Best wishes for a successful and happy year in 2015.
Garden enthusiasts enjoy an autumn walk in the University of Dundee Botanic Garden Dundee. The girls are part of the Glasgow Garden Walks Group. The group have been visiting Scotlands gardens fortnightly for over ten years.
Arran October 2014.
We had four lovely days exploring the highways and bye ways of this beautiful island which is often described as Scotland in miniature.
The harbour at Blackwaterfoot on the West coast of Arran.
Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh.
One of the Weeping Girls by Laura Ford in the Gala Hill wood at Jupiter Artland, Wilkiestown near Edinburgh.
The Kelpies, Helix Park, Falkirk.
Public art by Andy Scott. Very dramatic and worth seeing. This and the Falkirk Wheel represents a good day out for anyone living close to or in the central belt. The picture above was taken on a grey overcast day.
This picture was taken two days later and it is amazing what a difference sunlight, albeit hazy sunlight, can make.
Staffa and Fingal's Cave.
Another successful expedition to Oban, Mull, Iona and Staffa was enjoyed by a party of four adventurers. The picture below is of Fingals cave on Staffa on a calm day!
The garden walk in Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll is always popular.
Abbotsford House and Garden near Melrose in the Scottish Borders.
On April the third a party of sixteen visited Abbotsford House garden. Click on Scotlands Gardens 2014 and scroll down to read all about it. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Brian.
First Aid at the Slochd near Inverness
I'm just back from two days well spent at the Slochd Mohr Lodge Hostel near Carrbridge, Invernesshire. I was taking part in a two day course on First Aid where the practicals were undertaken out of doors on snow and on the ground.
The course was run by the British Association of Ski Patrollers (BASP). Go to links for more information.
Dawyck is one of our favourite gardens. This photograph was taken by my good friend Edith Ryan of the Clyde Valley this year. It is a splendid show of snowdrops by the burn. Snowdrops were brought back from the Crimea by our soldiers following the Crimean War and for me they are a symbol of hope. Hope that springs eternal.
And now for something completely different!
New film on traditional games featuring Annie Sutherland was filmed in Glasgow Scotland.
Brian Sutherland Junior's film on Scotlands Traditional Games can be viewed via this link -
Neptune's Staircase Puffer
On our way South from Malliag we saw smoke rising over Neptunes Staircase. Upon investigation we found an amazing sight. Steam Puffer VIC 32 is kept in working order by the Puffer Preservation Trust. Puffers were the lifeline of the communties living in the West coast of Scotland. Working out of Glasgow they delivered everything from coal to groceries. Read the Para Handy books by Neil Munro for a flavour of life aboard the Clyde Puffers.
Knoydart ... the last wilderness in Europe.
For the story and useful information go to Expeditions 2013 and look for Knoydart.
Our tour of the Shetland Islands was a great experience. Here are some pictures.
Scalloway - the old Norse or Viking capital of the Zetland Islands.
This Viking Galley sailing up your voe or sea loch would scare most people.
Lea garden showing what can be achieved provided shelter is established. From a distance you cannot tell that there is a garden hiding behind a sustantial shelter belt of young tree.
Puffins at Sumburgh Head on the Shetland mainland. You can get up close and enjoy seeing the birds sleeping and coming and going.
Iconic Shetland Ponies "shelties" at the Croft House Museum.
Waterworld by the tombola at St Ninians Isle. Laura, Irene and Diane. A wonderful place to swim as the water was warmer than normal here. Watch out for the odd flatfish.
If you would like to learn more about Shetland go to Expeditions 2013 then Shetland Islands.
Elizabeth Macgregor, Ellenbank, Kirkcudbright.
We had a wonderful day in Kirkcudbright visiting the above nursery. We also had time to visit E A Hornel's Garden (National Trust for Scotland) nearby.
The walled garden at Ellenbank was stunning.
Geranium Rosanne putting up a great show for Diane.
There are links to Elizabeth MacGregor's web site and her catalogue in the Links section.
E A Hornel's garden at Broughton House, Kirkcudbright is another superb garden.
We had a fabulous summer holiday on the Isle of Arran. Birchdean had a special visitor when we were there.
This one year old stag called in to see if the apples were ready to eat.
It was remarkably tame and and didn't mind being asked for a photograph.
Welcome to my world of gardens and exploring of Scotland's magnificent landscapes.
Feel free to browse this web site. My computer tells me that there are over two hundred pictures for you to enjoy. Some are on the website because individuals have kindly given their permission for their excellent photographs to be used. Liz, Alison and Mike are examples.
Asters in late summer. Falkland Palace in the Kingdom of Fife.
If you do nothing else please enjoy looking at the photographs which illustrate the beauty and depth of Scotland’s Gardens and Landscapes. If you like what you see pass the web site details to your friends.
I have initiated a new approach to presenting information. When you come into the site you will first encounter the very latest features and additions. As the months roll by these will be replaced by new information and pictures. Hopefully, for my regular viewers, the site will always be fresh and interesting.
In addition I have introduced Plant of the Month and soon this will be joined by Tree of the Month. These will be my personal selections and I hope you enjoy seeing and reading about them. If you would like to see the expeditions we are undertaking this year go to Expeditions 2013. Best wishes,
Brian Sutherland. February 2013.
A Feast of Snowdrops.
Millions of snowdrops grace the parkland in a private garden near Crossmichael in the historic Stewartry of Kirkcudbright (Dumfries and Galloway). In some areas it looks as if there are great drifts of snow as far as the eye can see.
Gracing the parkland are also small drifts of Winter Aconite. Both plants take advantage of the natural light at this time of year. Many of them are growing under trees which are not in leaf at present.
The great beech trees which are around 250 years old cast a lot of shade in the summer. In fact a great carpet of moss runs through the beech trees which is comfortable underfoot. At present the lack of leaves means that these bulbs are getting plenty of sunlight. By the time the snowdrop leaves die back the trees will be coming into leaf.
Everyone present in our walking group thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Some spotted a Red Kite passing over. We all heard but could not see the Woodpecker drumming away on one of the great trees. We saw Long Tailed Tits flitting through the trees.
Walking in the fresh air in gardens and woodlands is good for you. One lady commented that she could feel her blood pressure dropping as we walked along. I believe her as I have felt similar sensations on calming relaxing garden and woodland walks. To be in good company is a bonus.
28 02 13.
St. Andrews Botanic Garden and Cambo House Snowdrops by Starlight. 2013.
The day before our garden walk we had snow, sleet and rain in Glasgow. The weather for our journey east was all sunshine, sunshine and sunshine. How lucky we can be with good weather. 2012 tested us a bit with more bad days than usual. This time it was good.
We are fairly regular visitors to St Andrews Botanic Garden as we often visit when we are in the area. We were shocked to learn that the gardens future is in doubt again. We were advised that Fife Council are looking for budget savings and are wanting St. Andrews University to pay more towards it's upkeep. The Friends of the botanic garden group are trying to find ways of saving the garden and securing it's future for the long term. So far as I could understand it the idea of using a Trust for the future of the garden is under consideration.
The garden was as interesting as it always is. Cacti and succulents are interesting all the year round.
Photograph by Sue Meare. Copywright 2013.
One of our party, Sue, disturbed a magnificent Heron at the pond in the garden. It took flight into a Scots Pine tree close by. Sue was able to take several good photographs. Sue has kindly sent me a copy for you to enjoy.
We were welcomed into the classroom to see a snowdrop under the microscope. It was fascinating. Beautiful.
The classroom is a glasshouse modified to make an excellent education space for people of all ages. A substantial programme of fun and educational activities is based here. Bob Mitchell is the Honorary Curator of the Botanic Garden and was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Long Service Medal. An honour well earned.
From past experience this is a garden which is worth visiting at any time of year.
Web address: www.st-andrews-botanic.org
Snowdrops by Starlight Cambo House.
The lighting of trees and landscape was well done. Many of the great trees such as Fagus sylvatica, Beech, looked magnificent lit up. We wondered how many chairs and tables the great trunk or bole would produce? There were remarkably few snowdrops to see on the circular walk. Maybe this new route will be improved by planting great drifts of snowdrops which would really make it “snowdrops by starlight”. There could have been more music which might have created a better atmosphere at different locations. The sound of bird song was welcome and cheering.
One image is long lasting. What appeared to be a lantern slide of a few snowdrops projected onto an outbuilding wall created a bit of atmosphere at the beginning of the walk. Children enjoyed the “snowdrop walk” with some enjoying searching for the answers to a quiz which was entertaining.
The solution for Cambo could be to allow entry to the garden in the afternoon to see the snowdrops in daylight and then Snowdrops by Starlight in the evening. For the price of an evening ticket customers would see millions of snowdrops in sunlight and then a good light and sound show in the evening. That would be great value for money.
However, despite noting a dearth of snowdrops by starlight, everyone I talked to and those who spoke to me after the event said they enjoyed it.
Galanthus 'Grumpy'. Photograph by Elizabeth Milne. This photograph was taken in the classroom at St Andrews Botanic Garden.
From past experience Cambo is a garden which is worth visiting at any time of year.
If you have not visited either destination I recommend St Andrews Botanic garden in the morning and Cambo House Garden in the afternoon. Give yourselves an hour to an hour and a half extra in St Andrews exploring South Street, Market Street and North Street of the ancient walled city. Return in the evening for the Pictures – St Andrews has its own picture house.
Time to say goodbye to Snowdrops by Starlight and go home to bed!
Web address: www.camboestate.com
New Feature - Plant of the Month.
For February I have chosen the delightful snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis.
Snowdrops (Galanthus) have always been a popular flower in early spring. They burst into life and display the beautiful white green flowers very quickly in late January and February. There are hundreds of varieties. Some are of botanical interest and not as striking as the garden varieties. The common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, is as worthy of space in the garden as any other. Others such as Galanthus 'Arnott Giant' in the photograph give a splendid show in the garden with
stems over six inches long.
I have seen honey bees busy collecting pollen and nectar from snowdrops in late winter. Snowdrops have a gorgeous scent and at Balbirnie House in Fife over fifty years ago we picked, bunched and sold them to the public and the flower markets. Thanks to insect pollination many snowdrops form seed. Sow and grow the seedlings because you may find a new hybrid of garden merit. It is worth a try.
Our Garden Walks group (part of the Walking Programme Glasgow) have visited The Linns on Sherriffmuir to be shown round by Dr Evelyn Stevens who, without doubt, is one of the foremost experts on Galanthus. She has over one hundred different varieties of snowdrop growing mainly in a garden setting.
People who collect snowdrops are called Galanthofiles. In many of Scotland's private house estates and gardens there are plantings and collections of snowdrops which have been in existence for over one hundred years. In recent years gardens with collections of snowdrops have been opened to the public so that everyone has the opportunity to see what often are great drifts of snowdrops. If fact this has developed into one aspect of horticultural tourism.
If you would like to see where you can go to see snowdrops Visit Scotland have a web site to help you. www.visitscotland.com/snowdrops
An unusual evening event is Snowdrops by Starlight at Cambo House on the east coast of Fife. Put Snowdrops by Starlight in you search engine and the details of the event will be available. But do it soon as the event only runs from the 13th. To the 17th. of February.
You can book tickets by calling 01333 450 054. Tickets must be booked in advance. http://camboestate.com
I have been amazed at how quickly the bookings have been made this year. There are very few places left. Take a look and see if you would like to go to the Outer Hebrides or the Orkney Islands.
Our favourite cow - a herd of Belted Galloway. A surprise find on Lewis.
Bookings are on a first come first served basis. You can also go on the reserve list for all of the expeditions. If someone is unable to go for whatever reason you could be offered a place. Book early to avoid disappointment. Click on Expeditions 2013 to see the uptodate position.
New feature - recent walks starting with Dumfries House January 2013.
The wind blew twad blawn it's last
The rattling showers upon the blast
That day a child might understand
The deil had business on his hand!
Robert Burns would recognise this minor adaptation of this fragment of Tam O'Shanter. I cannot think of words more apt for our baptism of fire as we travelled from Glasgow towards Culzean Castle. To add to our pain we received a message from Culzean Estate to say that the Country Park was closed due to high winds. Where is Plan B?
All photographs in this item on Dumfries House by Elizabeth Milne. Copyright 2013.
Plan B was to divert to Dumfries House and that is just what we did. Shortly before our arrival there was thunder lightning, sleet, hail and snow. Quite a storm in fact. Had we not been told about it we would not have believed it. The sun shone and skies turned a beautiful blue. Only the bitting cold gave anything away about what had gone before.
The extreme weather had reduced our party from fifteen to eight and only two of our friends had visited Dumfries House before. We walked the estate taking in the fine Sequoiadendron giganteum (Giant Redwood) grove, the many fine trees and the Adam bridge. The bridge is to be restored. At present wooden balustrades kept us from “falling in the water!”
Bridge designed by Adam.
The wonderful thing about Dumfries House is that each time we visit there is more to see. The Café in the stable block is now open and very comfortable it is too. Those who do lunch were very happy with the soup. The staff were helpful and friendly as was the case in the House on previous visits. In fact if you are made to feel welcome and treated with courtesy and in a friendly way you will value the experience.
The branches are almost as big as the trunk ... Laura and Irene have a close look.
Having been impressed by the ambiance of our walks and of the latest restorations of out buildings, including the sawmill and laundry, we could not resist the invitation to visit Knockroon on the way back to Glasgow. Nestling on the edge of the Dumfries House estate is the very beginnings of a new village. It doesn't look new in style. It looks like a wee Scottish village like bits of Eaglesham for example. Houses of all shapes and sizes and a bit higgelty piggelty. The insides were very interesting and most of the girls had a good look at the interiors. Most were impressed with what they saw. Especially the amount of space within the houses. Some could take it or leave it. Still it was worth a wee look on the way home.
Knockroon. Photograph the Prince's Foundation.
We agreed that Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay took on a big challenge when he rescued the Chippendale furniture which was on its way south to be shipped to America. Dumfries House will be a major tourist destination and the opportunities created for employment and education will benefit the local community and others from further afield for years to come.
Haste ye back. Yes we will be back to walk the 200 acre estate for years to come. God, the wind, the rain and sleet willing.
Giant Redwood in Leckmelm Arboretum near Ullapool.
Photograph Elizabeth Milne. Copyright.
Latest News and Pictures.
For the most uptodate information and pictures go to the Gardeners Log of this month. You can see what we have been doing and pictures of gardens and people.
It has been a happy year visiting the remote and beautiful areas of Scotland. To my friends who have travelled with me ... thank you. To everyone who visits this site please have a Peaceful Christmas and a Good New Year. Lang may yer lum reek!!!
If you would like to receive regular updates on Scotlands Gardens and Landscapes send me your name and email address. You will be sent information by email once or twice a month. Please do contact me if you think that I can be of help to you.
There is still plenty of interest on my website for people who want to know more about Scotlands Gardens and Landscapes. I hope that you enjoy what you see.
If you want to use the information on this site to help you plan your visit to Scotland I hope it will give you inspiration. Please come to Scotland. You will be amazed - friendly people and beautiful places are guaranteed.
Feedback is important. I will value your comments. I hope to learn from them.
Best wishes, Brian Sutherland.
My tour of Skye and Raasy was popular and I have bookings for next year. A few new destinations are taking shape e.g. Dumfries and Galloway and Inverewe and Leckmelm. At the same time tried and tested expeditions such as Banffshire and Aberdeenshire landscapes and gardens are still attracting fellow travellors.
If you would like to explore these and many more parts of Scotland contact me. All we need is a minimum of three people and we can go anywhere in Scotland! Future destinations in 2013 will include Colonsay, the Shetlands and Knoydart.
Love Scotland … will travel. You will not be dissappointed.
Take a look at the programme for 2013 and give me a ring if you would like more information.
Enjoy exploring Scotlands gardens and landscapes.
Vatersay, South of Barra in the Western Isles.
Introducing Scotlands Gardens and Landscapes.
Scotlands gardens and landscapes are among the most beautiful in the world. They are so dramatically different.
From the Western Isles to the Scottish Borders. From bonnie Galloway to the Orkney Isles. It is a joy to visit these places and to walk the landscapes. On a micro scale within these landscapes are beautiful gardens waiting to be explored.
For over ten years I have been leading groups to visit and explore Scotlands gardens and landscapes. We call our tours expeditions because there is always an adventure and something exciting and new to be found. We never know whats round the corner on our travels. We have visited water gardens, botanic gardens, winter gardens, walled gardens, estate gardens, woodland gardens, castle gardens, training gardens, demonstration gardens and more.
We have seen beautiful wild landscapes and more ordered ones. We have seen Porpoises, Dolphins, Minke Whales and Orcas. We have seen many red squirrels and grey ones too. From time to time we see Red Deer, Roe Deer, Hares, Rabbits and on one occassion a Stoat in full ermine coat. We have viewed many birds including Woodpecker, Sea Eagle and Red Kite.
The Isle of Kerrera off Oban. Photograph by Mike Bywater. Copyright 2013.
See Scotlands dramatic and different landscapes. Towns, villages, Lochs and vast expanses of moorland mountain and sea. With a little luck see wildlife. Deer, eagles, seals, red kite and maybe otters. It is little wonder that exiled Scots and visitors want to return to this beautiful place. I did.
I want to share Scotland with you and be with you when you say WOW!
Copyright © 2012 Brian Sutherland.
All photographs are copyright © Brian Sutherland unless otherwise attributed.