoy reading my descriptions as well as the photos. I just love to chat about visits like this :-D