The Carolina Gardener trip to Scotland (--and possibly beyond).

Looking north across the mountains to Poolewe.

Talk about having a great time while traveling! Nothing quite compares with trotting over and around the crags, mountains, and moors of Scotland with ten or so Carolina gardeners in tow plus magazine editor L.A. Jackson, travel maven Jack "Cactus Sands" Bonner, and your's truly. And let's not forget "The Man Brody" who drove the bus with precision and daring. Finally there were the gardens, the folks, the bountiful climate, and the gracious weather of Scotland. Above is a view looking north just off of Highway A832 (about 60 miles from Edinburgh), and on the way to Poolewe. Note the clear (and clean) air. If we had air like that in Western North Carolina, the coughing would stop and the trees grow even taller. But in America, un-controlled progress and unbridled profit come before health and beauty.

A great ligularia. A beautiful member of the chrysanthimums.

At left, marvel at one of the charming new chrysanthemum cultivars seen at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, known as Leucanthemum 'Phyllis Smith'. On the right is a stunning example of Scottish garden flora, in this case ligularias (Ligularia 'Desdimona') blooming in late June at the wondrous botanical gardens of Inverewe, just 600 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

And guess what? We're going back in the summer of 2002 to see more gardens from Western Scotland, then crossing the Irish Sea (probably by hover craft), we'll check out the best gardens that Northern Ireland has to offer. Don't forget to contact Carolina Gardener magazine for more information.

. . . and here's more about the 2001 Carolina Gardener Scottish Garden Tour:

Along the way, we travelled to a host of marvelous gardens where flowers bloomed in profusion and crags were topped with mist, but always the light (17 hours out of 24), was kind to both gardens and plants. The gardens were Glamis Castle (great borders), Balmoral (the home of the Queen Mother), Crathes (unforgettable!), Haddo House (delphiniums, galore), Dunnottar Castle (if ruins be dreams), Pittmeden (the Scotch interpretation of a French formal garden), Ballindalloch (small but choice), Inverewe (one of the great botanic gardens), Leith Hall (what a Moon Gate!), Dunrobbin (just a little garden by the sea), Blair Castle (the misty moors), Edinburgh Botanic Garden (world class!), Drummond Castle (not only unforgettable but unbelievable, too), Kinross (absolutely charming), and finally to St. Andrews (the future home of Prince Charles), where we toured the St. Andrews Botanic Garden.

Cardoons and daisies at Glamis Castle. The Queen's cabbages at Balmoral. One of the main pathways at Crathes. The ruins of Dunnottar. The geometry of Pittmeden. The main border at Ballindalloch. Looking over the lower gardens and the tidal flats at Inverewe. The Moon Gate at Leith Hall. Looking out of the third floor of Dunrobbin Castle. Newly-mown fields and misty mountains at Blair Castle. The trough gardens at the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. The fantastic layout of Drummond Castle. The border at Kinross features lilies, ligularias, yellow snapdragons, and American goldenrod. The borders at the St. Andrews Botanic Garden.