The rather flattering article about the Logie House Garden in the November 2021 edition of The English Garden (the picture above, taken by Ray Cox for the article and used with his kind permission) prompted us to look for some photographs of how the garden was before we moved swapped houses with my mother-in-law in 1991. The ones we found are just as I remembered it: a glorious riot of colour in the summer months …. and a huge amount of work! Neil MacDonald was the gardener and he did the whole thing which is quite incredible. He grew 4,000 antirrhinums for the formal garden, along with a large number of red begonias, surrounded by the box and yew hedges. The vegetable garden was very productive, and there was always wonderful soft fruit in the summer. Our children used to love being allowed to pull up a carrot, wash it off and eat it straight away – nothing could taste better! My mother-in-law used to pick the quantities of raspberries into a mushroom basket tied round her waist (so she could use both hands to pick) … I think it was onto her old Girl Guide belt!
I can remember being full of trepidation taking it all on in October of that year. Neil had kept a diary of all he did during a year which certainly helped, but there was an awful lot of fallow ground which would need something growing on it by the next summer. Joe Allardes (whose son Graham is now the Head Forrester here) moved from Relugas with us and was up for the challenge, especially with the vegetables at which he excelled. Neil moved to the gardener’s house at Relugas and continued to work his garden magic there for my mother-in-law. With guidance from Gavin Dallmeyer we planted an orchard, shrunk the veg garden by three-quarters, and started to plant shrubs and trees. We could never have achieved the current garden without Gavin’s knowledge, patience and plantsmanship – and the fact that he was a good enough friend to tell me when I had completely the wrong idea! It is just a shame he is not still around to enjoy it, and to see how much it is enjoyed by so many visitors.
P.S. The article, Flying Colours, features in the November edition of The English Garden magazine, which is available in all the usual outlets until the end of October 2021. It features some beautiful photographs by Ray Cox of Logie House Garden in autumn (including the one at the top of this page), a lovely article and some tips from Panny on improving soil, garden design and getting the most from your plants.