The garden is a paradox, combining mathematics
and magic, history and myth, science and art,
reality and utopia.
Yesterday I enjoyed an unexpected outing with the Corbridge Gardening Society to two gardens in Border Country – Floors Castle and Mindrum. It was a gorgeous summer’s day, ideal for exploring these two very different gardens in the company of some expert gardeners and plantswomen.
I wanted Floors to be Scots for floo’ers but I suspect it’s too grand for that. The scale of the place – gardens, grounds and castle – was astonishing. And only 3 permanent gardeners to keep it in such immaculate condition, when back in the 19th century they had 100! As we sat and drank our coffee, we had plenty of time to enjoy the blue and silver border. I thought this was my favourite bed until we turned the corner and saw the ‘hot’ border – a stunning stretch of reds and pinks, yellows and oranges. And then taking a right by the ‘rose chains’ (great swags of pink ramblers), there were more delights – the softer pastels of the spring and summer borders.
Mindrum was more modest, but equally original. Working with the shape of the land, falling away down to the winding Bowmont Water, one of the Tweed’s tributaries, the garden doesn’t waste an inch.
The more formal upper gardens, lush with clever planting and traditional sculptures, soften as they descend, incorporating a variety of perennials, trees and bamboos along the riverside. Afterwards we were treated to a wonderful tea in a big white tent, looking out onto the beautiful Northumbrian countryside. Perfect end to a perfect day!