WWW.NTS.ORG.UK55?in neat beds. Nowhere is spring and early summercelebrated in such traditional and joyful form as inthe Trust gardens, where a visit to a magnificenthouse always offers the bonus of an encounter withan immaculately tended garden. Few gardens illustrate this as dramatically asGreenbank, in the south of Glasgow, which has 500varieties of daffodil. Planted in the intricate parterrein front of the 18th-century house and in drifts inthe woodland, they are carefully labelled. Look forthe yellow, frilly double cupped 'Telamonius Plenus',also known as 'Von Sion', the historic daffodil thatfirst flowered in Scotland in 1620 and is still sogardenworthy it is available 400 years later.A key objective of this garden, handed over to theTrust in 1977, is its continued use as an educationtool. Other highlights include the NationalCollection of Bergenia and beds devoted to trials ofperennials, many of which are used in other Trustgardens, and a collection of spring flowering shrubs,notably Exochordax macrantha'The Bride'. "Anybride who asks for a cutting of its sprays of whiteflowers will be given one if the time is right to takesuch cuttings," says head gardener David Ferguson. David also suggests looking out for the daintynodding flowers on the various 'Epimedium' or thefresh and vibrant new foliage of 'Rodgersia' or'Hosta' which promise so much for the summerahead. "Of the perennials in flower or coming intoflower the showiest in spring are probably 'Dicentra',of which there are several varieties, from theubiquitous 'spectabalis' to the lovely ferny bluefoliage and pink flower of 'Stuart Boothman'.At Holmwood, an oasis in Glasgow's Cathcartdistrict, the designed landscape bursts into life withthe dramatic unfolding of fresh, young foliage. Thisyear, for the first time, swathes of newly planteddaffodils will add colour to the driveway.Rescued from near dereliction by the Trust 12years ago, this two-level garden was restored usingold plans combined with archaeological evidence.These revealed a walled kitchen garden tuckedbetween the house and the coach house, laid out ina symmetrical design to complement the Classicallines of the house.Here, gardener Jim McPherson suggests, "the cookcould look out of the window and choose herproduce". In a demonstration of what can be donein a small garden, he now grows the kind ofVictorian produce she might have expected to see.The garden produces a range of fruit includinggooseberries and currants, red and white, all done ascordons. There are apples and plums; rhubarb isforced and the many varieties of seasonal vegetablesinclude asparagus, leeks, onions, beans and carrots.At Geilston Garden in Cardross, north-west ofGlasgow, where head gardener Joanna Gough andvisitors alike relish the tranquillity of the site withits glimpse of the River Clyde, this year the mainexcitement is the newly restored 40ft Victorianglasshouse by Mackenzie and Moncur. "It's fully heated," Joanna enthuses, "and is perfectfor starting vegetable seedlings, propagating plants,starting sweet peas and growing dahlias fromcuttings." These will be planted out in the kitchengarden, one of two spacious enclosed gardens thatcomplement the 18th-century house. Planted with a riot of fragrant red, pink andapricot azaleas, the main walled garden flowsseamlessly into summer when the dramatic doubleborder is packed with romantic favourites such aslupins, astilbe, daylilies and hostas. The key to this garden's charm lies in itshorticultural variety, Joanna points out. In springthe walks through the woodland garden and alongthe side of the Geilston Burn towards the old millpond are romantically lined with rhododendron andazaleas backed with carpets of wood anemone inApril and bluebells in May. "You can wander round, listen to the burn, hear"The cook at Holmwood could look out of the window and choose her produce"Previous page: enjoying daffodils atGreenbank Garden.These pages, clock-wise from left: twovivid scenes atGeilston Garden andtwo shots from theHolmwood kitchengarden. Followingpage: two Hill Houseimages and a view ofthe Weaver's Cottage
56GARDENS?SPRING 2012WWW.NTS.ORG.UKthe birds sing, smell the honeysuckle andthe roses and hardly see anyone," Joannasays. "It's another world: splendid."For sheer drama of setting, nearby HillHouse, which is south-facing withspectacular views over the Firth of Clyde, ishard to beat. Designed by Charles RennieMackintosh for the publisher WalterBlackie at the turn of the last century, thehouse itself is well known. What is lesswell known is that Mackintosh, himself aknowledgeable plantsman, almost certainlycollaborated with Blackie on the layout ofthis garden, which was regularly enjoyedby the whole Blackie family. The layout, which was planned toenhance the house, surrounds it. Thesouth-facing front façade overlooks twoopen lawns separated by a lime hedge: theupper one is further divided by a curvingpath and also features a curious mound,which may have been created by stone andrubble removed during construction. Eastof the house are the lilac circle and rosegardens; roses, a Blackie family passion, arealso seen in the south-facing terrace, whereornamental quince can also be found. Pause at the side of the west path, wherea shaded space, furnished with a pair ofstone benches, overlooks a small pond.Here, early flowering yellow irises aresucceeded by water lilies. Another peacefulspot is the bench in the wildflower gardenat the end of the south terrace.In the Blackies' time, there was a kitchengarden to the north of the house wherevegetables, raspberries and currants aregrown. Today, this area is a small orchardwhere traditional apple varieties arecovered in blossom in spring. Headgardener Gavin Smith starts the vegetablesfor the compact vegetable plot in the smallgreenhouse, where he also raises springbulbs and a striking show of colourfulpotted plants such as begonias. The redclay rhubarb forcers are another interestingfeature in this part of the garden.At the Weaver's Cottage in Renfrewshire,children are captivated by the details of thehuman remains uncovered duringarchaeological excavations organised bythe Trust. Less robust visitors will becharmed by the informal gardensurrounding the cottage; it is filled withperennials, many of which weretraditionally used to make dyes.All these Trust gardens, regardless of size,benefit from the passion and enthusiasm ofthe gardeners who tend them and bringthem alive. They are proof of the love,attention and hard work poured into themand all the gardeners combine a stronginterest in the history of their propertywith a mastery of the practicalities of 21st-century horticulture. All are waiting for usto visit and enjoy their work. lGreenbank Garden, Flenders Road, Glasgow G76 8RBTel: 0844 493 2201 All year9.30 to sunset MTWTFSSOn 15 April, Daffodil Day, 300 varietieswill be on show from 11-4.45 withinformation, such as date ofintroduction and characteristics Geilston Garden, Cardross,Dumbarton G82 5HD,Tel: 0844 493 22191 Apr to 31 Oct9.30-5 MTWTFSSSown in modules, or straight into theground using traditional methods,produce will be ready for the AugustKitchen Garden SaleHolmwood61-63 Netherlee Road, Glasgow G44 3YUTel: 0844 493 2204 1 Apr to 31 Oct noon-5 M..TFSSProduce is available for a donation.The property will kick off the seasonwith the Cadbury Easter Event - seewww.tinyurl.com/ntsholmwoodeggThe Hill House, Upper Colquhoun Street,Helensburgh G84 9AJTel: 0844 493 2208 1 Apr to 31 Oct 1.30-5.30 MTWTFSSWeaver's Cottage, The Cross,Kilbarchan PA10 2JG,Tel: 0844 493 22051 Apr to 30 Sept 1-5MT..FSSDiscoverGardens galore"All these gardens are proof of the love,attention and hardwork poured into them"