"The Atholl Palace is one of my favourite places where each year we meet up with good friends and have fun. It's the perfect place to stay in a perfect setting with lovely people looking after us. What more could a person want?"
Our garden has won the “best large hotel garden in Pitlochry” award again this year. Last year’s award took us a bit by surprise and we were nervous about being able to repeat the award this year, given that Pitlochry has some lovely old established gardens. The Palace gardens, although old, are undergoing much change as we try to deliver the vision of the owners without too much disruption and a garden in transition never looks quite as organised as one that is mature and settled. However we gratefully accepted the award and look forward to raising the standard next year.
For the garden September has been a brutal month. Heavy rain and gales caused havoc amongst the taller perennials and shrubs and as the long border stands alone and unprotected it felt the full force of nature. Bad weather eventually stops, however, and it is amazing how the plants turn their heads skywards to meet the welcoming sun if they can. Lavatera and rudbeckia, six foot tall each, surprisingly survived and are a lovely show. Various forms of scabious are still flowering. The dahlias and asters have worked well being mixed in amongst the perennials and anthemis has proved a great success. In the woodland edges we have planted autumn crocus, colchicum, and they are now in flower and attracting a lot of attention from guests.
The herb and vegetable garden is winding down now. We still supply the kitchen, daily, with herbs but the variety is becoming limited with chives, parsley, mint and fennel our main offerings. We will be adjusting the herb garden over the winter. Less vegetables, more of the main herbs and a much larger cut-flower bed. After a slow start we have got to grips with cut flowers. Our “arranging” is, perhaps, not along traditional lines but the scented freesias and sweet peas have attracted admiring comment, particularily because we have sweet peas so late in the season.
The Palace grounds continue to provide wildlife interest. Red squirrels can be seen working away busily almost anywhere and they are beginning to return to the feeders. Roe deer, not the gardeners best friend, lie up in the woods during the day and appear in the evening so a pre-dinner stroll could be rewarding. Many birds are using the feeders in the herb garden and we have had the best butterfly season for many years.And of course with autumn comes vibrant colour. In the next few weeks the trees and shrubs will begin to turn and “autumn gold” will be on full show. Enjoy it. Innes Smith
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
Thank You to all sponsors.