Saturday, 28 May 2011

Meconopsis Day, Branklyn Garden, Sunday 29th May

Windswept, lying on the ground, the elegant beauty of the Meconopsis caught my eye once again at Branklyn yesterday. It was down but it was definitely not out to me. Oops... I should add that there are plenty of Meconopsis still standing. This is a sheltered garden :-)




Having visited this garden before I was making a quick dash to a path that I knew was edged with this plant to get a couple of photos. I was short on time. This was the garden I first spotted the wonderful yellow Meconopsis that I have been enjoying in my garden.

A brief chat with head gardener, Steve McNamara was what I was hoping for on this visit. I recently discovered (through RHS Member booklet) that there was to be a Meconopsis Day and that Steve was doing a Garden Tour. For any Meconopsis fans that could travel to this garden I had to share this :-)




Branklyn Garden is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and, in my opinion, really is quite a little hidden gem of a garden! Back in 1922, Dorothy & John Renton bought a small area of Orchard, built a house and began a garden (which increased to two acres) for shelter and privacy. I’d say they achieved that very well indeed.

As visitors/commuters/residents of the local area pass along the main A85 road going in and out of Perth most probably have no idea of the quite different world that is above the high perimeter wall of the garden that edges the road.

Hands up, for many years, I passed the Brown Tourist signs for the Car Park for Branklyn Garden as I drove along the main road below it and never ventured up. It was only when we had membership for the NTS with our family that I discovered what a plants person’s paradise this garden is! Now with my RHS Membership giving me free visits to this garden I really should pop in more often :-)

This week has seen wonderful new plants at the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show and medals for designers. However, back in 1954, Dorothy Renton herself was awarded an RHS medal! For her work introducing/cultivating new plants they awarded her the Veitch Memorial Medal.

Yep… expect a wonderful collection of plants at Branklyn… from all over the world. Oh... and I really should add that plant hunters such as Forrest, Ludlow and Sherriff helped the Rentons with their seed collections! That maybe paints a bigger picture of this garden now :-)

For gardener’s in Scotland next week is the main show here with Gardening Scotland at The Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th June 2011. I’m looking forward to that! I’m delighted to have just discovered, Scotland too awarded Dorothy Renton a medal.

Back in 1960, the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society awarded Dorothy Renton the Scottish Horticultural Medal. Okay, I should add here that John Renton too had a hand in this plantsman’s garden ;-)

John Renton saw himself as the garden designer and his wife as the real gardener. Lol… whatever way it was seen and awarded, when it comes to the cultivation of rare and exciting plants both Dorothy and John Renton were regarded as foremost.

To this day, Branklyn still has the feel of a Private Garden with a wonderful collection of trees, plants and a trickle of winding paths through it with many features to discover. I’m not going to show any more photos this time. This is a garden to be visited and this time of year is my favourite time to visit :-)

Finally, before I add some details for the Meconopsis Day, the most exciting thing about this garden now is that the National Trust for Scotland are continuing with Dorothy and John Renton’s vision. Branklyn Garden will continue as a plantsman’s garden.

Gardeners of all levels and interest will be met with inspiring plants and planting/colour combinations. I’d like to add a Congrats to head gardener, Steve McNamara on recently receiving collection status for the Meconopsis. The garden has 5 species and 25 cultivars. Oh yes… and Branklyn also features national collections of Cassiope and Lilium :-)

This really is a garden to lose yourself in! Perhaps I better give some directions then :-)

Branklyn Garden is at 116 Dundee Road, Perth.

SAT NAV: Ordnance Survey Ref: OS Ref: NO125225
or postcode PH2 7BB.

Road: A85, over Queen’s Bridge, turn right and look for sign to car park on the left. From the N, via A90, follow signs to free car park in Fairmount Terrace. This is about 100yds walk from the garden entrance. The car park is well signposted from the Dundee Road (A85). I'd like to add that there is a small steep hill down from/back up to the free car park. There are limited disabled spaces at the garden entrance.

Bus: Stagecoach (No 16) stops 200 metres from garden

Train: Perth station, 25 minute walk

Cycling: can be accessed from nearby cycle trail, see route 77 Salmon Run Pitlochry – Dundee

On Meconopsis Day, Sunday May 28th, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the grounds with head gardener and horticultural expert Steve McNamara. The tour begins at 14.00 and visitors will be invited to enjoy refreshments on the patio.

Just one final (important) thing to add… there are some plants for sale! I had my eye out for a trillium but didn’t spot any. Oh… but I did grab a quick chat with Steve before I left the garden yesterday. Lol… just after the very helpful lady at the small garden shop/plant sales tables at the entrance had gone planting hunting for me in the greenhouse! Yay… she came back with the last young trillium plant :-))

Enjoy your garden and visits over the weekend. If you do go to Branklyn tomorrow enjoy the feast of flowers out now. After my battery running out when I took the bright red poppy photo in the montage above I’d advise you take spare batteries for your camera and a notebook for plant names (or photograph plant labels as you go). You won’t be the only one capturing the beauty of this garden :-)


This post was written by Shirley for http://blog.shirlsgardenwatch.co.uk/

4 comments:

Janet said...

One of my favourite gardens. The work the Rentons put in was incredible. I have heard that some of the more unusual plants were removed. Even if that is true it is still one of the best.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wish I could go there. I love those blue poppies. I have only seen them in one garden before. It was way up in Michigan. Far from our hot humid summers.

Liz said...

Hi Shirl,

I've never really got the whole mecanopsis thing... However since I just bought some and hope to see their blooms in the coming years, I'm sure my opinion will change and I too will end up collecting all the colours; I've seen some lovely pink shades. Mmmmm :)

shirl said...

Hello everyone, thanks for your comments :-)

Janet, I would have guessed you'd like this garden. Yes, it is a wonderful story/work behind it. I'm sure much still goes on. I hadn't heard about any plants being removed but I agree it is one of the best gardens here in Scotland :-)

Lisa, yes your hot humid summers would never suit the meconopsis. It's great you have been able to see one for real. I'm certain you would enjoy this garden. I'll try getting some video footage for you to have a virtual tour :-D

Liz, Lol... oh... you will get it :-) I never considered other shades until I saw them at Branklyn and now I love them. That yellow of mine that you've seen already has been a good 'doer' in all the wind that has battered it this last week. Trees have been knocked down but it has kept flowers!