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Monday, 28 September 2015

Gardens in Orkney - Part 3

Today we're going to Herston in South Ronaldsay to take a look at some gardens that are right on the shore front. The first house has a tiny back garden stuffed with goodies!  Including a wonderful artichoke near a pond.  Hmmm must try artichokes, don't like eating them but I love the structural form of the plants.

This house also had a lovely sculpture for the sweet peas to climb up! Want!

And I loved these dark purple poppies!

And in the front you can see just how close the sea is!

But this would be a wonderful seat on a sunny day (it was grey and drizzling when we went).

And lots of orange poppies....

Then just along the road another colourful front garden.

And yes Palm Trees!  Our climate is mild enough for them to survive and do fairly well, even this far North.

And a surprise along the road, some wee piglets!  I think they are Gloucestershire Old Spot.

And now onto another house with a beautiful garden...

Lots of pots near the front door.  This is quite a good way to grow some of the more "tender" plants that can be put in a greenhouse or more sheltered spot for winter.

Innovative use of a ladder!

Again this house is right on the shore front.  They have had to build some defences against the over-topping of the waves.

A lovely spot though.

And another garden, I was busy talking so didn't get many photos of this one!

Meanwhile the coos didn't think much of all the folk wandering back and forth admiring the gardens!

So that's the end of the garden trail.  Though not quite the end of the story.  A few weeks ago I got a phone call to say I'd won the 1st prize in the Garden Trail Raffle and I got this beautiful necklace!  It's a Sheila Fleet creation and is inspired by the rock pools of Sheila's childhood at Hoxa, not far from these gardens!  I shall be very happy to wear this necklace!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Gardens in Orkney - Part 2

So now we're in Finstown, near the Bay of Firth.  First at the Finstown Community Garden which is always open to the public.  The burn is planted up with perennials and there are trees planted around the park too.

There is also a lovely wee valley with such a wide variety of wonderful plants, many that were new to me.

Just up from the community garden is a wonderful Bluebell Dell, the bluebells had "gone over" but I made a note to go back there in the Spring as they looked beautiful even in decline!

Then to Stenwood, a garden on a North facing slope.  Jock Woods has done a fantastic job of creating a number of different garden "rooms" up the hill.  The photos do not do justice to all his hard work. But this gives you a taster anyway!

The "front" garden

At the back of the house

There be bears in the woods!

THREE bears...we didn't see Goldilocks though

I didn't take so many photos here as I kept stopping to chat to folk I knew!  The garden winds up the hillside through mature trees and shrubs and is just magical!

In the next post we head South to gardens right on the sea shore!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Gardens in Orkney - Part 1

I even spotted a damsel fly near this pool
Many parts of the UK have "Open Garden Weekends" when owners of private houses open their gardens to raise funds for charity.  For the last few years Orkney has joined in too, raising funds through Scotland's Gardens for a variety of charities, and 40% goes to the charity "Friends of the Nuro Ward" at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.  So during June I happily wandered around being nosey in other people's gardens!

Now, Orkney is often considered to be "treeless", which is not so, but given the low lying land and the wind and salt spray most gardeners find the conditions challenging at the best of times, as of course do the plants!  But gardeners are an optimistic lot and here are some photos of some beautiful creations by those who didn't give up!

Firstly we start in Stromness, set back from the sea but still suffering from the gales that blast the landscape 9 months of the year!  David Walker started his garden in 1/2 an acre of a pony paddock. I'm guessing the pony got rehomed!  He did all the stonework himself. The garden is also on a slope so not the easiest piece of land to turn into a garden.

I love the detail

I love this! I want one!

And this one too!

Borders and flowering hedges too

And not a weed in sight!

I love how the plants colonise the wall
And in the woodland area some toadstools for the fairies!

There were lots of "rooms" within the garden

I want the summer house!

And through the trees is Graemsay!

In the next post I'll take you through to Finstown to look at another couple of lovely gardens!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Late Summer catch up

As we approach the Autumn equinox here's some photos from earlier in the summer. Sorry been to busy to post them!  Above - taken last weekend, the evening sun on the fields as farmers still try and get some silage in.

But back in August we had some lovely sunny warm days which almost made up for the poor cool wet summer we'd been having till then.  I took a trip out to Birsay, one of my favourite places on the West Mainland of Orkney.  It's one of my favourite places in Orkney.  There's nothing between the land in Orkney and Canada apart from thousands of miles of sea.  I love thinking about all the folk who sailed with the Hudson Bay Company across those waters.

There are lots of wee inlets worn by the sea.  On the Horizon (ooops a bit crooked that horizon!) is the Brough of Birsay.  A tidal island that is an interesting visit in itself.  But high tide today so just a wander along the shore.

This an old fisherman's hut here, used to keep equipment for the boats that would have been pulled up above the tide.

The old nousts are still visible under the turf.....

The boats would have had to be hauled up from the shore by manpower, or maybe a hand operated winch at the top.

I love the big skies......

And then there is this lovely old Whalebone. Thousands of photos must have been taken of this!  It has an interesting history which I've mentioned before. But for those new to this take a look here

And then on the way home a chance to look at the amazing mural on a house wall!  I think it was part of an art project? or maybe an advert??  Anyway it's still there and always a surprise to come upon. It's the townscape of Kirkwall in the middle of the country.

And in the evening a lovely sunset. Though the sun is creeping back to snuggle into the Hoy Hills in winter.

I love the colours of a sunset....

And of course Button enjoyed the sunny day too!

And here she is showing she is, in fact, a white cat wearing a full bat suit....

The days are getting shorter, but for now we will treasure late summer days!