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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 fa├žade 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"

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