Within faded red brick walls

Blue on blue

The athletes have packed up their medals and memorabilia and gone home. The venues have been stripped of the furniture and trappings of the event, and the people of Glasgow are returning to a life less normal by the recounting of wins, gripping stories, and hilarious happenings.

Scotland is celebrating its athletes winning a dizzying best of 53 medals, while UNICEF is planning how best to spend the £5m raised at the event. And the closing ceremony came in for less criticism than the opening one, with the age of some of the performers causing not a few women to hope they can look as good when they reach that stage of life.

So what do you do for relaxation in the aftermath? Well, the day being sunny with a slight breeze, we went out and ended up at a garden centre. Not quite your usual garden centre but one set within the former red brick walled garden of an estate.

A profusion of plants

History lurks amongst the plants.

Here protected by the walls and a wide border of vegetation, abutting a wood, a warm, sheltered microclimate provides an ideal situation for a plant centre where its own produce is grown as organically as possible. And rather than chemicals, the resident hedgehogs work hard eating the slugs. We used to have a hedgehog in our garden, but, sadly, a few weeks ago we found it dead by a flowerbed.

Bin it and reuse it

Composting needn’t be dull with a selection of bins to choose from.

compost in, earth out

This traditional type seems to be called a New Zealand bin — no idea why.

In an organic garden it was hardly surprising to find lots of butterfly-attracting plants as well as a section devoted to composting, something we are all encouraged to do with our garden rubbish and kitchen waste. So while husband poked around the selection of bins and read of their advantages, I wandered off to check out the herbs.

Butterfly haunts

Lots of plants to attract butterflies, and a summerhouse to store tools or laze away the day.

I like places like this that build on the history and character of the original garden which probably supplied in years past all the fruit, vegetables and flowers for the house. None of the original glasshouses remain but in whichever direction I looked the faded red brick walls smiled coyly behind beds of produce or shrubs, keeping the secrets of what work and indiscretions they have seen over the years to themselves.

Pump in the garden

Victorian water pump

By the entrances to growing tunnels and amongst the plants nestled garden ornaments, pre-rusted to provide a well-established, aged ambiance, and an array of containers, plant supports, baskets and planters to add to the Victorian estate ambiance and with a purchase transfer some of that to your own windswept patch where the grass is long overdue a sheer and the weeds delight in running amok in the summer sun. No medals would be won by us for gardening.

Willow hideaway

Retreat for the young and agile.

Faux Victoriana

Pre-rusted cutout balls for that authentic Victorian ambience.

Toowit toowoo

Stone owls (tempted to put stoned owls!) to add quirkiness to the garden.

Secrets of the lean-to

An assortment of garden pots and ornaments.

Had we not been late in arriving we might have sampled the Birdhouse Tearoom, but we only had time to buy a packet of parsley seed which can apparently be sown till August. However the large range of unusual herbs will probably see us making another visit in early spring to stock up for next year.

Birdhouse sign

Perhaps another time.


Awaiting collection


About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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14 Responses to Within faded red brick walls

  1. mybrightlife says:

    What a delightful place. The woven Tee-Pees are stunning!

    • Yes, I loved the tee-pees. They’d need to be larger though before I could think of crawling into one of them. Still, provides ideas of what else could be made for adults with woven willow. I used to be associated with a festival, and one year we had a willow weaver to work with children and weave a castle, which they did paintings of and wrote stories about. They had enormous fun.

      • mybrightlife says:

        The Castle sounds amazing! We have beehive huts in parts of the country as tourist accommodation – based on traditional Zulu huts. They are very comfortable and spacious but have small doors that you have to almost crawl into. Comes as quite a surprise when you book one for the night but then have to actually get inside! This aging thing is a challenge!!:)

  2. Chris says:

    I love strolling through garden centers and nurseries. And botanical gardens, farms… It’s so relaxing, and stimulates the imagination. You caught some lovely photos here. The last one makes a perfect ending for the post.

    • I used to wonder where my liking for these places came from. Then I discovered I had ancestors in the Victorian era who were gardeners, working in estates, and involved with the establishment of botanic gardens both in Scotland and Australia.

      When we lived in Argyll, we often used to stroll round Benmore Botanic Garden, a wonderful hillside garden. Summer or winter there was always something of interest to see, and I think that taught me to look beyond the immediate beauty of showy flowers, and see the bark, the shape of the trunk, the size and feel of the leaves. And with modern cameras you can zoom right in and capture details you can’t see with the naked eye. I suppose, too, I particularly like places that have some history attached, and where you can still see and enjoy traces of the garden’s previous life.

      • Chris says:

        I agree. Gardens with a history are gardens that tell a story. And in general, mature gardens are so much more interesting than new ones, although those can be pleasant too. The mature ones have more of those textures you mention, and seem more integrated into the surrounding landscape. I sometimes take photos of textures, leaves, tiny bugs, and so on not only for the pleasure of photography but to discover what they actually look like.

  3. Always my favorite thing to do is visit gardens. What a treat! Days must be long in the summer in Scotland to such wonders 🙂

    • One of the special things about gardens is that there is always something different to see. Whenever you visit, they always look different from previous visits. And if you take your camera you are spoilt for choice, either in long views or close-ups. I love the long evenings of summer — definitely a summer rather than a winter person. Should have been born on the shores of the Mediterranean!

  4. Catriona Livingston says:

    We visited there this afternoon and were in time for tea in the garden… in the sun.. I can highly recommend the Ginger and Lemon drizzle cake.

    • Must remember that.It’s one of those places that’s lovely for a wander, to look at the plants, enjoy the planters and ornaments and wallow in the atmosphere of an old walled garden of an estate. That’s without enjoying coffee and cake and the temptation of something from the shop, even if only a packet of seeds. A relaxing place for an afternoon. We’re so lucky in the Borders to have such great places within easy travelling distance.

  5. Mama Cormier says:

    I really like the idea of a tea room in the middle of a garden centre. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one here. I love those stone owls. I know exactly where I’d put them.

  6. Tearooms/cafes ingarden centres is a bit of a must here. The chains are like department stores, selling everything with any connection to gardening, places where you could easily spend an afternoon or even a whole day. The smaller centres have old buildings like stables turned into cafes where you can sit inside or,if the weather is good, out on a terrace. Many of the smaller ones have home baking and sell local produce to attract customers

    And we have garden open days where local organisations have stalls selling teas and coffees, and baking and produce to raise funds. Plants are now usually only a part of the mixture. It helps attract custom during quieter times and at periods like Christmas when plant sales account for much less than at other times of the year.

  7. I could have spent some serious money there. Beautiful plants and garden accessories.

    • There’s an atmosphere in old walled gardens that seems to pervade the plants sold and the garden accessories displayed. A little microclimate imbued with history is created, making them much more intriguing than modern, purpose built centres.

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