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 Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens. 
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Post Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
July this year I went with my ferny friends Tim and Alison to meet up with a group from the Dutch and Belgian fern society who were doing a tour of Scottish gardens (and nurseries, of course...). To my shame this was to be my fist time north of the border so I was looking forward to the trip immensely. The plan was to meet the Dutch boys at Logan botanic gardens. The weather was absolutely fantastic - low 20s, nice and sunny. First thing you notice is an avenue of trachies. Also caught my eye straight away was this beautifully textured climber Parthenocissus himalayana that clothed an arch into another part of the garden. I'd seen it before but never looking quite so sexy.

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As we moved through the fst part of the garden there was just the most sumptious array of specimen plants. Blechnum palmiforme was planted in abundance, as was B. cycadifolia. Easy to distinguish as young plants, at this size they were pretty much identical. The New Zealand pampas, Cortaderia richardii, thrived in this climate and was widely planted in gardens everywhere. Massive Cordyline banksii - not an easy one to grow.


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Dutch contingent arrived at lunchtime then we continued around the garden. Our very own Remko stands by a huge Lophosoria quardipinnata for scale, also of note some massive Cordyline australis, some young Lobelia milbridgii, a fine plum coloured Diarama and some venerable old Dicksonia antarctica.


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After leaving the garden we headed for the ferry to take us over to the Isle of Bute. A totally captivating and enchanting process surrounded by the most wonderful scenery. Porpoises accompanied the ferry across, too quick for me to capture with the camera - the zoom is playing up!


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Comfortable hotel right on the quayside (not the posh one in the pic!), nice meal in town at a restaurant that accommodated the whole group! Next day - Ascog Fernery!

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Last edited by Paul Spracklin on Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:53 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Day two. First up was a trip to a field to have a look at some rare fern or other - I didn't fancy it so spent the morning looking around Rothesay. What a cute place! Restored Victorian lavs, winter garden and an art deco pavilion about to be restored.

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Then the briefest of drives to the fernery at Ascog Hall. Beautifully restored Victorian fernery containing a Todea barbara claimed to be over 1000 years old. Not sure about that, but it was a colossal fern in 1878 - bigger than it is now, in fact. Also in the grounds a Dicksonia antarctica with the biggest crown spread I have ever seen!


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Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:55 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Day two still!

Took the Rubodach - 'Rubber Duck' as Tim called it - ferry to the mainland and drove to Benmore gardens. Vast place set in mountains, totally awesome. We strolled through an immense avenue of Redwoods, visited a fernery (naturally) built into a rock face then had the briefest of wanders to the Chilean garden. Vision and imagination - they have been planting Araucaria by the dozen here - oh to be able to return in 50 years! But we couldn't stay that long as we had to drive on to Edinburgh for our overnight stay.


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Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:50 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
pic

u8zo77f87

impressive! compared to trying to grow a cycad and it going yellow (they always go yellow here :roll: )

Crazy what can be grown if selective about plants. The look you can achieve is fantastic.

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Last edited by themes on Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:30 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Last day. Well, nearly. Edinburgh Botanic Gdns. My first time there, not my last - out-classes Kew in most respects IMO. We were fortunate enough to have a 'behind-the-scenes' tour from one of the guys in charge of the glasshouses there and, in particular, the arid house. But it was all too brief with little time to take pictures. Here is a random selection.

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As a kind of addendum to the trip, the next day on our journey back home we called into a garden called Craigieburn, a remarkable place built around a torrent-filled gorge by a former Nepalese sherpa. Dotted around the place were specimens of this gigantic arisaema. He claims they are from 16000ft in the Himalaya but - really? - that is above the snow line surely? Anyway, we'll see how they cope with dry old Essex next year :)


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So my first trip to Scotland. Nothing remotely like I expected - going back in spring!

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Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:31 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
This looks so exciting, I've always wanted to check out some Scottish gardens - Craigieburn in particular. Great photos


Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:23 am
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Wow thanks for posting Paul you are gradually filling some holiday hot spots for us to visit, loving those large Blechnum at the start of thread, neither I have growing here....someone needs to propagate lots of them! :idea:
Its amazing what can be grown so far north I am guessing the huge body of water around Logan is the deciding factor my closest coastline is 89 miles away. :(

Did you get yourself a Nepalese Arisaema?
The Todea at Tremenheere must be bulking up in size now but that one has a huge trunk, certainly very old indeed, a cracking fern.


Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:40 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Thanks for sharing Paul, looking at your photos you would not guess you were so far north. :wink:

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Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:24 am
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Yes, totally destroyed any preconceptions I had about what can and can't be grown that far north. Obviously it is very mild and very wet. I assumed lack of summer heat would have been more of a factor (it was gorgeous weather - 25C whilst walking round Benmore) but perhaps a significant issue (and overlooked by me completely) is all the extra sunlight in summer (so therefore during the growing seasons). It didn't start to get dark until gone 10pm and dusk lasted for ages.

Those Blechnum are amazing. I have a B. cycadifolium dong very well here and had been keen to find palmiforme but, having seen how totally alike they are, probably won't bother now. And, yes, I did pick up one of those amazing arisaema. Not only are they huge but the stems are almost black with mottling and the leaf reverse is metallic mauve. I think it will struggle in Essex but I have to give it a go.

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Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:57 am
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Paul Spracklin wrote:
Yes, totally destroyed any preconceptions I had about what can and can't be grown that far north. Obviously it is very mild and very wet. I assumed lack of summer heat would have been more of a factor (it was gorgeous weather - 25C whilst walking round Benmore) but perhaps a significant issue (and overlooked by me completely) is all the extra sunlight in summer (so therefore during the growing seasons). It didn't start to get dark until gone 10pm and dusk lasted for ages.


Wonderful photos, Paul. Scotland is rather infectious. You may have caught the bug.

I'm sure that's right about the light duration during the growing season helping to compensate for the lack of heat and light intensity, having spent time up there at various seasons recently.

Of course, at Logan, you not only have the benefit of the warm current, but it isn't especially far north either: Logan is on the same latitude as Durham.

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Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:18 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
David Matzdorf wrote:
but it isn't especially far north either: Logan is on the same latitude as Durham.


David, I consider Colchester to be 'up north', let alone Durham... :)

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Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:20 am
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
Hmmm. Up North. Hmmm.

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Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:41 pm
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Post Re: Brief visit to Scotland: three days, four gardens.
John Jearrard wrote:
Hmmm. Up North. Hmmm.


That would be Bristol for you John :lol:


Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:02 pm
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