At last, leaves are turning. Autumn has been a little late this year, at least it is in our neck of the woods. But as our autumn colour ‘season’ draws to a close, we have greatly enjoyed welcoming visitors to The Pond Garden for the first time as part of Scotland’s Garden Scheme.
Thank you all for making our first ‘Open Season’ with Scotlands Garden Scheme such a success.
Although Sunday 24th was the last official open day for this year, informal bookings for small groups continue by arrangement in November
Just get in touch if you would like to visit on Saturday or Sunday afternoons (but not 6/7 November).Scotlands Garden Scheme
This is a new adventure for us, far beyond anything we imagined when we first saw an advertisement in the Scotsman property section 28 years ago.
A ruined cottage with delightful pond, deciduous woodland…
Pond Cottage, just a mile north of Milnathort, was completely derelict when we climbed over a fence and made our way through a newly harvested field one sunny September afternoon in 1993. There was no road here, trees occupied the cottage, the pond was silted up and a neighbourhood dump filled the old quarry.
Well, what’s not to like?
There’s much more to tell about the past and present of the cottage, but we began by letting you know about the woodland Open Days – and what to expect when you get here. With luck, and a fair wind, the weather will be kind through November!
Directions: from the village of Milnathort, in Perth and Kinross. At the mini roundabout in the village centre take the exit for Wester Loan, which becomes North Road. At the top of the hill, past the church on your left, you will cross the motorway. Carry straight on for 1/2 mile. Pond Cottage is on the right. You will see big yellow SGS signs at the open gate.Scotlands Garden Scheme
A wild woodland place
With Nature in charge, a wild woodland garden has been growing as flowers weave their wiley way through the undergrowth, and the pond attracts many different visitors – you won’t always see them but through the seasons there are swans, ducks, moorhens, herons, red squirrels, deer and others among the trees, sedges, reeds and butterbur. There’s a waterbank garden of moisture loving plants full of frogs, bees and butterflies. And the old quarry is now a sun-speckled grassy glade…when we cut the nettles back.
All trees have a story to tell so we are experimenting with a ‘plant-hunters’ trail for visitors of all ages to explore paths leading through mixed woodland plantations of conifers, beeches, oaks and rowans. Your task will be to find key trees along the trail of native and introduced species (look for David Douglas discoveries) ending with afternoon tea with home baking and a chance to share discoveries. Nature is always full of surprises!
Pond Garden is raising funds for Perth Autism Support and Scotlands Garden Scheme with an entry fee of £5 for adults. (You can find more details on Scotland’s Garden Scheme website).
As we have never done this before we began with small
groups by arrangement on Sundays in September and October. If you would like to book a place please just leave your name and contact details in the comment box below (it won’t be publicly visible) and I will get back to you. Children are welcome – we’d love to see what you think of our simple treasure hunt through the trees – and dogs on leads too. The Beechwood Beast is friendly, of course.
We will be delighted to hear from you. We have really enjoyed meeting so many local people generously supporting our first Open Days. Now gearing up for full autumn colour for our last public opening in October (and grandchildren are hatching plans for a Halloween trail).
Sunday 24 October is the last public Open Day
Private weekend bookings by arrangement until end November
Further reading and viewing: Just for fun, the Pond Cottage Swan Parade to music by Bobby Perman. ‘Our’ swans have now departed (probably downstream to Loch Leven) and we miss them – but not the great piles of guano they deposited around the pond, cottage, garden…everywhere they went. There’s more about this strange daily exercise, with perhaps a humbling lesson for human parents: Swans learn from their mistakes
[This post first published August 31 updated with new autumn colours October 27 – more to come soon]