Summer is here! We have had scorching temperatures – as high as 24C / 75F! Aberdonians are complaining about not being able to tolerate the heat. I know this will make some of my North American and Australian readers smile.
I’m going to take you back to last month, when I had a wonderful morning’s jaunt with my friend and neighbour Betty, to Crathes Castle Gardens. It was such a lovely day, and although spring was very cold and late this year, the June borders seemed to have more or less caught up with themselves. I thought I’d show you them first, and then in another post, other parts of the garden.
The castle itself looked “affa bonny” the morning we visited:
Below is a view of the front of the castle. The large windows that you see on this side of the castle were put in once it ceased to have a defensive function. You can see the slits on the wall from earlier days, from where you could shoot your crossbow at mauraders. There are also holes in the overhanging top story for pouring boiling oil on attackers.
I’m not sure when the wing to the right of the main part of the castle was built. I think part of it is a self-catering flat you can rent if you’re a National Trust member. Imagine that!
Here’s Betty, under the shade of the lime trees:
And here we are inside the garden, now looking back towards the entrance gate, with the pleached lime walk beyond the wall. I believe that a large part of the garden as it now exists was designed in the 1920s, although parts of it are far older. I’ve often wondered if this “white walk” was inspired by Vita Sackville-West’s white garden at Sissinghurst.
Betty pointed out to me how pleasing the flagstones are, something I hadn’t really noticed.
This path leading down towards the doocot (doves’ house) is always stunning at this time of year:
This part of the garden reminds me of Monet’s garden at Giverny, although without the long wait to get in and without the hundreds of other people milling about.
While we were in the garden, there was a French couple visiting as well. The man was blind, and his wife was describing the garden to him: “Il y a des milliers de fleurs,” she said: there are thousands of flowers. My first reaction was to feel very sorry that the man couldn’t see the beauty around him. But I quickly realised that the experience of being in the garden isn’t just visual. The birds were singing, the bees were buzzing, and there was a soft breeze carrying the scent of the lilacs and other blossoms.
In the next installment, I’ll show you some of the rest of the garden. What a beautiful day we had for it!