19. East Lothian

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Blackdykes, North Berwick
Sir Hew and Lady Dalrymple

The Dalrymples have been gardening at Blackdykes since 1992, when they moved into the unmodernised house then standing in open farmland less than a mile from the North Sea. Nearly 30 years on the transformation is astonishing. The two-acre garden wraps round the house in a delicious blend of informal shelterbelts, now providing woodland walks, which are vital to keep north and east winds at bay and, nearer to the house, more formal compartments separated by walls and clipped hedges, shelter Janey’s generous plantings of perennials and, particularly, roses; Albertine covers one wall and the parterre garden is filled with old roses including Fantin Latour, Charles de Mills, Ispahan and Great Maiden’s Blush. There is so much to this garden, with vistas through archways in walls which beckon from one delight to the next.

Leuchie Walled Garden
Sir Hew and Lady Dalrymple

Janey Dalrymple has also worked on the restoration of the five-acre walled garden at nearby Leuchie House, which was Sir Hew’s family home. The replanting of this enormous space is a work in progress, but the area in front of the very striking mid-century modern house built into the surrounding wall, has an existing 100-metre-long herbaceous border running in front of the south-facing wall and, across an open expanse of lawn, a newly planted formal garden with Nepeta and Iris, Cotinus and Euphorbia, merges into a regenerated shrub border and ancient Irish yews.

Greywalls, Gullane
Sir Edwin Lutyens designed Greywalls for MP and Colonial Secretary Alfred Lyttleton in 1901. Lyttleton was a keen golfer who required a holiday home close to Muirfield Golf Links “within a mashie niblick shot of the 18th green.”. Lutyens described Greywalls as his favourite house. In 1908 the house was extended by Sir William Lorimer for Mr and Mrs William James, so that they could entertain, among others, Edward VII. Because, like Blackdykes, the garden needs protection from the wind, it lies to the south of the house, enclosed by stone walls with typical Lutyens decorative gateways leading seductively from one enclosure to another. A rose garden by the house has a long vista through the gardens to the south, ending with a Lutyens claire voyée framing the view of the Lothian Hills.

Shepherd House, Inveresk
Sir Charles and Lady Fraser

Charles and Ann Fraser have created a garden that, tardis-like, seems much bigger than its one acre. Behind the house a formal herb parterre and a terrace are separated from the garden by a low hedge of pleached Malus ‘Red Sentinel’. A rill runs from an almost baroque fountain under arches smothered with the roses ‘Seagull’ and ‘Bobby James’ towards the lily-filled pool by the house. There is a delicious small wildflower meadow with dry stone spiral, more land-art than seat. A woodland garden has good trees, among them Prunus serrula and a Davidia involucrata. A shell house has been built beside the potager and the practical vegetable garden. In short, this is a garden, which is one of the top ten small gardens in Scotland, as charming as its owners.

Shepherd House Tour 19

Meet at Blackdykes. Meet at Lunch at Greywalls