It all began many moons ago when I had a phone call from a gentleman asking if I would clear a gutter. Why not indeed? One hour and six years later (that’s how it usually goes in Kirkcudbright), I finally closed the gate on what came to be one of my favourite jobs.
The funny thing is you would never even know there was a garden there, if you weren’t lucky enough to see it; for the front of the house gives no clue as to the joys which lie behind it. But believe me joys a plenty there were.
I became firm friends with the owners, who I always found very convivial. Myself and the gentleman of the house would spend our Saturday mornings enjoying each others company, gardening away and putting the world to rights, while pondering on our favourite sporting teams’ woeful performances. Thankfully, the garden performed much better and we would always be undertaking a new project; perhaps a border renovation or the planting of a newly purchased shrub, all done in good humour and as my comrade would say all in good fun. For the essence of this garden, was passion and joy.
Of course none of it would have been possible without the good lady of the house, who always had a deep love of the garden, although admitting she preferred to see us men toiling and she would just enjoy our endeavours .
A happy trio we were, especially at 11am when drinks and refreshments would be brought out and we would spend the time admiring the garden with much joviality. The drinks went with the season hot in the colder months, cool in the summer and of course chocolate biscuits whatever the weather.
We had many a good laugh, but alas all good things come to an end. Sadly the lady smiling to the end, passed away, and in time, the gentleman became too frail to cope with the house, so I was left alone just tending the garden waiting for new owners to be found and then I could go on my merry way to a new garden.
Although it was never the same on Saturday mornings, I kept the spirit alive by gardening away with a smile on my face, remembering happy times and pausing at 11 to listen for echos of laughter which were ever-present.
The joy of my job is, you never know who you will meet next and what adventures you will have – so to Rory and Pam, I will miss the garden but thanks for all the happy times we had.
When I heard the garden was to be sold I started recording some memories which I’m happy to share.
I’m Gunnera miss you now you are gone!!
One of the features of the garden was a Gunnera. This for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it is as a friend described, it a bit like a Triffid. Some of you may remember, I first published a picture of it was back in April, two months later it was a giant measuring over seven feet.
Unfortunately, the long dry spell sapped its energy and it limped along for the rest of the summer. It being a moisture loving plant usually found at the edges of ponds, (shown above), it did however put one final show of amazing growths, which as you can see are fascinating to look at, resembling encrusted jewels.
My final job in the garden was to cut all the leaves and tuck the Gunnera in for winter.
Thanks for the show my friend.
Pink and proud – Nerine bowdenii
One of the most outrageous blooms in the garden at this time of year, is Nerine bowdenii. Originally from Southern Africa it does well in these parts providing it has well-drained soil and a sunny spot. It likes being planted near the base of walls or in a border providing it has room and isn’t out-competed by other plants. So give it a go and don’t forget your sunglasses.
That Friday feeling
Friday is often the end of the working week for most people – not for gardeners but who am I to complain? Still. I’ve started knocking off early( as I am the boss he he he) and visiting a garden or two on my journey home. Recently I was in Gatehouse of Fleet and on a whim decided to pop into Cally Gardens.
It can be found on what is left of the Cally estate which once extended far and wide and is a gem for those seeking something of a plant lover’s paradise, set in an old walled garden. It has recently changed hands and is on its way to being restored, to lets hope its former glories, although as with all gardens it is a work in progress and may take some time.
As with all gardens there is always something to fascinate a visitor. I had the pleasure of being the only visitor on a glorious October afternoon.
Not glorious in the sunny sense, but in the being surrounded by so many plants and in such a historic setting. Of course everything was slowly fading away but this only added to the atmosphere, which I found myself enjoying so much, that I will visit again when it re-opens next spring.
Meanwhile, here is a slide show to show you what I saw.
Well, time flies and here we are at the end of another blog. The next time we meet will be in November (the 8th to be precise) which can be hard going for some people. However, as per usual, I’ll be doing my best to brighten it up for you with another packed blog, which will include shrubs that illuminate the garden during the dark weather here in Scotland. I’ll also be popping into the mystery garden, as well as chatting about why I love photography so much and trying to encourage everyone to get out there and get snapping.
So until next time enjoy the Autumn and happy gardening, Dave.