In the absence of any real snow so far this Winter, here are some pictures of a recent hoar frost that crystal candied the landscape and looked absolutely stunning… Continue reading A Beautiful Hoar Frost
A couple of weeks ago I helped out at the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme charity open day at Halmyre Mains. The garden is situated between Romano bridge, West Linton and La Mancha just on the edge of the Scottish Borders and they have been opening for SGS for a number of years. Continue reading 8 Halmyre Mains – Charity Open Day
I was recently sent a copy of Alan Tait’s new book – Making For Home – A Tale of the Scottish Borders to review. This is the story of Polmoodie, a decayed sheep farm house in the Moffat valley that was bought by the author in the 1970s and gradually brought back to life as a farm.
Living in the same part of the world and with dreams of one day having my own smallholding I was pretty sure this was a book that I would love. I wasn’t wrong, although not what I was expecting at all – it wasn’t the usual story of someone falling in love with a run down house in a remote area with ensuing tales of getting it in to shape and the locals. Instead, this is a journey from a bleak coastal village on the Solway Firth to the Scottish Borders in search of ‘THE’ house via a Glasgow tenement, all interwoven with a rich history of people, places, the landscape and agriculture through periods of great change.
This is a deeply insightful book that connects the reader to the landscape through its inhabitants over the years. It breathes life into forgotten and difficult times for sheep farmers and how economic and environmental forces beyond their control influenced the rural communities of today. The beautiful photography will transport the reader into Alan’s world as it bring’s it to life. It’ll make you want to grab your coat and head out to the hills, or, if it’s raining, online to search for old run down farmhouses for sale.
I’ve also been inspired to head back to our local auction after reading about the authors collection of paintings, furniture and masonry acquired from various places over the years as he weaves a new and eclectic history into the farm’s story. I’ve now bought the author’s previous book, ‘A Garden in the Hills’ for some further reading.
Alan is an art historian with a particular interest in the history of landscape. For the last forty years he has lived in the Moffat Water valley in the Borders where he farms and gardens. He’s also the author of The Landscape Garden in Scotland 1735-1835 and A Garden in the Hills.
Making For Home is priced at £30 and is available here on Amazon
Yesterday I visited The Potting Shed in Broughton in the Scottish Borders with a couple of local gardening ladies. And, what a lovely visit we had…
It’s a beautiful one acre garden, begun from scratch in 2008, on an exposed and steep hillside at 900 feet and it’s open in June and July on Wednesdays as part of the Scotland’s Gardens scheme.
It’s in a beautiful location and the views are stunning.
Sometimes you find yourself somewhere that you just don’t want to leave, this was one of those places. I was immediately struck by the striking red Scottish Flame Flower (Tropaeolum speciosum) climbing all along the evergreen hedge at the entrance. One of the ladies had bought one on a previous visit and said it’s done really well in her garden running through a conifer hedge. I ended up bringing one home with me as they had them on sale along with a number of other plants (a bargain at £4.00).
I was very envious of the kitchen garden area, lemons, currants, potatoes, beans, raspberries, rhubarb etc all looking like the quintessential cottage garden. The smell of the sweet peas was simply divine, I had to have a ‘drink’ or two of them as I went by.
There’s a courtyard with a pond and all sorts of wonderful climbing roses and shrubs around the outside of the house. There’s a fascinating photograph album there showing the work from ground zero to it’s current state, it’s an impressive achievement.
We headed up into the hill garden – everywhere you look there’s something to delight and admire, and against the backdrop of the lush hills, I dare anyone not to be enchanted. We had a very pleasant rest up in the ‘Sitooterie’ before continuing around the rest of the gardens.
I’m so glad to have found this little slice of heaven. I’ve added a few new plants to my ‘list’ and am hoping that the flame flower works it’s magic in Nine Mile Burn. I’ll be going back for another couple if it does.
It’s only open one more day this season so you’ll have to be quick, or, add it to your gardens to visit in 2018. I know I’ll be going back.
14 June – 19 July 11:00am – 5:00pm (Wednesdays only)
There’s a £4.00 entrance fee (Macmillan Centre at Borders General Hospital receives 40%, the net remaining to Scottish Gardens Beneficiaries)