Sunday, 25 April 2010

A little gardening and a little farming

Yesterday was another busy day playing tourist in Scotland. Well why not, the sun was shining unlike today.

The first place was Greenbank Gardens. Greenbank Gardens is just over five miles south of Glasgow city centre. The Walled Garden was gifted to the Trust in 1976. It was originally designed to grow vegetables and fruit, but these days its mainly flowers and shrubbery. The garden hosts about 12 domestic sized beds, each focusing on a different theme. I liked them all, but for obvious reasons I liked the herb garden the most. All of the beds were divided by tall plants and ornamental hedging. The garden boasts over 3,700 plants depending on the season. These include spring bulbs, apple and cherry blossom, astilbe, dahlias, roses, azalea, rhododendron and many others that I have yet to learn. Again we took loads of colourful pictures, but had to be selective.
The sound of water leads you to this rather sexy looking Green water nymph. I apologise, I can't remember here official name, but she was originally displayed at the Empire Exhibition in 1938, an international exposition held in Glasgow before she found her final home here. She is rather elegant.
There are over 447 varieties of Narcissus in this garden, also known as daffodils to the likes of me. These are a few that charmed me. There was also one in a peachy colour.
Here are a few topiary animals: a rabbit, a snail and a wee Scottie dog (we think) unless its a terrier. All of them could do with a trim!
An old fashioned water pump. The greenhouse was closed so we couldn't see what was inside it.
Many of the benches here were dedicated to people who have passed away.
We spent a lot of time in the walled garden and even ate our sandwiches under the cherry blossom tree, only because we wanted to enjoy the blazing sunshine. But the history of Greenbank House is just as interesting. The house and its walled garden were originally built for a local man called Robert Allason in the 1760s. Before he set up with his brothers as traders and merchants in Port Glasgow, Robert was originally a baker. This later extended into land holdings, slavery and tobacco in the Caribbean. Of course, like those who participated in the Slave Trade, this made the Allasons very wealthy. It was from the profit of this, that Robert was able to return to his hometown and establish Greenbank House. There are a number of historic buildings in Scotland that have roots in slavery.
Anyway, after enjoying the sunshine and the beauty of the grounds. We drove to the National Museum of Rural Life. I had fun playing a butterfly. Now this is a costume I wouldn't mind wearing. I think its so much better than playing a princess.
The museum displays a number of farming artifacts from across Scotland including tractors. Here are some things that caught my interest. Some old fashioned milk bottles.
Original packaging for one of the Scottish Oatcake brands. One of these days, I must try and make some of my own. The depictions below were interesting.
1. An auction of a West Indian Pineapple in 1844 2. Frozen meat being unloaded from Australia 1881 3. Italian Warehouse, Campbeltown c1910 4. Scottish food exports. These days we are fortunate to be able to access fruit, vegetables and ingredients from all over the world. We have so much choice and have become more worldly through different cuisines. However the importing of affordable food, has had an impact on home-grown produce. Unfortunately, we Brits eat more fruit and vegetables from overseas and less of what is grown in the U.K. Why is that? I know the reason, sometimes an imported cauliflower is much cheaper than one produced locally.
After having a wander inside the Museum, we took a rather bumpy tractor ride described as 'the Doogly Shoogly' up to the 1950s style working farm and farmhouse. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the farm with its Ayrshire dairy cows, black face sheep and skippy lambs, Tamworth pigs and clucky hens.
A handsome Clydesdale horse gifted to the farm from someone who resided in the Isle of Arran. I think she was wondering where her sugar cubes were. I didn't have any to share.
The mill.
Inside the farmhouse, the lady informed us about some traditional thrifty crafts. This image shows the process of making a mat from recycled rags and a jute sack.
Some old fashioned cookie cutters. Now that is one straight ginger man, and a very tough looking boot.
Isn't that a classy looking toaster?!
Then into the vegetable patch. Not much growing at this time of year as you would expect, but you could see the blackcurrants, gooseberries and rhubarb.
These rhubarb forcers are wonderful. Last year when I forced my rhubarb, I used an upturned plastic bin. It may not have been very pretty to the eye, but it worked very well. Still I envy these sturdy rhubarb forcers. MMmmm can't wait to eat some seasonal rhubarb, sweet and sharp.


  1. Hi mangocheeks
    Thanks for the fascinating report and photos. I love finding out about the past and the way they did things. More often than not, the old ways can tell us a lot about sustainability.

  2. I loved the entire post but the pic of the dancing water nymph is quite fetching.

  3. Thanks for sharing the wild garlic ideas (and your fabulous museum & garden experiences too!) The eggs look fabulous--simple, fresh, good.

  4. Thanks Mrs C.
    By the way when are you going to claim your prize. You had the winning card! Congruatulations!

    Thanks Kella.
    I agree she is rather striking!

    Thank you "Prof. Kitty"

  5. That butterfly costume is fab, i want to be a butterfly! :-)

  6. loooove the water nymph. What a feeling to be her...

    That toaster's pretty cool!

  7. Thanks Scented Sweetpeas.
    I agree.
    You can be a butterfly too :D

    Thank you Wendy.
    The water nymph is certainly winning hearts.

  8. Hi, another lovely tour of Scotland with great photos. I love the scarecrow, very well dressed if a little shabby but maybe shabby genteel was the look he was aiming for?!

  9. Thank you Peggy.
    I liked him too, esp that wait coat.

  10. Hi Mangocheeks
    your post has got may feet itching again to return up North and has given me another place to put on my visiting list, thank you. I only see Glasgow as a bit of a blur as I make my way past on my way over the Erskine bridge. I too love browsing gardens and looking at old gardening ways. Loved all the pics especially the nymph and daffs!

  11. Hi mangocheeks. Sorry, it has been a while since I have commented or blogged. I have been busy, mainly with wedding planning. Talking of which, my fiance and I would really like to spend our honeymoon in June in Scotland. Do you happen to have any recommendations for places to visit or stop over?

    In the meantime, I am off to hunt some wild garlic after seeing your inspiring recipes. And I plan to blog like a mad thing at the weekend between sorting the seating plan and ordering the booze.

  12. Oh FlowerPowerGirl,
    Absolutely no need to apologise.
    So the wedding is finally happening. Yay. I remember your future mother in law commenting on my blog when I first started. In fact I recently revisited the Forced Rhubarb greek yogurt dish and it made me smile, as it was one of the first of many comments. I hope you MIL is well.

    Honeymoon in Scotland. Gosh, parts of it are beauitul and others not so. I have really loved the little Scottish islands like the Isle of Mull and Tobermory. Thoroughly recommend those.

    Edinburgh city is OK, but other than the Castle and its surrounding _ I personally don't think it has much to offer, but of course I live near Glasgow so am understandably biased. In the East Coast, places like Fife are lovely. Parts of West of Scotland are lovely too. If you can be a little more specific on what kind of things you both like I may be able to give you a better idea.

    I hope you find some wild garlic and that those wedding plans/arrangments doesn't stress you out too much. Warm and heart felt kind wishes.


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