Dun Dubh

Dun Dubh
Dun Dubh

Imagine waking up to this view every morning! The lucky owners of Ben Dubh do exactly that – admittedly, not usually with such brilliant blues, but this is Scotland. Ben Dubh (pronounced Doo) is a private house which opens its garden once a year to raise funds for charity as part of Scotland’s Gardens. That’s when the rest of us get to share the view of Loch Ard and Ben Lomond beyond.

The garden is late Victorian and comprises six terraced acres running down to the loch. I think the best thing I can do is just shut up and show you the pictures.

Beautiful at it is, I’m not sure I’d actually like to live there. The last time we visited Loch Ard was December when the road flooded and we got cut off. I think I’ll stick to city living for now.

I’m linking this post to Jude’s Garden Challenge – for June, she is looking for the essence of summer. Strictly speaking, this doesn’t qualify as it was May but, hey, in Scotland we take summer when we can and sometimes May and September are our best months. I don’t think, in any case, you can get more summery than blue skies and sun glinting on the water! Click through to Jude’s blog to see her beautiful garden photography and other people’s summer selections in the comments.

Mugdock in the snow

Craigend Pond
Craigend Pond

It stopped raining last weekend! Just so that it could snow. Anyway, it was good to get out for a walk, or more like a slither, round Mugdock Country Park which looked beautiful: gleaming white. The park is home to a 14th century castle and the ruins of two mansions with their associated out-buildings and gardens. From 1949-1955 it also had a zoo, with lions and an elephant, but thankfully there is now no trace of that.

Walled Garden
Walled Garden
Visitor Centre (Craigend Stables)
Visitor Centre (Craigend Stables)
Craigend Field
Craigend Field
Craigend Castle
Craigend Castle
Mugdock Castle
Mugdock Castle
John
John
Garden at Mugdock Castle
Garden at Mugdock Castle
Garden and Georgian summerhouse
Garden and Georgian summerhouse
Mugdock Castle and remains of Victorian mansion
Mugdock Castle and remains of Victorian mansion
Archers
Archers

Linked to Jo’s Monday Walks and Jude’s Winter Gardens Challenge. Both well worth a look!

January: Winter Gardens

People's Palace and Winter Gardens
People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow

The picture above has appeared on this blog before, but I’m recycling it for Jude’s new Garden Challenge. Her theme for January is Winter Gardens – head to her blog the earth laughs in flowers to see her own entry, and check the comments for others.

What I haven’t shown you before are these photos of the inside of the Winter Gardens, two of which were taken from the balcony on the top floor of the People’s Palace. It’s very green and more spacious than it looks. I’ve been to a conference reception in the paths and clearings amongst the plants, and the café area – which just creeps into one shot – can be hired for weddings, graduation dinners and so on.

If it’s colour you’re after, head west to the Botanic Gardens where the hothouses are a delight in any season. Reds everywhere at Christmas! Disclosure: I’m far too impatient to take photos like these. All credit to John.

Or how about this? Between Christmas and New Year we had a short break at the Forest Hills Hotel near Kinlochard, which has beautiful grounds and gardens. When we arrived, it was dark and festively lit.

And it was lovely in a different way by day.

We had some rather damp walks when we were at Kinlochard – more on them to follow tomorrow.