Peace and contentment

During my little holiday in Galloway last week I visited a number of beautiful gardens.

Things grow very well in Scotland’s south-west, thanks to a fair bit of rain, warm air from the Gulf Stream and a lack of hard frosts. For these reasons exotic plant varieties are more prevalent in Galloway than in much of the rest of Scotland, and local green-fingered souls make the most of it.

One of the fine horticultural havens you can pay to go round is Logan House Gardens, right next-door to the more well-known Logan Botanic Gardens. At one point a gate allows you to gaze from one garden into the other (they used to be part of the same estate):

The Logan House Gardens side of the gate, looking through to Logan Botanic Gardens

Despite having visited Logan Botanic Gardens many times, I had been snubbing Logan House Gardens since I was a tot (when I’m reassured I visited, although I have no memory of it). Sticking the camera through the gate, here’s what you can see of Logan Botanics from Logan House:

The main thing that put me off venturing into Logan House Gardens before was the lack of a tearoom. To my mind, a garden is all very well, but a garden with a tearoom is a far more attractive prospect. Since Logan Botanics has an excellent tearoom, it always won out, leaving poor old Logan House without my contribution to its upkeep.

Last week, after stopping at an exellent tearoom en route (the scones were so good that we went back the very next day for more):

An oustandingly good fruit scone near Logan House Gardens

my delightful assistants and I headed off to Logan House Gardens.

The gardens surround a large pink house, which is privately owned and not open to the public:

Logan House: a vision in pink

The grounds are quite substantial and contain a variety of habitats. In early September there was a dominance of foliage over flowers, and one of the things that struck me was the amount of green abounding.

At one corner of the garden there was a grassy avenue planted with palm trees on one side and monkey puzzles on the other. After a destructive storm on Boxing Day 1998, part of the avenue was destroyed. The small monkey puzzles in the foreground were post-storm additions, planted to replace the damaged specimens:

Avenue of palms and monkey puzzles

In addition to the above, Logan House contains prize specimens of over 20 different tree species, 14 of which are Scottish champions and 7 of which are UK champions. I forget now if this one is a champion or not, but in any case it’s a pretty spectacular fellow – the octopus tree, Pinus radiata:

Two small assistants scurrying away from the enormous tentacles of the octopus tree

An attempt to get the whole of the octopus tree into the picture (I didn’t quite manage it, but you get the idea, it’s large)

One of the areas I found particularly interesting was the Tunnel Walk, which was criss-crossed with interestingly twisted tree trunks and branches:

Twisting trees in the Tunnel Walk at Logan House Gardens

The light as I walked through this area had a magical quality. I felt that wood nymphs ought to be playing in the spotlight, and perhaps they were, I just didn’t see them:

Playground of wood nymphs

The website for Logan House Gardens claims that they have ’40 shades of green’, to which I would respond ‘at least’.

A few of the 40 shades of green

More greens

Before I started writing it, I entitled this post ‘Peace and contentment’ because when I thought of Logan House Gardens, that was what sprang to mind.

It’s a shame it’s taken me so long to appreciate its splendour, but I will certainly be visiting it again when I get the chance.

I’m looking forward to its welcoming driveway luring me in next time to surprise me with more treasures.


42 thoughts on “Peace and contentment

  1. Beautiful and very sexy looking scone. If scones can be considered as sexy. Personally I don’t see why a girl shouldn’t consider scones as better than chocolate and so, by default…..

  2. What a beautiful place! I love the tunnel walkway – it looks magical. I would love to see what the garden looks like in spring, as well, with all the spring bulbs coming out. I’ve never heard of octopus trees! They look amazing. In a different way, the scone looks amazing, too!

    • Thank you Jo, I would like to see it in spring too, I believe it’s very good for rhododendrons and azaleas so it would be wonderful to see them in full bloom. I’ll clearly have to go back next spring, that’s all there is to it. The octopus trees are magnificent aren’t they?

    • Scones are an added attraction in my book or, quite often, the main feature. I suppose you could say I’m lucky in my metabolism or whatever it is, I don’t really put on weight. Mind you, I eat small portions and when I’m full I stop eating (in theory at least, I must admit to overdoing it now and then with something very tasty).

  3. You’re dead right about the greens Lorna, they are indeed many and varied. Do you know what those ENORMOUS leaves are in picture number 10 (3rd from the end)?

    Was there much birdlife amongst all the non-native tree species? I hope so, because I think birdsong is the crowning glory of woodland. Amazing place πŸ™‚

    • I agree Finn, birds make a woodland come alive, and there certainly were birds there, although more to be heard than seen, as I recall. I did surprise one large raptor in a very quiet area just outside the garden. It was surprisingly big and I wondered if it might be an eagle, but I couldn’t honestly say. I’m not sure if they’d be amongst foliage normally, would they? I think of them as being out in the wide open spaces. It seemed bigger than a buzzard, and it was in a clear patch of greenery next to a pond.

      There were loads of butterflies too, mostly on a buddleia which was doing great business. I’ve sometimes wondered why the plant is dubbed the ‘butterfly bush’, because I’ve never seen that many butterflies on buddleia, but it all became clear to me in Logan House Gardens.

      I should have added a caption about those big greens, they’re Gunnera, otherwise known as ‘giant rhubarb’, and they grown in profusion in Galloway.

  4. Both gardens are simply magical! And I always wondered what a monkey puzzle tree looked like – I heard the name in “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” movie. It looks like you had a wonderful holiday… πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Meg, it was a lovely holiday. I should have taken a close-up of the monkey puzzles. I think they’re marvellous trees, and when they’re big they’re really quite impressive. People sometimes grow them in their gardens here, but you need quite a lot of space for them.

  5. I think there may be Tree Ents who live in these parts too. Perhaps that big octopus tree fellow was taking a nice long nap! Very inspired to get out there and enjoy those private gardens around Sydney area, but dare I say they wouldn’t have anything on your Tearooms in Scotland πŸ™‚

    • I think you could be dead right about the Tree Ents, Alice, it would be an ideal place to find them. I like the idea of the octopus taking a nap. πŸ™‚ I would say go for it with the Sydney gardens, and as I’ve discovered with Logan House Gardens, you don’t always need a tearoom inside a garden (as long as you can find one not too far away…).

  6. Tranquility and inspiration, similar to peace and contentment. I have just done a post after visiting a garden but the garden was not of such a grand scale as this one.

  7. I’ve been getting a kick out of reading all the comments because I was struck by the same things: the incredible lushnous of the gardens, that tantalizing scone (it’ll be starring in my dreams tonight), and the astonishing size of those leaves! You should’ve peaked under some of them…they’re might be a whole tearoom under there. –Lucinda :0)

    • Ha ha, what a brilliant idea, a tearoom under the Gunnera! Both myself and my delightful assistant were photographed under the leaves, so there certainly was room for taking tea. I’m still dreaming of that scone myself…. πŸ™‚

  8. That scone is luscious looking…smart of you to go back for more…and the photos of the gardens are spectacular. What a gorgeous, peaceful spot where you must have been humbled by the size of that tree and the years it’s been there. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Wow! What an amazing garden. I love the assistants scurrying away from the octopus tree, and most particularly the wood nymph photograph. It looks just like that BBC1 i.d. sequence, with the fairies fluttering around just such a place.

    It must have been a great garden indeed, to tempt you even without scones!

    • Thank you Christine, I think that BBC sequence was what I had in the back of my mind, but I didn’t realise it until I read your comment. You’re quite right that it had to be good to encourage me to spend a considerable time exploring without thought of my stomach.

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