Sunday, 1 July 2012

Glen House Garden

Once again the weather was far from auspicious for garden visitng but we ventured forth nonetheless. I was particularly eager to go to visit Glen House garden (near Traquair) as it hadn't been open before under the Scottish open gardens scheme. And although the weather could not be described in any shape or form as summer like it was at least dry most of the time. The estate was mentioned back in olden times when a certain Sara of the Glen (what a great name to be called by!) swore allegiance to the English Kind Edward I in 1296. Not a move that could have gone down well with her Scottish neighbours! But the estate rose to prominence when it was bought by the Scottish tycoon Sir Charles Tennant. He it was who established the surrounding landscape and commissioned the house, designed by architect David Bryce and completed in 1855. As you can see above it's guarded by some ferocious looking lions.
 The house itself is in the Scottish baronial style and sits beautyifully in among the surrounding hill. The garden itself lays 700ft up. You can actually stay in Glen House (check it out here) and it's also available as a film/event location.
I was very taken by this view with the building rising up out of the surrounding trees.

 A beautiful water lily in the pond garden
 and a still-life of dovecot and chair discovered underneath the balcony where teas were being served
Finally, and unexpectedly, we came face to face with a memorial. We walked along a gorgeous avenue of silver fir trees to reach this little temple building which I'm guessing was once a folly and focal point at the end of the avenue. It is a Greek looking portico designed by William Playfair that has been converted into a family memorial with a glass window dedicated to Charles (1957-1996) and Henry (1960-1990) Tennant. Looking at a monument for two people that were born after you were and who died long before their time, brings your own mortality forcefully tomind. It's somehow more poignant and direct than the monuments to those who died long ago. You can read about their tragic story and that of Lord Glenconner (a friend of Princess Margaret) here

It is a reminder that even having a beautiful home and wealth doesn't necessarily make for a happy life. But it must contribute to the quality of your existence, nevertheless. The above view of the fairytale house became my blip for today.


Lenna Young Andrews said...

Gosh, what a story of Colin Tenant -I should say Lord Glenconner. I followed your link and read the article/ obituary in the Telegraph. Amazing and also sad about his sons whose memorial you visited.

what a remarkable and beautiful place though -5000 acres?? I had seen the one photo earlier on blip but really enjoyed all the others you shared with us here. Your landscapes in Scotland are so incredibly different than mine in Florida! xox

Linda said...

Fabulous story Frieda. the lion certainly is formidable looking. Beautiful pic of the water lily and I love the dovecot!


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