Is your garden large and lavish, or small and simple? Either way, it’s fun to get ideas and inspiration from some well-known botanical gardens. Every once in a while, garden master Jim Duthie likes to inspire us with views of some of the most famous gardens in the world.
Today, he’s sharing some pictures with us of a beautiful place he recently visited in Scotland. And you just might recognize the name of the place.
For years, I’ve heard about a beautiful place in far away Aberdeen, Scotland, where my family comes from, and I decided that if I ever got over there, I would be sure to visit it. A few weeks ago, I finally got to see it in person. It’s a beautiful park, and its name has a very familiar ring.
Welcome to Duthie Park in beautiful Aberdeen, Scotland. Duthie Park, or as it’s pronounced here, Duthie (duh-thee) park, sits in the southern part of the Granite City on the banks of the River Dee, which winds through town and empties into the adjacent North Sea.
Duthie Park was built and donated to the city of Aberdeen by Lady Elizabeth Duthie in 1880, as this large monument commemorates. In 1883, it was officially dedicated by Princess Beatrice, daughter of the British monarch, Queen Victoria.
The park sits on 44 acres and includes a variety of ponds and water features. There also lots of fountains, although while I was there some of them were being refurbished. And like any true British park, there are lots of monuments and plaques marking history and heraldry.
The center of the park has a large cricket field, as well as a charming old historic bandstand. Walkways meander through the trees and alongside water features, like this wildlife pond that attracts many birds.
But the main feature of Duthie Park is the David Welch Winter Gardens, a series of huge connected greenhouses and atriums established over a century ago, that displays thousands of plants and flowers from around the world. In fact, it’s Europe’s largest indoor garden.
The tropical house is huge, with displays of hundreds of plants and flowers native to the tropics, particularly Central and South America, including palm trees, ferns and bamboo, as well as exotic flowers like the waxy red anthurium, the bird of paradise, orchids, and others varieties that are more familiar to us as houseplants, like the peace lily, including this pretty pink one, elephant ears, and giant split-leaf philodendrons. There’s even a collection of carnivorous plants, like the Venus fly trap.
Walk through the arid house and you’ll see one of Britain’s largest collections of cactus and succulents, from giant agaves to more common aloe vera, tall echeveria, and numerous other cacti, many from the western United States. Here’s an unusual one, called the old man cactus, because of the thick white mantle of whiskery thorns.
Visit the scented corridor, where aromatic plants and flowers bombard your senses with their perfumes. Stroll through the Victorian corridor, to sample colorful displays of geraniums, rows of delicate cyclamen, and dozens of hanging baskets overflowing with brilliant begonias and eye-catching petunias.
Outside in the courtyard, you’ll find the perennial gardens, with dozens of flowering plants and shrubs that would grow very well here in our Idaho gardens.
End your visit back inside, sitting by the koi ponds, and let your senses be carried away by the aroma and beauty of hundreds of different plants and flowers along with the sounds of a trickling stream. You’ll even find some plants and grasses native to Scotland, including, of course, the Scottish thistle. It may be a weed, but it’s also the Scottish national flower and a symbol of the country.
I’d lay claim to Duthie Park if I could, but you don’t have to travel all the way to Scotland to be inspired by beautiful parks and gardens. We have several right here in the Treasure Valley for you to enjoy every day. They’ll inspire you and boost your imagination on what you can do in your own garden at home.
By the way, our own Idaho Botanical Garden here in Boise wants to feature some famous local gardens. They’re taking nominations now for stops in next year’s private garden tour. If you know someone who grows a beautiful home garden in the Highlands area around Hill Road and Bogus Basin road, nominate them!