Winter Woodland Garden Walk

It is a wonderful day. The sky is a pale washed blue, still cold, but hopeful. With the encouragement of a little warmth, the bees are out today, cleaning out their hive and foraging for what nectar they can find.

Let’s walk up through the garden, Donald is working in the bed by the cemetery, which is one of a remarkable 14 beds that he and Hamish have renewed this winter. He is tidying round the entrance sign and digging in homemade compost to restore some of the fertility that years of growing has taken out. Now we are forming our ideas for these beds (A job I can only get them to concentrate on after supper). Renewal is always good for the soul.
Now up the steps, and looking over to the left is a very nice area of Galanthus atkinsii. It is doing well next to the wall; large  slender flowers, of good shape and substance, characterised by a prominent green horse-shoe mark on the petals.   

We now walk up the steps and past the Iris reticulata George. This is a  reliably perennial early iris, along with Katherine Hodgkin. Both are doing well in this well drained sunny bed.

 Crossing over we come to Galanthus plicatus on the corner and turn up the hill.

Climbing up one can stop and stare with frank admiration at the Witch Hazel, Hammemallis xintermedia  Pallida.  It is now a substantial and handsome shrub.
To the right is a small clump of Galanthus Desdemona, a fine double flowered form, best admired by lifting the flower to see the lovely doubling, just like petticoats.  Close by is the first Celandine I have seen this year. Celandines require sunlight to open, and hence are always a welcome sight in February.
On round past the Font Stone and there are more snowdrops under the shrubs. The first is Mighty Atom, with huge flowers, on short stems.  Nearby is Colossus, with its large flowers in tall stems, and Galatea, the 3 large petals resembling rotor blades.
Pause before you leave this are and smell the amazing Sarcocca flowers. This winter flowering evergreen shrub takes a while to settle and grow away, but is worth the waiting.

Now we climb the curving paths and up into the upper parts of the garden. The evergreen shrubs are glistening in the afternoon sun, the variegated hollies looking particularly fine. The Hellebores are sending up their new flowerbeds and will be fine sight soon.
Up past the willow basket planting of Galanthus Magnet, a fine, large flowered snowdrop variety and into areas where plantings of Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop are beginning to bulk up nicely and make an impact. Having visited old estate and castle gardens I realise it will take 100 years to attain those wonderful drifts of snowdrops on banks and stream side, but we have made a good start, and now, 10-15 years on they are looking well.
I am sure to have missed some varieties or forgotten to point out items of interest.

If you come this Sunday we will walk the garden together.

Late Winter Garden Walk
Sunday 24th February - 2pm
Join Margaret at Abriachan Garden Nursery for a late winter & snowdrop walk through the woodland garden with hellebores, early bulbs, iris, aconites, snowdrops, winter trees and shrubs.
Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the start of spring in the garden.
Tea and cake to follow
Adult = £5     RHS Member = £4     Children (Under 12) = Free
Please call to confirm attendance so we know how much cake we need (01463 861 232)

2013 Plant Catalogue - Now Online

So, how did that happen? Suddenly it is 30 years on.
We arrived at Abriachan in 1983 after 12 years living and working in the Falkland Islands. It took us time to settle, but somehow, setting up the nursery and beginning the garden did the job.
We began as all gardens should, by planting vegetables and soft fruit, but the stony soil and the oak and hazel woodlands drew us on up the hill.
So what began with a few alpines, swiftly gained momentum? Don sweated away creating dry stone walls and paths, criss-crossing the hill side and gradually our woodland and dry slope garden took shape.
I believe gardens are always a reflection of their owners and we are no different. We have lived overseas in New Zealand and the Falklands and we grow plants from both places as they mean something to us and also do pretty well in our climate.  Living in Scotland we must accept the limitations of the weather, but nevertheless we find ourselves pushing the boundaries of hardiness all of the time.
Every year we do something new in the garden, and there is still so much to learn. Like many gardeners, we have some favourites and start collections, my personal passions are the old fashion primroses and auricula, and there will be more yet.
It has been 30 years of huge interest and fun.  All of our family have contributed in so many ways and together with our staff and the many in our community who have encouraged us over the years; and not least you, our customers who have made our imaginings come true. We have made something beautiful between us.

Thank you all.
Margaret Davidson

The 2013 Abriachan Nurseries Plant Catalogue is now online  to download as a pdf and to purchase online through paypal
Hardcopies will be sent out in the post in the next weeks, please contact us if you would like to be added to the mailing list
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