Posted by: christinelaennec | July 11, 2013

Crathes Castle Gardens: more of the garden, and a fine piece

In my last post, I showed you the June borders at Crathes Castle Gardens.  Here is a small peek at some of the rest of the gardens.  Betty and I, along with other visitors and also the gardening staff, stopped to ooh and aah at these most marvellous flowers, the blue Himalayan poppies.  The shade of blue is really heavenly:

Himalayan poppies (meconopsis) at Crathes Castle Gardens, Aberdeenshire, June 2013.

Himalayan poppies (meconopsis) at Crathes Castle Gardens, Aberdeenshire, June 2013.

The Scottish climate seems to suit them!

The handkerchief tree, seen behind the glasshouses, was looking particularly beautiful:

The handkerchief tree seen behind the top of one of the glasshouses.  Crathes Castle Gardens, Aberdeenshire, June 2013.

The handkerchief tree seen behind one of the glasshouses. Crathes Castle Gardens, Aberdeenshire, June 2013.

Betty took a photo of me at the edge of the lower part of the garden.  Behind you can see some of the yew hedges, which delineate the upper terraces, and a very little bit of the castle.

Moi!  Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Moi! Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Betty and I walked down a path that had this beautiful shrub (enkianthus campanulatus) growing on either side.  The lichen on these plants gives you some idea of how clean the air is.  About half way down this narrow path, I realised that we were completely surrounded by bees!  But they were so busy that they ignored us.

Lichen on shrubs - buzzing with bees.  Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Lichen on shrubs – buzzing with bees. Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Along this path and to your right is the entrance gate – so we have come full circle from the doocot, which is diagonally opposite this corner.

Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.  Looking down from the stairway leading to the upper terraces.

Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013. Looking down from the stairway leading to the upper terraces.

At the top of the stairs there is a terrace, often used for croquet.  The castle is to the left of the photo.  Here you see some of the many amazingly trimmed yew hedges.  These are said to date back to 1702.

The croquet lawn, Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

The croquet lawn, Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Looking back from a staircase leading down from the croquet lawn to more gardens below:

Looking back up towards the castle (and the croquet lawn).  Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Looking back up towards the castle (and the croquet lawn). Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

There are several more “garden rooms” below and behind the croquet lawn.  Here’s one of them, with great swathes of what I believe is nepeta (aka catmint / catnip – I wonder if there is a resident cat?):

Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

And just because I like it so much, another view of the part of the garden where the June borders are:

Looking back down at the lower part of the garden.  Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

Looking back down at the lower part of the garden. Crathes Castle Gardens, June 2013.

I would have liked to stay there all day, but domestic duties called. So Betty and I made our way to the cafe for some refreshment.  Betty treated me to coffee and “a fine piece”.  This is the Aberdonian phrase for something delicious to eat – something from the pastry food group!

And do you know what we had?  Cranachan cake!  In case you’ve never had it, cranachan itself is a very Scottish dessert, made of whipped cream, whisky, raspberries and oats.  The staff at the cafe had taken things a step further and incorporated these ingredients into a cake, which was delicious.  I’m amazed that I had the presence of mind to take a photo before devouring it.

The weather was beautiful and we sat outside.

Betty treated me to coffee and "a fine piece":  cranachan cake!

Betty treated me to coffee and “a fine piece”: cranachan cake!

I will miss Betty, and Crathes, very much.  But I will be back, and I very much hope that she and I can go gallivanting to a nearby castle.  (We went to Drum Castle last summer.)

The National Trust for Scotland has posted several video tours of Crathes Castle Gardens here, if you’re interested.

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Responses

  1. Lovely purple flowers………

  2. Sounds like the two of you had a great day out – love the blue poppies. I don’t recall seeing blue ones before….

  3. What an excellent choice for your ‘fine piece’! Those poppies are glorious and the borders are looking so abundant, it makes me want to nip up to Crathes.

  4. I agree, tearoomdelights, that ‘fine piece’ looks just like ‘my cup of tea’! I made cranachan once and it was quite successful (which is unusual for my cooking). In fact I decided that if ever I visited Scotland I would seek out the real thing for comparison. Now I also have cranachan cake on my ‘to see’ (and eat) list. Hmmm…I wonder if there’s a Scottish restaurant or tea room in Sydney?

  5. Thanks for sharing this lovely trip…
    Hugs
    Erna

  6. Hi Christine! How beautiful this place is! Just the kind of day I am looking forward to when we get over there! Castles and gardens…..and something lovely to eat! Cranachan cake is such a good idea — have never heard of it before but I think I might like it even more than Cranachan. Thanks for your comments. I have been so busy with Vacation Bible School for the kids this week and then madly helping them to finish all their 4h projects before fair check in on Friday. Maybe things will settle down over the weekend and I can catch up on life a bit. 🙂 I hope that you are doing all right with everything on your plate!

  7. What a beautiful garden, and that Scottish dessert sounds perfect to me!

  8. I do like that Aberdonian use of the word ‘fine’. I was quite baffled by it when I first arrived as a student.
    And the nepeta is beautiful. I saw some like it for the first time, the other day, in a garden in Oxford. I had had no idea it can make such a fine display

  9. Wonderful photographs, Christine. You know, I’ve never heard of (much less seen) a handkerchief tree before. What a fabulous thing!

  10. I have never seen such a vibrant blue in nature, Christine – not even in the sky! Thanks for showing that to us. ❤

  11. Such a lovely place to spend the day, soaking up all the beauty of those magnificent gardens! The poppies are the most amazing shade of blue and the handkerchief tree is so well named! The best part is sharing it all with a good friend, including ‘a fine piece’! So glad you were able to enjoy your day and share it with all of us. xo

  12. a lovely picture of yourself amongst the gardens and the cake sounds divine!

  13. Great to see the Dafter looking so well and enjoying herself, the Iron seems to be doing a good job. Loved more pics of the Castle Garden and the fabulous Meconopsis, also love your cardigan is that a home knit??

    Susan

  14. Cranachan cake! With those ingredients it must be wonderful! Whiskey, cream and raspberries…Mmmmm!

  15. […] I’m spending a lot of time hanging around cafés adjacent to health practitioners. Other people, however, get to visit much more interesting coffee shops and ‘tea rooms‘ and eat lime scones fresh from the oven, with homemade lime curd or cranachan cake. […]


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