"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?"
The past month has been busy for us, showing off our garden to visitors…and that is always a tricky one. Will they be pleased, critical or a bit of both? The first occasion was the hotel’s inaugural “garden tours” under the guise of “summer colour”. We took our guests to see a few special gardens in the area, including our own, with the emphasis on a contrasting garden each day and a talk or film in the evening after supper. From our feedback everyone enjoyed the experience and we hope to expand on the event next year but special thanks are due to Sally Spaven and Julia Cordon who helped Kenny and I to host the event. They brought a professionalism and polish which we probably lack!!. Our autumn tour is “autumn hues”, 17th-20th Oct, a look at the spectacular trees and autumn colour in this area. Our itinery has not yet been finalised but will include the following:
· The Scottish Plant Hunters Garden
· Atholl Palace Garden and Big Trees
· Drummond Castle Italian Parterre
· Hercules Garden and Diana’s Grove
· The autumn colours of Loch Faskally and Queen’s View
· Evening talks and films.
The second occasion was the very successful “Pitlochry’s secret gardens” run by the “Bloom group”. The weather was lovely, the garden looked well and many people came along. Perhaps the only complaint was the lack of time to get around every garden and see them properly, hopefully next year we will make it a day-long event where some of the gardens will be open all day. The variety of private gardens on show is huge , from small to large, formal and wild. Well worth a visit next year.
The Palace garden is looking well despite the lack of rain and strong winds. True, some of the plants have disappointed but in general we have lots of colour and variety. Already we have ambitious plans for winter work. Revamp some areas, move some plants and create new features. One question we are often asked is how we got rid of the wild rhodies. The quick answer is dogged perseverance. In brief we cut them down, treated the fresh stumps with Timbral and resprayed any fresh growth with Glyphospate. Even now, 3yrs on, some stumps are still trying to make a comeback ….so the buzz word is persistence.
For August we recommend an evening stroll around the gardens. Evening is always best for scent and we have lots of that. Formal roses, climbers, rugosas and the herb garden. A lovely climber, jasmine “clotted cream”, is growing away nicely on the south wall of the hotel. Not very big yet but the scent….uplifting. Our attempt at cultivating dahlias has borne fruit. Initially we thought we might be in for an embarassement. One guest asked what type of broad beans we had sown. Another what type of potatoes. These slights were politely ignored with the proviso that we would dig them out if nothing happened. We were unnecessarily pessimistic. They are coming into flower in great fashion. Adding a dash of colour and shape to the borders and a mass of colour to the cut-flower bed. How to display them as cut flowers is still a bit of a mystery to us. We have gone for individual blooms in narrow glass vases…any comment would be gratefully received and acted upon.
And finally to our hanging baskets. I mentioned in a previous diary our nervy start to this years offering. Despite that they have come on well, Kenny tends them with regular TLC and they have been much admired. Understated but luscious was our aim, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. And they are that. Enjoy all of it when you come to the Palace. Innes
Innes finished in 04:41:34 and came 1987 out of 4117 who completed the race. A fabulous achievement!
Thank You to all sponsors.