"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?"
After the driest spring and summer for a long time it did rain, eventually. During mid to late July we had some days of exceptionally heavy rain which did some damage but also an enormous amount of good. The ground needed the moisture and grass and other quick growing plants(weeds!) responded within days. Trees and larger shrubs will take longer to respond but it is comforting to know that most of the plants have survived the drought and will be replenishing their reserves by the day.Most satisfyingly the hypericum bank in the Japanese Garden, which almost died during the cold winter then again due to the drought, has rallied and although the plants probably won’t flower this year they are alive and recovering well.
Kenny planted up the two beds, left when the roses on the main steps were removed, with bedding dahlias and cosmos. Neither of us are particularily keen on bedding plants but it was a stop gap measure. They now are a wonderful display of colour and texture and I have a feeling we might have to re-consider our view on bedding plants....but only for a limited area. Elsewhere in the borders plants are looking well after the rain. Sadly the 10ft delphiniums in the herb garden border suffered under the constant wind and rain but that was to be expected, given the severity of the weather. Malva and leocanthemum superbum(Shasta daisy) are a lovely show in the herb garden, evening primrose has seeded all over the place and looks well and various lilies are a colourful display in the main border and the Japanese Garden but pride of place must go to Clematis "Bill McKenzie" which you can see in the herb garden...a truly lovely clematis.
The vegetable beds have done exceptionally well. We dug over the whole area and “dunged” it all during the winter and the benefit is there to see.
Lettuce,carrot,beans,spinach,cauliflower,beetroot and courgettes are just some of the lovely fresh veg we have managed to supply to the kitchens. The early potatoes,Pentland Javelin, were sampled last week with a few shaws being dug up. The crop was heavy and the potatoes were fluffy and flavoursome...just as new potatoes should be. After I had a short holiday to Morrocco, where mint tea is the norm, we have begun to take fresh mint for our afternoon cuppa.I can thoroughly recommend it, even on hot days it is very refreshing but it does require a decent sized patch of mint to keep the supply going.
Last month I wondered where the bumbles had gone. Well a month on I can report that they are still here and now working hard on their favourite plants and perhaps they were simply delayed due to the severe winter. One of the most annoying incomers to the grounds is Himalayan balsam. This foreign incomer is spreading rapidly throughout the Pitlochry area and I suspect is beyond control. The one benefit is that bumbles seem to love it and visit the individual flower heads with vigour getting covered in pollen in the process.The gardens are looking lovely just now,take time to enjoy them if you visit.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.