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urg day out
A trip to Ness Gardens, September 9th, 2001
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The Rock Garden

rock garden The Rock Garden has been created in a shallow valley and benefits from having raised beds that help keep the drainage sharp and allows a bewildering diversity of plants to be grown. There are south-facing banks dotted with alpines from both hemispheres, and damp, shady areas that are smothered with candelabra primulas.

In parts, the local acidic sandstone has been supplanted by limestone to create the right conditions for the likes of cyclamen and Erythroniums. There's also a tufa garden with mediterranean planting and a Lithodora diffusa that was still in flower.

rock garden rock garden

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The Pingo

The Pingo is what some might call a spinney, an area of light woodland with a pond, winding paths, little bridges, conveniently-placed benches and the kind of planting that encourages the visitor to slow down and admire the view.

Tucked in between the tactile and textural magnificence of the Heather Garden and the complex, rich planting of the Rock Garden, it's a little haven of calm and tranquility after all that excitement, all centred around a irregularly-shaped pond that has been delicately underplanted, to add to the simpler atmosphere.

The Pingo

The Pingo junior urglers
The whole area is criss-crossed with inviting pathways of brick, stone, setts and stable pavers, and there's a superb weeping ash teetering on the edge of the pond that tempts you to explore a little further, throiugh planting that reaches up over head height. Oh yes! There were these two as well: the apprentice urglers, Beth Rimmer and Roisin McCormack, who did actually manage to enjoy themselves almost as much as the senior members. :~)

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The Water Garden

Water Garden View across pond
The Water Garden is another relatively recent addition to the gardens, being developed in the 1970s as part of a scientific project investigating plant tolerance of changing water levels. It started life as a clay-pit, but is now linked via two excavated ponds to the Pingo Pond upstream, and the River Dee downstream.

Gunnera water garden
The margins of the ponds features some impressive plants, not least a huge Gunnera, as well as bulrushes and, on the surface, hundreds of water lilies. Set amidst the arboretum and a spinney, which we just didn't have the timew to explore, this makes a wonderful spot for another picnic.

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