Scotland’s Garden Scheme Damnaglaur Gardens

Damnaglaur garden
Damnaglaur garden

Two gardens at Damnaglaur, near Drummore, are open this Sunday 21 June as part of Scotland’s Garden Scheme open day.

For those who missed the opportunity to visit them last year or want to see the changes in them since, now is your chance to see these special gardens, buy plants, home crafts and have refreshments while looking out onto spectacular countryside, with Luce Bay and the Galloway Hills lending a beautiful backdrop.

Frances Collins at Damnaglaur House and Carol Rennison at The Homestead admit to the hard work preparing for the opening but also to the tremendous satisfaction they get while showing visitors around and raising money for the scheme which gives 40 per cent to their named charity – Kirkmaiden Parish Church. Proceeds from the plant sales at Damnaglaur House will go to the British Red Cross, a donation which will go towards the relief of the people in Nepal to aid their recovery since recent volcanic action there.

Last year Frances undertook some major planting changes which enabled her to indulge her love of herbaceous plants such as geraniums - one whole bank, beside a wide-spreading ash, is covered with a massed planting of three different varieties, which follows the bank’s equally massed spring planting of daffodils. Bright orange geum and red helianthemum give a huge splash of colour on the other side of the bank beside the area Frances describes as ‘sunken’, created when she started in 1991 to build a series of low terraces. Azaleas are still in bloom as are the many Oleria’s, the white flowers of the latter giving off intoxicating perfume.

A self-confessed ‘plant-a-holic’ Frances has a passion for hunting out the less common varieties of shrubs, with hydrangea Quercifolia being one of them, its leaves denying its heritage, while an un-named hydrangea with huge panicles of white flowers has embedded itself into the garage walls in the most sheltered part of the garden. Here a huge specimen of Fatsya Japonica spreads its wide leaves over its neighbouring white flowering shrubs. The garden is quite sizeable anyway but feels substantially larger than it is, designed to encourage the visitor to weave a way through it to discover its many hidden corners, and because of the sheer number of different plants it includes.

The immaculate lawns at The Homestead help to give an uninterrupted view down to Drummore and beyond, while the gravel drive is broken with beautifully created stone-edged beds with their fast expanding display of shrubs, such as white flowering Libertia Grandiflora, a low growing blue Ceonothus and Phlomis Fruiticosa covered in two-lipped golden yellow flowers. These are interspersed with a wonderful display of herbaceous plants which include eryngiums, dianthus and crocosmia. However, the over-riding attraction in Carol’s garden, apart from the view from it, is the artistic arrangement of driftwood, pebbles, shells, clay pots and crafted garden ornaments.

The driftwood decorating the wooden uprights of the pergola-like walkway along the back of the house now have a variety of climbing shrubs covering them while pots overflowing with perennial and annual flowers are placed strategically between these uprights, lighting up this passageway. Beside this Carol has made use of one of the many raised timber-edged beds she had constructed to grow a variety of vegetables and annual plants, all surrounded by her sea gathered sculptures. Despite its relatively new creation – six years ago – her garden has developed into one of maturing beauty and interest.

You will enjoy the refreshments which will be provided here as Carol is an accomplished baker as are her army of helpers from Drummore. They shall be ready to give a warm welcome to all visitors from 1 – 5pm.