Scotland 2018 Logo©Ken Woolfenden

Part 4

Written by me, Fiona, this is the last of four informal reports of the Society visit and meeting in Scotland in 2018. As usual, a full set of articles by members of the group will be published in the next journal, Clematis International 2019. To those of you who came along, I hope this will bring back happy memories. To others, perhaps it will encourage you to join us in a future year.

Scotland 2018 - Part 1 described the visits we made on the first two days - Edinburgh Walking Tour, Shepherd House, 101 Greenbank Terrace, Hunter's Tryst and Little Sparta. Scotland 2018 - Part 2 covered the next two days - Jupiter Artland, Kevock, the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh including a visit to the Herbarium. Scotland 2018 - Part 3 described our transfer from Edinburgh to St Andrews via Perth where we visited Parkhead Gardens and Branklyn Garden before heading for Fife and visiting Falkland Palace and Gardens before finally arriving at St Andrews.

This report covers our last two days in the Kingdom of Fife where we visited four walled gardens - Backhouse Rossie, Kellie Castle Gardens, Wemyss Castle Gardens and Cambo Walled Garden - all very different.

Backhouse Rossie

Our first stop on our penultimate day was at Backhouse Rossie, a place steeped in history. The current owners are Andrew and Caroline and they welcomed us to the garden. Andrew and Caroline are directly descended from the Quaker Backhouse family of Botanists & Bankers. They amazed the world with their new plant introductions, including Alliums, Campanula, Ferns, Heathers, Lavender, Lilies and Snowdrops. Their new daffodil cultivars caused great excitement and changed daffodil breeding in this country forever. Caroline has been researching these and the Backhouse Rossie gardens now has a National Collection.

You can find out more about Backhouse Rossie and its history here:

We were divided into two groups and given an introduction to the garden and daffodil (narcissi) collection by Caroline and a tour of the gardens by Andrew and the main gardener.

This morning was the only time in our visit that we had rain, which was much appreciated by the garden. However, Andrew and Caroline had thoughtfully provided some shelter for us in an old garage where coffee and tray bake were served.
Backhouse Rossie House©Ken Woolfenden

Backhouse Rossie House

Alpine garden by entrance to garden©Ken Woolfenden

Alpine garden by entrance to garden

Grass maze and roses behind©Ken Woolfenden

Grass maze and roses behind

Old greenhouse against garden walls©Ken Woolfenden

Old greenhouse against garden walls

Roses and gate©Ken Woolfenden

Roses and gate

Rose pergola©Ken Woolfenden

Rose pergola

Roses spilling over the wall©Ken Woolfenden

Roses spilling over the wall

C. 'Perle d'Azur'©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Perle d'Azur'

Lovely Auricula display©Ken Woolfenden

Lovely Auricula display

Delphiniums and roses©Ken Woolfenden

Delphiniums and roses

Mummy Bear asleep©Ken Woolfenden

Mummy Bear asleep

Jeff Jabco, our President, thanking Andrew and Caroline for their hospitality©Ken Woolfenden

Jeff Jabco, our President, thanking Andrew and Caroline for their hospitality

Some of the younger members of our group enjoyed the 9-hole putting green despite the rain. They were too old (or too young?) to appreciate the bear trail in the woods. We thought it was good fun.

All too soon it was time to go so we thanked our hosts and headed off to our next destination. During our time at Backhouse Rossie, the rain had eased off and by the time we left it had stopped. Despite the weather, people seemed to enjoy their visit and we'd been very well looked after.

Kellie Castle and Gardens

Our next stop was Kellie Castle and Gardens for lunch, followed by a tour of the house and gardens. We were split into two groups with the first visiting the house while the other visited the garden.

The oldest parts of Kellie Castle date back to the 14th century, but the whole interior was overhauled in the late 19th century by the Lorimers, a famous artistic family. Kellie Castle is a property owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Crow-stepped gables and fairy tale stone towers form the outer frame while indoors, elaborate plaster ceilings and painted panelling lie alongside fine furniture designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who spent much of his childhood at Kellie.

There are magnificent herbaceous borders in the garden. When we visited the lavender and roses were at their best though there were a few clematis in flower. In the garden as a focal point, there is an armillary sundial or sphere that was presented to the owner Hugh Lorimer in the early 1900s.

Kellie Castle Gardens also grow fruit and vegetables. All are grown organically and some are sold in the garden.
Kellie Castle from the garden©Ken Woolfenden

Kellie Castle from the garden

Kellie Castle and armillary sundial©Ken Woolfenden

Kellie Castle and armillary sundial

Roses and geraniums©Ken Woolfenden

Roses and geraniums

Armillary sundial and lavender©Ken Woolfenden

Armillary sundial and lavender

Roses and box edging©Ken Woolfenden

Roses and box edging

Detail in Garden Door©Ken Woolfenden

Detail in Garden Door

C. 'Perle d'Azur'©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Perle d'Azur'

C. 'Minuet'©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Minuet'

C. 'Minuet' on wall©Fiona Woolfenden

C. 'Minuet' on wall

C. 'Multi Blue' and pink rose©Fiona Woolfenden

C. 'Multi Blue' and pink rose

C. 'Multi Blue' single flower©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Multi Blue' single flower

Gooseberry©Ken Woolfenden


Kingsbarns Distillery

We departed from Kellie Castle to the nearby Kingsbarns Whisky Distillery where we were to have a tour of the whisky distillery, a whisky tasting and evening meal. The tour of the distillery was excellent – again we were divided into two groups. There was a lot of interest in my group in the exhibition of the different smells associated with whisky. The very first cask filled with whisky at Kingsbarns sits in the Doocot or Dovecot.

The whisky tasting was interesting as it showed how the grain alcohol absorbs flavours and then matures and becomes whisky. Unfortunately, Kingsbarns had not yet released their first whisky so we were unable to taste it. The whisky was taking longer to mature than expected and they did not want to release it onto the market before it was ready to drink.

To follow there was a buffet of local Scottish produce made by a local lady, including salmon and scotch eggs. It was excellent and hungrily devoured by our group.
Kingsbarnes Distillery©Ken Woolfenden

Kingsbarnes Distillery

Kingsbarns first filled cask of whisky in the Doocot©Ken Woolfenden

Kingsbarns first filled cask of whisky in the Doocot

Kingsbarns copper still©Ken Woolfenden

Kingsbarns copper still

Whisky tasting©Ken Woolfenden

Whisky tasting

St Andrews

We finished early today and just had a short journey back to St Andrews. Our obliging coach driver kindly dropped some of us off in the town and we were able to have a look round St Andrews. We were able to see the Castle and the Cathedral, but it was too late to visit.

On our way back to our accommodation we spotted a small garden with a lovely clematis display. I suspect that the pink clematis is C. 'Comtesse de Bouchaud' but I am not sure about the others.
St Andrews Castle©Ken Woolfenden

St Andrews Castle

St Andrews Pier©Ken Woolfenden

St Andrews Pier

St Andrews Harbour©Ken Woolfenden

St Andrews Harbour

St Andrews Cathedral ruins©Ken Woolfenden

St Andrews Cathedral ruins

Clematis display©Fiona Woolfenden

Clematis display

Clematis display©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis display

Wemyss Castle Gardens

Our last day and we had two more walled gardens to visit before our final Gala Dinner in the evening.

For me, Wemyss Castle Garden was the highlight of our trip. Ken and I had visited it twice before, once in early June and a second time in May, so we had not seen it at this time of year. We were welcomed by Charlotte Wemyss to the garden and able to wander where we wished.

There were clematis everywhere! The garden has walls around the outside and also internal walls which provide areas for all the plants and clematis to grow. The walls round the outside of the garden mainly have Charlotte's Clematis Montana Collection while the internal walls have the summer flowering clematis.

There are also a lot of roses, many of which were in flower, and a number of herbaceous beds filled with plants. There were lots of of fabulous combinations as you can see in the photos below.

Finally, it was time to go and we thanked Charlotte for letting us enjoy her wonderful garden. If you would like to visit, see
Wemyss Castle©Ken Woolfenden

Wemyss Castle

Wall with clematis, roses and astrantia©Ken Woolfenden

Wall with clematis, roses and astrantia

Wemyss walls with clematis, roses and orange alstroemerias©Fiona Woolfenden

Wemyss walls with clematis, roses and orange alstroemerias

Roses and structure in the garden©Ken Woolfenden

Roses and structure in the garden

C. recta, nepeta and delphiniums©Ken Woolfenden

C. recta, nepeta and delphiniums

C. 'M. Koster' and a white clematis (no nametag)©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'M. Koster' and a white clematis (no nametag)

C. 'Evipo061' BERNADINE©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Evipo061' BERNADINE

The author caught trespassing examining clematis name tags©Ken Woolfenden

The author caught trespassing examining clematis name tags

C. 'Zo09113' PERNILLE©Fiona Woolfenden

C. 'Zo09113' PERNILLE

C. 'Błękitny Anioł' BLUE ANGEL and gate©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Błękitny Anioł' BLUE ANGEL and gate

C. 'Fukuzono' and pale pink rose©Ken Woolfenden

C. 'Fukuzono' and pale pink rose

Our President, Jeff Jabco, thanking Charlotte Wemyss for our visit©Ken Woolfenden

Our President, Jeff Jabco, thanking Charlotte Wemyss for our visit

Cambo Walled Garden

Our final stop for today was Cambo Walled Gardens, which is completely different from Wemyss Garden and was chosen as a contrast. Again we divided into two groups for a tour by Fay McKenzie and another of the gardeners. For more information click

Cambo Walled Garden contains bold drifts of plants which are planted in a naturalistic way so that they support each other and should not need staking. The colours and textures are chosen to contrast or compliment each other to provide interest.

At the time of our visit it was too early in the year to appreciate the Prairie garden although I understand that there was some discussion of clematis that could grow in this situation.
Fay McKenzie leading one of the groups©Ken Woolfenden

Fay McKenzie leading one of the groups

View in the Walled Garden©Ken Woolfenden

View in the Walled Garden

Naturalistic planting©Ken Woolfenden

Naturalistic planting

Old glasshouse©Ken Woolfenden

Old glasshouse

C. 'Betty Corning' and contrasting foreground planting©Fiona Woolfenden

C. 'Betty Corning' and contrasting foreground planting

Unknown clematis from the tangutica group©Fiona Woolfenden

Unknown clematis from the tangutica group

Exuberance contained by box border©Ken Woolfenden

Exuberance contained by box border

Children on the walls©Ken Woolfenden

Children on the walls

Clematis and roses©Ken Woolfenden

Clematis and roses

Gala Dinner

Our Gala Dinner tonight was in the Byre Theatre back in St Andrews – an unusual place for a Gala Dinner but I think it worked well. On our arrival we were welcomed by a piper who played the bagpipes as we descended from our coach. It took quite a while for some of our group to descend so the poor piper played for quite a long time!

In the restaurant the staff were efficient and served us quickly. The food was good and there was the sound of conversation as everyone made the most of talking to people whom we would not meet again for at least another year.

Then it was time to say our good bye's and thank you's. The following morning some people were leaving before breakfast for early flights or trains. The majority were travelling back in the coach to Edinburgh Airport to catch flights back home or into Edinburgh to spend a few extra days before heading home. I hope to see everyone next year in Oregon!
The Byre Theatre St Andrews©Ken Woolfenden

The Byre Theatre St Andrews

A Piper welcomes us©Ken Woolfenden

A Piper welcomes us

Gala Dinner©Ken Woolfenden

Gala Dinner

Gala Dinner©Ken Woolfenden

Gala Dinner

Gala Dinner©Ken Woolfenden

Gala Dinner

Gala Dinner©Ken Woolfenden

Gala Dinner

2018 Group Photo

To conclude this report here is our customary group photo which was taken at Wemyss Castle with a fabulous rose on the Castle Wall in the background.

Group photo taken outside Wemyss Castle©Ken Woolfenden

Group photo taken outside Wemyss Castle

Click on the picture above for a high resolution version but be warned, it is 6.2 Mbytes large.

To reread the first report, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 1. For the second report, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 2. Finally the third report one, please visit Scotland 2018 - Part 3.

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