A plant-filled Scottish garden and conservatory that are just as captivating in autumn and winter as they are throughout the rest of the year
Cold, bright days enhance Caroline and henry gibson’s scottish garden, thanks to a Collection of plants and trees that work their magic through to winter
With Victorian plant hunter and botanist robert Fortune her three-times great uncle, Caroline gibson can legitimately claim that a love of plants is in her blood. Whether she has inherited his gardening genes or, as she modestly says, simply ‘learned by trial and error’, her planting and design skills are clear to see in her three-acre rural garden, 15 miles south of edinburgh – even on a bright but bitter november day. trees and shrubs catch the wintry sunlight, their bark, foliage and berries ablaze with seasonal colour while, beyond the garden boundaries, frosted fields add extra sparkle to the magical scene.
Caroline and her husband, henry, an architect, moved back to their native Scotland with their young family 23 years ago. ‘We sold our house in Surrey and rented in this area,’ says Caroline. ‘We wanted a detached house with a garden that was a challenge, something i could put my mark on, but there was nothing available. everyone i met i’d ask, “are you thinking of moving?” eventually a couple rang us and said, “Yes, we’re going to sell.” We moved in six weeks later. it was serendipity.’
in an idyllic location along a single-track road and surrounded by farmland on the edge of the lammermuir hills, Frostineb turned out to be everything the couple were looking for. it had two large paddocks, a long flowerbed around the house and a large area of bare earth, which they initially grassed over. then Caroline started cutting curved herbaceous borders and the design began to evolve. today, each part of the garden flows into the next; each with its own atmosphere, like walking from room to room.
Creating a garden at an elevation of 800ft, however, does present its challenges. ‘it’s certainly a few degrees cooler
Planting around the pond includes cornus, grasses and bamboo. In the background is a leylandii hedge that shelters the garden from icy winds.