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19 Jun 2018

Sundials and sunshine

Written by Chris Wardle, Trust Garden and Designed Landscape Manager
Sundial at Branklyn Garden
Sundial at Branklyn Garden
Almost every garden in the Trust has a sundial but some are more hidden than others. Like the plants that surround them, sundials are at their most beautiful when the the sun shines.

The gardens of the National Trust for Scotland are a veritable horological goldmine. Sometimes you have to look carefully to see the historical timepieces; from the standing one at Drum Castle to the wall mounted sundials on the thunder house at Pitmedden there are sundials everywhere.

The gardeners are usually too busy to look at the time as the gardens never stop growing at the peak of the summer solstice. Plants love the sunlight and the long day length means that they will grow for almost 20 hours in a day. Near the longest day of the year the roses start to flower and summer flowering shrubs such as Philadelphus and Deutzia provide heady scents. You need to visit the gardens as often as possible so you don’t miss the fast pace of the developing displays.

Near the longest day of the year you can see amazing displays of late flowering Rhododendron in Branklyn and Arduaine as well as the first crop of vegetables will be growing well in places such as Culross, Kellie Castle and Holmwood. Time is always of the essence in the summer – you will barely see a gardener stood still as there is so much to do. Maybe the team at Threave will be trying to grow the longest cucumber!

Rhododendron in Arduaine
Rhododendron in Arduaine

One thing is for sure – we have some of the most dedicated people working at the Trust, with many gardeners being long serving members of the teams that look after these wonderful places. Crathes can boast over 150 years of loyal service in its staff and volunteers.

The gardeners are always happy to share their expertise too. If you're interested in gardening make time to visit us over the summer and you won't be disappointed. If you get lucky with the weather, you might even see our sundials in action!

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