..... the one in Orkney, that is. I love visiting Happy Valley at any time of the year. It's a garden just outside Stenness which was created by Edwin Harold from a bare hillside from the late 1940s until the 1990s when he became too old to maintain it. Sadly Edwin died in 2005, but the land has been taken over by the local council and is maintained by a group of volunteers called "The Friends of Happy Valley". Lots of new trees have been planted in a new part of the garden, and new saplings are growing where old trees have died. This isn't a garden in the formal sense of the word, but woodland with unusual trees and plants around - the only turkey oak in Orkney for example.
And a monkey puzzle tree! The bark looks so exotic!
I love the garden, there is a stream running through it and tree lined paths. It feels like the woodlands I used to walk through as a child, or ride through with Badger. Edwin built stone waterfalls, arches and bridgeways during his time there. The old stone house is in sad repair now, with the trees and roses hugging it closely, giving it protection, as if they hope Edwin may come back.
I visited the garden with friends on Saturday and we spent a couple of hours just sitting in the sun on the grass outside the old house, listening the the stream burbling in the background, the trees occasionally moving in a light breeze, birds chattering, and the most amazingly loud hum of thousands of insects (seemingly friendly non-bitey creatures). It was magical.
There are trees on Orkney - when I first visited it was the absence of trees that struck me. But now I see there are lots of trees and shrubs around, however woodland is scarce, so Happy Valley is a real treat, hidden away with no ostentatious sign post to direct hoards of visitors. A quiet reflective place full of beauty.
Er - a large yellow flower .....