Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Trip to Dawyck Gardens to see the Snowdrops

I've been trying to get to Dawyck all of the last month to see the snowdrops, time and weather had so far conspired against me. On Friday, although it was overcast and a bit windy we decided to risk it and go along. From now on the Snowdrops will be starting to go back and I wanted to see them at their best. Luckily for us Dawyck gardens is only half an hour away and a very pleasant drive into Peebleshire. Last year we visited in May to see the Rhododendrons in all their glory, you can read about that visit here.

Leucojum, also known as Snowflakes in full flower

Dawyck Gardens are part of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and one of their satellite gardens. Situated in the hills of Peebleshire it is a fine arboreta set on either side of a stream which tumbles all the way down to the fields at the bottom surrounding Dawyck House. You can read more about RBGE and Dawyck here

There were large clumps of Leucojum on either side of the steps
as you leave the visitor centre and walk into the gardens

Often mistaken for large snowdrops, these bulbs are worth
growing in your garden

We walked up the side of the stream under the huge Rhododendrons towards the Dutch Bridge. Evergreen ferns such as Polystichium aculiatum were providing interest under the canopy of Sequoiadendron giganteum and Rhododendron sp. There are lots of signs of growth and buds beginning to burst in this sheltered valley. Some of the gardeners were digging out and dividing huge clumps of hosta in one of the beds.

Polystichium aculiatum

Once you reach the stone Dutch bridge the swathes of Snowdrops come into view. There is something quite magical about seeing plants on mass like this, naturally, uninterrupted and doing their thing. They continue like this all the way to the top of the valley, where you can cross over and either walk back down the other side or up through the woods at the top of the hill, we did the latter.

Snowdrops marching up the bankings at Dawyck

There was plenty water tumbling down the stream adding to the atmosphere and magic of the place. In the photo below you can see the Snowdrops disapearing into the distance on both sides of the stream.

Snowdrops and waterfalls

As I mentioned earlier Dawyck is a world renowned Arboretum and the collection of trees is varied and interesting. As well as the trees and Rhododendrons there are many shrubs, perennials and bulbs and no matter what time of year yo visit there is always something interesting to see. As we walked up through the gardens there were many Corylus covered in catkins. I had never seen Corylus tibetica before with it's pink catkins and spiky nut casings, I would definitely consider it for my garden.


Corylus tibetics with pink catkins and spiky nut casings and Corylus avellana with yellow catkins
There had been some storm damage to larger trees in the woods at the top of the hill, all now cut down and tidied up. From here you get glimpses through the trees of the valley towards Stobo and Dawyck House.

Dawyck House

There are plenty paths to wander around, each time giving you a different view. The small climb to the chapel is worth the effort. Past young Auricaria auricana Monkey Puzzle trees and beautiful white barked Birches. These stand out stark and ghostly amongst the other leafless trees and are one of my favourite trees. 

Betula jaqumontii

Back down to the bottom of the valley and the way back out to the visitor centre there was a large clump of Butterbur coming into flower. This was the white form and looking very impressive leading down to the waterside. Some basic information about Butterbur here

White Butterbur

Clumps of Butterbur at the valley bottom

Another burst of colour was from Eranthus hymalis or Winter Aconite. Flowering at the same time as Snowdrops and quite often together as they like the same conditions. I must make efforts in my next garden to plant them together, I have always wanted to yet never got round to it.

Erathus hymalis or Winter Aconites

We followed our walk round the garden with lunch in the excellent cafe at Dawyck. I had chick pea curry soup and a roll which was very good. As we were sitting eating we heard the garden had been closed due to the increasing winds, we timed our visit well! As we are not so far from Dawyck now I hope to visit more regularly, I especially want to see the gardens in Autumn, with all those trees the autumn colour will be impressive.


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6 comments:

  1. Dawyck looks like a magical place to visit Rona. I came across butterbur for the first time ever last year in Cumbria and made himself stop the car so I could leap out to take photos. I hope that you are able to visit again during the year.

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    1. Thanks Anna, its a lovely garden, hoping to get there in autumn as the colours should be fab with all those trees :)

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  2. Those snowdrops, and your other photo's, look lovely you are indeed fortunate that Dawyck gardens is only half an hour away and a very pleasant drive into Peebleshire .......

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thanks, we might complain about the weather in Scotland but it allows us to have great gardens and grow beautiful plants :)

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  3. Your wonderful spring photos are such an amazing gift. If I am patient I should see the first blooms in my garden in another week.

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    1. It's interesting to see how plants vary country wide and world wide. You will enjoy them all the more when they appear.

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