Ness Botanic Garden. 11.07.13

I was a little worried at the prospect of a return to Ness Botanic Garden. Last time we visited, dark clouds gathered in the car and the rain fell incessantly on arrival. We put a brave face on a joyless day. This time the sun is blazing down and the garden is transformed into a playful and delightful wonderland.

The very first thing we saw was this marvellous swaying treatment of a mown lawn. It was amusing and innovative and completely lacking the sort of self-conscious guile that spoils so many gardens. We had barely passed through the entrance and we were captivated.

I have been wondering in my quiet moments if peonies such as 'Bowl of Beauty' had become stale through over-familiarity. I am reassured to find that they have not.

This is another garden that is looking to the future to great advantage. When we were last here these terraces were heavy with overgrown shrubs and a sense of mossy decrepitude. As one gets older it ceases to be picturesque. Damp shrubbery that un-hats the unwary has no valuable attributes. It persists through habit and laziness. Let the glad tidings sound out, it persists no longer.

If I had paid closer attention to a dear friends explanation of the genus Trollius then I might be more confident in suggesting that this is 'Imperial Orange'. I am sure that if it had been labelled some of the breathlessness of its beauty would have been lost.

What does one do with the timber when great trees have to be felled? It is a good thing to remove them once they have outgrown the space available and have ceased to be things of dignified wonder. This curious stack is part sculpture and part recycling project. It gave me pause for thought, but I don't want one.

Gloria was in her element in the sunshine, darting in and out of the shadows like an ice cube on a dare. This Arisaema jaquemontii caught our eye as we walked towards it. The light fell on it from exactly the right angle to show its good side. As we walked around we soon realised that it didn't have a bad side.

This stylish white seat looks out of the gardens to the distant coast. It is set at the centre of a mown labyrinth. We coud both have done with a moments rest when we came upon it but it is a very long journey through the labyrinth and it felt disrespectful to take a short cut. We have both had our spirits lifted by this extraordinary and dynamic garden.

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