Walking in the garden at Rossie House, you almost feel like you have been transported to a bygone era. It would not feel wrong to see a fleet of 25 gardeners busying themselves with their daily tasks: bottoms up weeding the beds or pushing a wheelbarrow and doffing their caps to the passing visitors. Indeed how Judy, who has masterminded the garden over the past 35 years, manages to keep such an enormous garden with only the help of one other is beggars belief. Because this garden really is a gem. Officially a spring garden, walking in the rare heat of a Scottish summer, the beds are still full of colour and interest and at each turn is yet another hidden nook filled to the brim with a perfectly thought out combination of species and colour.
Judy is a font of all knowledge when it comes to what is what and what grows well, and I find myself scribbling frantically as we walk and talk. I learn that a herbaceous clematis is a great way to fill a gap/gaps between flowers or to train up an obelisk and that Cornus canadensis is unusually interesting for groundcover. I am also surprised by some new and delicious roses I am introduced to, my highlights definitely being: – Rosa ‘Sally Holmes’ (large creamy white bushes in kitchen area), Rosa ‘Leda’ (Painted Damask: red egdes to white rose), Rosa ‘Cornelia’ (pink shrub) & Rosa ‘Goldfinch’ (yellow climber).
Walking across the lawn and away from the house the garden dips into a beautiful woodland area with small walkway bridges crossing over a stream and leading up to the walled garden. Even here, hidden from immediate view everything has been thought out to perfection and I especially love the mix of Martagon lilies and peonies dotted in the dappled shade adding a certain wow factor with sumptuous pompoms.
Around the tennis court, new beds have been dug and covered with Polythene and woodchip and a plethora of agapanthus has been planted (this is a great way to minimise weeds long term and allow plants to flourish). I hadn’t realised that agapanthus could thrive in Scotland but apparently so and I will definitely be planting some in my garden at home – I will try ‘Headborne Hybrids’ to see how they fare.
This summer change is afoot in the Rossie garden – in just under a month, the walled garden is reverting to a productive site for fruit and vegetables and so plants are being potted up and moved around the garden to where new beds are being created and filled.
While the walled garden is undergoing this dramatic change, at the time of my visit 2 beautifully crafted beds remain home to a mixture of the most breathtaking blue and silver combinations: stachys byzantinnus, nepeta and amsonia (a new plant to me and definitely one to feature in my next planting plan) work together to create a feeling of tranquil harmony. This could combine well with Alstromeria ‘Indian Summer’ if you wanted to add some contrast.
There is no doubt that after my visit I am compelled to go home and get the gardening gloves on and get to work without delay. It is great to always to be learning but it is especially lovely to be inspired and this is definitely an inspirational garden with plenty of landscape gardening ideas. I look forward to returning once all the changes have taken place and seeing what new gems the garden has to offer.
Rossie Garden in Forgandenny, Perthshire is open through the Scotland’s Gardens each year and group visitors are welcome (see link). Judy will also be selling Rossie Plants from next April onwards.