Ballindalloch Castle, the "Pearl of the North" is a proper-looking Scottish Castle with turrets, dating back to the 16th century, Ballindalloch contains a monumental rock garden, epic herbaceous border and vast walled garden.
The herbaceous border, fully 60 metres long, is a rich tapestry of blues and yellows. In early September the Delphiniums are long gone, but the Nepeta and Alchemilla mollis at the front of the border are a faded mass of froth.
These are studded with still fresh lillies and day lillies (Hemerocallis) and the pale pink roses and bright orange Alstromeria add an unexpected but welcome diversion.
The rock garden extends up a steep bank and is complete with a tumbling stream. I can’t say that rock gardens are normally a favourite of mine but on this scale it is hard not to admire it.
The walled garden was replanted in 1996 to celebrate the castle’s 450th anniversary. It is laid out as a traditional rose garden, complete with circular pond and rope swags. On a warm still day the scent must be fab.
The high walls are planted with dark green Hydrangea petiolaris and clematis, inlcuding this large, late-flowering one.
For the young at heart there is an adventure playground, Llamas, a proper train set and red squirrels.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to sample the tea room but I am told that the iced ginger cake is pretty good and the tea comes in china cups. If you are lucky it is sometimes served by the lady of the manor.
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