Thursday, 5 May 2011

Lady Jane's Garden

I appear to have had a bit of a 'blogging break!' It wasn't intentional, and I hadn't realised I was having one until the weeks just slipped away.  Since arriving back from Sussex,  life has just seemed hectic, although I don't suppose it has been. We had friends and family staying, and then, when I thought I'd start blogging again, the weather changed and the sun shone, so I've been out in the garden -hardly making any impact,  but pulling up weeds nevertheless, and rushes, and strimming. But please note the wonderful blue sky and wall to wall sunshine!
And talking of gardens....
I must show you Lady Jane's garden. On the other side of the hill from us, Lady Jane lives in her beautiful 18th-century manor - Dundonnell House. And each year she opens her garden to the public.
Lady Jane Rice is tiny. She sits at a tiny table wearing a smart blue cardigan and sells tickets for the entrance to her garden. She is the estranged wife of Sir Tim
 and her garden is beautiful. These were taken last month at the beginning of April just as all the spring bulbs were in flower. I went with two friends from the Lochside, Alison and Mary and we had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
I don't suppose Tim, when he visits, does much in the way of gardening, but Lady Jane is passionate and has a gardener to help her and give advice. Between them they have restored and added to the garden which apparently had been much neglected over the years.
The beautifully restored Edwardian glasshouse.
It isn't too tidy and it isn't too neat
Some of the garden wall has fallen into the river
and while waiting for repair a rope takes the place of the wall and serves as a reminder not to go too near to the edge!
Two little cherubs pouring water out of a jug - I think....!
Wobbly hedges
The newness and freshness of spring
These pictures were taken a month ago. The trees and shrubs are now in full leaf and flower
The most wonderful thing about Lady Jane's garden is the magnificent An Teallach mountain which provides  the perfect backdrop to the trees and flowers.
Lady Jane doesn't just potter about in her garden, she has worked hard on a project to re-establish red squirrels  in the Scottish highlands. A recent count showed that the red squirrel population on the Dundonnell Estate is on the increase. I've planted Hazel trees in our garden in readiness should any brave little squirrel make the journey over the hill from Dundonnell to Letters.

It's nice to be back. I've missed having a bit of a blog!


Diane said...

Welcome back! I've really missed you. Thank you for the lovely photos of this fascinating garden. Can't wait see your photo of a red squirrel!
Best wishes! Di xx

annie hoff said...

Thank you Di. I missed you too! x

Mac n' Janet said...

Thanks for the visit to Lady Jane's Garden and i hope she gets the red squirrels established. What happened to them?

annie hoff said...

Well, rumour has it they were shot! though I can't think why. I don't think they pose a threat to anyone or anything. Fortunately views have changed over the years and now the red squirrel is cherished and protected.

rachel said...

Nice to see you back, and to discover your neighbours.

According to my friend, who has red squirrels in her garden, they seem to have been decimated by diseases (squirrelpox) passed on by greys, but controversy rages about what to do to assist them to increase their numbers without constantly trying to exterminate their larger more robust and aggressive grey cousins. Ugly!

Mike said...

Hello Annie
Just been sent a link to your site.
Great images of Dundonnell. Have been fortunate to know the garden for many years.
We have a tiny place on the Braes near you, but only get up a few weeks each year.
You must come in for a coffee (or stronger) next time.

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