How one can create carpets of color, Cluny Home Gardens, Scotland


One sunny afternoon in late-April, whereas engaged on a distant panorama design in Scotland, I took the chance to pop into Cluny Home Backyard in Perthshire. What I found is nothing wanting outstanding.

Erythronium revolutum, Primula elatior and Anemone nemorosa create a glowing circulate round Narcissus which have completed flowering

A personal hillside backyard open to the general public, Cluny is a closely sloped and densely shaded woodland backyard the place seedlings are inspired to develop in paths and guests to tip-toe gently round them for wildlife. Whereas some would balk on the prospect of shade and difficult slopes, homeowners Wendy and John have cleverly turned to vegetation that may regularly unfold in these circumstances.

Primula denticulata
Matteuccia struthiopteris

The backyard is natural, it makes use of no pesticides in any respect, no weedkillers – every part is hand weeded – and peat free compost is used for propagation. Vegetation are inspired to unfold, although stored throughout the bounds of the backyard, which additionally has a powerful listing of wildflowers together with a big bluebell wooden.

A sea of Erythronium revolutum blended with Hellebores

Cluny Home Backyard was established within the Fifties by Bobby and Betty Masterton who had an curiosity in Himalayan vegetation as a result of their pure habitat matches that of this hillside plot simply beneath the Cairngorm Nationwide Park in Scotland. It’s now sorted by Bobby and Betty’s daughter Wendy and her husband, John Mattingley.


Wendy’s mother and father planted up what was initially an empty plot with numerous bushes and shrubs, usually grown from seed, together with stunning Acer and Prunus discovered all through the backyard. There are additionally two huge Sequoiadendron giganteum, with the most important girth I’ve seen exterior of California.

I like the best way spreading vegetation fill big areas of shade, mingling with wildflowers. As a result of they’re low, they create an exquisite feeling of openness permitting guests to understand the huge carpets of color. The vastness of the low blanketing flowers right now of 12 months will not be completely clear from my pictures, they cowl nearly all areas of the backyard.

Cluny Home Gardens make intensive use of useless wooden, fallen leaves and plant materials for making numerous habitats and usable home made compost. Once I arrived on the finish of the day, John was potting up seedlings by the home whereas Wendy traversed the steep slopes eradicating weeds to take to the compost piles.

Fallen bushes are stored
Filtered daylight on mossy paths

Fallen bushes are left to rot down naturally, creating pure habitats for fungi, micro organism and bugs.

Primula elatior rising round different woodland vegetation.

Total the sensation is one in all a really pure and magical woodland. There are naked patches of soil as you’d count on in a woodland, helpful for wildlife that want it, and in different areas the spreading vegetation shut like a tide, creating dense matts of color and texture.

Trillium albidum
Trillium spp.

Chris and I noticed trilliums wild in Canada final 12 months, and Cluny Home Gardens has many in several colors by completely different areas, reminding me of that journey. I notably appreciated the darkest reds and the intense white ones above.

Lysichiton camtschatcensis

Lysichiton camtschatcensis, the white skunk cabbage from Asia, is way slower to unfold than its American cousin, Lysichiton americanus, and isn’t an issue. You’ll be able to’t assist however be drawn within the by the pure white of the spathes.

Erythronium revolutum
Anemone nemorosa

I assume I discovered the backyard thrilling not solely due to the sheer affect of the quantity of floor covers, – the perfect use I’ve seen of low flowering vegetation – however as a result of the subsequent wave of vegetation have been coming by too, revealing the layers of fascinating vegetation to see throughout the 12 months. Big Himalayan lilies and Martagon lilies may very well be seen capturing everywhere in the backyard, blue Meconopsis poppies too, all little question outstanding later in spring.

Mass planting of Erythronium revolutum
Solitary Erythronium revolutum
A Hosta rising from inside Dicentra spp.

Sciurus vulgaris, the purple squirrel, advanced in Western Europe however is now threatened within the UK due to gray squirrels launched by Victorians, which unfold lethal illnesses that the purple squirrel has no immunity to. Cluny Home Gardens cares for various purple squirrels that dwell amongst its unique bushes.

Dropping bittercress, Cardamine enneaphyllos, forming lush clumps of foliage and lilac flowers within the center.
Shiny yellow saxifrage

For those who look carefully within the above image among the many Erythronium and Anemone, there are the rising tufts of Martagon lilies. John advised me that this space started just by throwing seeds collected from their present vegetation right into a broken garden.

I hope I can revisit once more later this 12 months to see how the backyard has modified, Cluny Home Gardens is without doubt one of the most unusual gardens I’ve visited and deeply thought upsetting, thrilling due to it.

Cluny Home Gardens is open every single day from 9am – 6pm. Web site:

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