"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?"
Before giving you an update on our various projects in the Palace gardens, some wildlife titbits. James (restaurant manager amongst other roles) witnessed one of the fat pigeons, which have been gorging on the beech masts all winter, being taken by a sparrow hawk off the lawn.
He described the explosion of feathers after the impact and the, almost, instant gathering of crows to the kill. This would almost certainly have been a female hawk. Much larger than the male she can cope with a bulky woodpigeon whereas the male sticks to smaller birds and is characterised by his fast, silent flight as he wips along a hedgerow, up and over and grabs a wee bird on the other side. David on the other hand witnessed one of the resident buzzards pursuing a grey squirrel in amongst the trees. This time it was unsuccessful but we see the buzzards daily and they spend a lot of time sitting in the trees watching the squirrels on the ground and I am sure they get some, perhaps the unwary!
In the gardens, most of our winter projects are coming to an end. Roses and trees have been planted, car parks refurbished and fences finished. It’s been a busy but satisfying winter. Of course all these “improvements” cost money, a lot of it in some cases, and we are continually grateful to the directors for enthusiastically supporting the garden developments and allowing the lovely, grounds to blossom again.
Our first project in the refurbishment of the grounds was the establishment of a herb garden, two years ago. For those of you who have discovered this lovely spot you will notice big changes this year. We have established a small orchard, a small soft fruit bed and (this is our favourite winter achievement) an herbaceous flowerbed against the fruit tree wall. Kenny has been the driving force in this project and it is almost finished. We have planted many and various species but look out for foxtail lilies, fritillaries, daylilies, delphiniums, campanulas, phlox, potentilla, tradescantia, climbing roses and much more. If this area works it will add an extra dimension to the herb garden without, in any way, detracting from its main purpose which is to provide fresh herbs and cut flowers for the hotel. To those of you who have yet to make it to this area….make it a “must see”, you’ll enjoy it.
For areas of interest this month you don’t have to walk far. Our spring border along the front of the hotel has developed well with lots of colour and interest. Crocus, daffodils and tulips are about to blossom and the red squirrels and birds are very active throughout. Enjoy it all….and if you fancy a more in depth tour we, Kenny and I, are to host a programme of garden tours in the Pitlochry area( as part of the hotels promotions) and there will be two dates, summer and autumn. So if you would like a relaxed, conducted tour of our own garden plus various other garden highlights in our area, with evening entertainment in the hotel, details can be had from reception. Spring has sprung, at last. 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.