"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?"
Fungi, dahlias and asters may be strange bedfellows but the recent weather patterns, following on from the long dry spell, have encouraged all three to give of their best in the Palace grounds in the last few weeks.
To many, of we homegrown Scots, fungi are not to be trusted. We don’t seem to have the fungal education of our European neighbours and so we miss out when nature offers it’s seasonal abundance. On the Palace lawns recently the explosion of edible, mind-altering and poisonous fungi has been prodigious and some of those “in the know” have enjoyed a bumper harvest. I am told by some of our Polish friends that boletus variations have been the most useful and numerous. Boletus edulis (the French cep, Italian porcini and English penny bun), boletus erythropus (only edible when cooked) and boletus reticulates (excellent to eat) have been particular favourites. Mixed in with these are many which are extremely dangerous so don’t try unless you know, or know someone (whom you trust) that does.
When the dahlias arrive in their paper wraps in April they are unremarkable tubers. They stay that way for a few months, hardly poking their stems above ground. Threats are made to dig them up and try something else….then all of a sudden they are away. They grow quickly and strongly and then the flowers appear. Bloom after bloom until each plant is a blaze of colour and texture. Everyone has their own particular favourite and for me the cactus varieties take some beating, not only for the power, texture and colour of the blooms but also because they last so well as cut-flowers in the hotel…..and they will continue to bloom until the first sharp frosts appear.
We have expanded our collection of asters. These lovely, usually, blue plants offer a warm, deep colour in the borders at a time when other flowers are dying back. In the exposed position that is the Palace front border we have tried to concentrate on the shorter more compact varieties and they are great value at this time of year. Now the putting green….we had the opening putt on Sept. 9th when Dougal Spaven, general manager, tried the challenging slopes. We disappointed some by closing it the following week and scarified and cored it, almost, beyond recognition. Four tons of sharp sand have since been spread on the surface and raked level, another few tons of sand and the same of leaf-mould will follow. We tell all who ask and doubt to trust us, a very good surface WILL be produced but it is taking time. Rewards come to those who wait! 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.