We depart from our local pick-ups this morning and head for our first visit, the garden at Pitmuies House, near Forfar. The flower garden is situated behind the house, where in an old walled garden, lavishly planted borders are planned to maintain their flowering interest over a very long season. Colour schemes are fastidiously chosen here - a double border, for example, seen from the drawing room has a scheme of blue, cream, white and yellow to go with the colours of the room. Beyond the walled gardens a riverside walk leads past a castellated dovecote through an old woodland of marvellous beeches and oaks under-planted with ornamental shrubs – look out for the beautiful Acer griseum.
We then continue to our accommodation at the Park Hotel, Montrose, where dinner will be served in the evening.
After breakfast we visit the walled gardens at Logie House, a herbalist's garden set amid an 18th century walled garden and large Victorian greenhouse within Logie's organic farm. Featuring more than 150 herbs, the physic garden is divided into eight rectangles including medicinal herbs for different body systems. All the herbs are labelled with a brief description of actions to help novices learn more about this ancient art. The garden also features a herbaceous border and a productive fruit and vegetable garden.
We continue to the gardens of Glamis Castle, to the north of Dundee, which has been the ancestral home of the Earls of Strathmore for over 600 years and was the childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Glamis is a living, breathing monument to Scottish hospitality; a place of enjoyment, reflection, laughter and wonder for all. The castle has witnessed more than 600 years of history and we will take great delight in learning the many stories, secrets and intriguing tales that surround it.
Our final visit of the day takes us to Edzell Castle, which was once home to the Earls of Crawford. The garden is defined by the 'Pleasance' - a delightful formal garden with walls decorated with sculptured stone panels, flower boxes and niches for nesting birds.
Dinner is served in the evening back at our hotel.
After breakfast we visit the private gardens of Newtonmill House, which looks over and into the semi-formal walled garden. The entrance to the garden is through a wrought iron gate that reflects the mill wheel from which Newtonmill derives its name. The central pathway is flagged by herbaceous borders, sheltered by a fine prunus pissardi hedge. The garden is divided into four squares of vegetables, fruit, a spring garden and croquet lawn with summer house. Through the rose arch at the south end of the garden are peony and shrub rose beds, a small pond area and doocot. Adjacent to the house is a rose-garlanded terrace and raised beds.
Nearby are the gardens at Brechin Castle, where the uniquely curving walls of the garden are just the first of many delightful surprises in store. There is a luxurious blend of ancient and modern plantings and we find charm and splendour in the wide gravelled walks, secluded small paths and corners. In early June the rhododendrons and azaleas should still be in flower, with complementary under-planting and a framework of great and beautiful trees to set the collection in the landscape.
We conclude today with a visit to the garden at Gallery, Montrose. This historic garden has been redesigned and replanted to preserve the traditional framework of holly, privet and box. There is a grassed central alley, embellished with circles and links, and themed gardens including a fine collection of old roses and yellow and blue floral borders. A walk through the woodland garden, bordered with mixed heathers leads to the River North Esk.
Dinner is served in the evening.
Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and round off our tour with visits to two private gardens in Montrose, beginning with Straton House, a significant merchant’s town house of the 18th century, situated in the heart of Montrose. The secret garden is accessed through a canopy of woodland trees, leading to a paved courtyard and the red brick Georgian house. It has featured in a glossy publication and won a national garden competition in 2012. Off the courtyard are more formal gardens and wooded areas on different levels surrounding the house, all with an element of surprise. The shrubs and trees encourage a variety of bird life.
We continue to Dunninald, a family home built in 1824, set in policies developed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It offers many attractive features including a beech avenue planted around 1670. The highlight of Dunninald is the walled garden planted with traditional mixed borders, vegetables, soft fruits, fruit trees and a greenhouse.
Following this we continue our homeward journey and expect to arrive back at our original departure point in the early evening.