Thursday, 11 August 2011

Scottish Gardens to visit: Applecross Walled Garden

On one of our rare adventures without the children, but in the lovely new car, (Mr Flowers had treated himself too recently), one weekend, as you do, we had an adventure down south on the mainland to Applecross in Wester Ross. A tiny village up and over the Belach na ba road, which I'm sure should feature in a Top Gear programme. Its a single track road that goes directly up and over the side of a mountain!
What fun, if a bit of a hold your breath kind of road! After a meandre down to the charming village of Applecross (resdients 234) with breathtaking views out to Skye, we had an amazing lunch in the famous Applecross Inn......which was indeed very good and the subject of another blog I'm sure! And, completely by chance I met a colleague who now lives there from the Botanics In Edinburgh, what are the chances, I last saw him on our field trip to Belize! Amazing! And, a lovely catch up we had too, Mr F is convinced I will find someone I know anywhere, then again, I'm great at talking to random strangers so the fact that I'd struck up a conversation in a pub garden was not unsurprising.
Anyhows, after a lovely local seafood lunch (seemed very rude not to indulge in the local seafood.... I thought I'd manage quite nicely to convince him that a garden visit would be great fun and something I'd like to do to walk off our lovely lunch, so we ambled off to the Applecross walled garden.
Applecross walled garden is an old garden 1675 (!) which is undergoing a  new renovation project, which is a remarkable feat of gardening - the committment to this garden is clear to see when you step through the door. These type of walled gardens are quite common on Scottish Estates, I've been lucky enough to work in a couple myself - great places to learn your trade in! More about the garden and its development here
 The walkways leads to the cafe/restaurant at the bottom of the most beautiful scented walk down through roses, nepeta, geraniums and many other delights, the scent was truly heavenly.
 And, from the look of the potting shed cafe window, the foods as heavenly too! You don't get that many awards without being seriously good at what you do, yum yum! And, a serious emphasis on local produce too...............probably why they've so many awards, that and all the hard work!
Great benches and effects about the place, clearly made from local material too - very nice to see improvisation in benches and beds along the way through the garden.
And, very nicely quite dog friendly too - and we met more than a few dogs (all very well behaved) in the garden too, that's nice then isn't it, alot of gardens don't let dogs into them, while I can see why, to be honest, most folk know that they have to be respectful of other gardens and therefore dogs being allowed to come in and not stay in the car is quite nice.
The garden is a great mixture of herbaceous perennials, herbs, edibles and fruits adorning the walls of the garden, which I guess was always the purpose of a walled garden anyway, to be productive and comprehensive. And, of course if I haven't had enough of a time weeding out ladies mantle from garden gravel I've been working in, there we go more of it again, its a really useful plant, going bonkers in the Scottish climate, but very useful for both the border and as a cut flower, so you can forgive it the tenacity it shows. Fruit trees, crocosmia's, euphorbias and ladies mantle adding to the riot of late summer colour.
What I like about walled gardens is that the variation of interest you get, abundant flowers and scents with fruits and veggies all often on prime display too and Applecross garden certainly didn't disappoint me, I like looking at vegetables and I love when they are displayed. The nice thing here too as well as railway sleepers the raised beds were also made from whole trees or thinnings during felling, more local material, very well used. And, don't the onions look great all like little soldiers? Persuading Peedie (the not very well behaved garden dog) that climbing on the bed was not allowed, was a whole other conversation........but we did manage to leave their beds alone!
Lovely edges of box with beds of veggies all nicely shown off, I did like this.
And, old benches tucked into the orchard which was clearly being rennovated - I wonder how many folk have sat on that bench and looked at the apple trees?
Further around the garden more herbaceous planting and ambles over to a nice little fun 'folly' - tucked into the wall.
 The Love Boat, how very funny and lovely - well, nothing else for it when away for a weekend on your own, off we went to sit in the love boat! Seemed rude not too really!
 Inside a lovely little sign, very sweet! I like garden follies, even little ones, they smack of fun and not taking yourself too seriously.
 Ok, we even attempted the random, couple shot, however, I'm not very good at taking pictures so thankfully only Mr Flowers was captured! And, a handsome devil he is too! You can almost see my hat, but not quite, its such a fun photo though I thought I'd put it in, hello Mr F! My best photographic side is my wellies, which were unfortunately absent from this trip (travelling light on the ferry) I'll bring them next time!
Ahem, right, love boat swiftly invaded by Peedie, so off to explore more, the right hand side of the garden is more productvie and raised beds galore, my favourite kind of garden...............what have they got growing in there I wondered, off to explore.
This bit did use railway sleepers, I do like them, I love the formality they give you and the structure whilst being very productive little beds, one day, in a garden of mine, the scene will not be very unlike this, can I put a walled garden on my future house checklist (*Mr Flowers has now choked to death*), um perhaps not a walled garden, but I will have raised beds like these, with nice veggies to boot. Fingers crossed!

 Calendula and lettuce all sit happily by each other, nice to see them - I do like the formality of these plantings..........
 I rather liked the labelling too, often this is hard to get right in a garden but this worked quite well I think................all the veggies and herbs were nicely named, very helpful indeed.
And that Red Russian Kale is going to be lovely later in the winter I think. What a great little amble around a garden we had, and of course, with that quality of a tea room, be rude not to have a cuppa too, and a bit of cake/shortbread. Each table had a sweet little watering can filled with flowers and herbs from the border. No pictures of cakes and tea, too busy scoffing I'm afraid!
A great place to visit if you're in the area, as you do, when adventuring in the North West of Scotland - garden is free but donations are welcomed - the project is truly inspring and the garden full of helpful, complimentary planting ideas. Lots of inspriation about planting and local food/flowers.

Oh, I see they also do lunches, dinners and um weddings.........................food for thought indeed!

17 comments:

  1. i am famous arent i!
    the road is a tremendous drive if you like steep twisty mountain roads. it ascends 2053 ft (over 600m) in only 6 km. this is an everage gradient of more than 10%. with sections reaching 20%. the views are amazing, the drive is exhilirating and applecross at the other side is a fabulous reward with the beautiful inn, the stunning gardens and cafe etc.
    We have to go back!!!

    Mr Flowers.

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  2. What a fabulous tour. I just love the way the garden incorporates all the natural wood, and the boat! The idea of a walled garden is very romantic, it reminds me of my favorite childhood book, the Secret Garden.

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    1. The Secret Garden was a favourite of mine too. I hope you're well..

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  3. Lovely pics and adventure. The Pass of the Cattle is, I think, the highest pass in the UK, so it's not for the feint-hearted, that's for sure. I spent about a month or so in and around Applecross when I were a mere stripling on an outdoor pursuity sort of thingy based at the old Applecross house estate, then owned, I believe,( failing memory, maybe!) by the Wills fag family. Spectacular place, as I recall over forty years later!! Also a lovely small lochside village called Sheldaig sticks in the memory - always fancied living there, and back then, was niaive enough to think I might end up there! Who knows.....

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  4. it is certainly not for the faint hearted, and i totally agree with you about the beauty of the place. it doesnt quite manage to lay claim to the highest pass in the uk however as the glenshee pass reaches a height of 2259ft.However, the Bealach na ba is very much more spectacular and enjoyable to drive.

    Mr Flowers.

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  5. Ooh hello Mr Flowers! Nice to finally meet you! Nice car by the way!

    That garden is more than heavenly...and weddings you say?!

    Vix from MSE

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  6. I remember when we went up the scary road in the days of our camper van. Having been scared stiff I would love to do it again! Applecross is lovely, well worth the trip. Did you meet any other Orkeny folk there?

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    1. Only my ex tutor! I'm sorry the scary road made you scared!

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  7. What an exciting drive that sounds. Hello Mr Flowers nice to "meet" you. Hope you haven't choked but this lady deserves a walled garden.

    I can just about see your eye on that photo and that is the kind of thing we do all of the time.

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  8. What a beautiful looking garden. In my dreams I too have a walled garden with raised beds and beautiful wall-trained fruit. Ah well! Though I think I am most envious of your trip along That Road and lunch at That Pub - has to be the perfect combination. Love the bench.

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  9. Such a day! And your enjoyment of it, and sharing it with Mr F and Peedie, just the best. Feel like I was there except still hungry for the lunch! And a walled garden has been on my list forever, although I've only "seen" them in novels.

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    1. I'd love a walled garden. I'm sorry you missed lunch!

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  10. Ha, I was browsing for some photos of Applecross and my eye was caught by the sign in the boat... I made that sign for our wedding!!! It was initially meant to be our photobooth and was "forgotten" there. So glad to see people found it and liked it as much as we did!
    And I believe I'm working with that ex-colleague of yours!

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    1. How lovely and isn't it just a small world after all!

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  11. Loved your article and photos. I like the way you have incorporated garden sleepers into your garden, which is one of my favourite timber materials for use in landscaping. They are so flexible, hard wearing and natural looking.

    I posted another article on landscaping garden ideas which you may find interesting and can be found here http://sprusasuktimberandfencing.co.uk/best-garden-sleepers-landscaping-ideas

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