Garden Photo of the Day

Pat’s Scottish Garden

A trip across the pond to a beautiful garden

large plant with purple flowers in front of multicolored lilies

Today we’re off to Scotland to visit with Pat Colston.

We live in Perthshire, around 12 miles from the east coast of Scotland at an elevation of 143m. Our cottage is around 140 years old, and the garden would originally have been used only to grow vegetables and fruit.

(Editor’s note: I have added USDA hardiness zones to the plants, but be aware that Scotland’s climate is so different from that of the United States that hardiness zones don’t necessarily translate.)

large variegared yucca in front of a plant with orange flowersYucca gloriosa (Zones 7–11) with Kniphofia ‘Incandesce’

wide view of the garden with many different trees and shrubsA wider view of part of the garden shows a cercidiphyllum tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Zones 4–8), a tall silver birch (Betula pendula, Zones 2–7), one of five cordylines (Cordyline australis, Zones 8–10), Pittosporum shrubs, golden philadelphus (Phyladelphus coronarius ‘Aureus’, Zones 4–8), and Physocarpus ‘Diablo’ (Zones 2–8).

stone garden path leading to more shrubs and palm treesIn this photo are cordylines, Phormium tenax (Zones 8–10), which always flowers well, and a large stand of bamboo, which has to be watched carefully because it really wants to spread throughout the whole garden! We have dug a trench around it and regularly cut any shoots that are trying to cross the trench. Many people are surprised that plants like cordylines and bamboo can survive in Scotland, and one passerby even asked if we got coconuts on our palm trees! I wish.

long garden bed full of purple, pink, and yellow flowersThis long herbaceous bed is filled with, among other things, red monarda (Monarda didyma, Zones 4–9), blue delphinium (Delphinium elatum, Zones 3–7), yellow anthemis (Anthemis tinctoria, Zones 6–8), pink sidalcea (Sidalcea malviflora, Zones 5–9), spiky yellow Centaurea macrocephala (Zones 3–8), phlox (Phlox paniculata, Zones 4–8), Geranium psilostemon (Zones 5–7), and a large Fatsia japonica (Zones 7–10) at the end of the bed.

shrub covered in orange flowers in front of a larger green shrubHere are an orange azalea (Rhododendron hybrid, Zones 6–10), behind it an old plum tree that still crops well, a Physocarpus ‘Dart’s Gold’, and a large Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9) that needs a hard trim every year.

large plant with purple flowers in front of multicolored lilies Agapanthus (African lily, Zones 7–10) and the highly scented lily ‘Dutch Red’

large clumps of red flowersBright orange Helianthemum (Zones 4–9)

I hope you enjoyed seeing something different, and I send best wishes from Scotland.


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 08/01/2022

    Thanks for sharing. I love seeing gardens from other countries.

    1. pcolston 08/01/2022

      Thanks for your kind comments. I also love seeing the wide range of gardens in the USA, such a variety.

  2. Tz_Garden 08/01/2022

    Thank you, you have a glorious garden!

    1. pcolston 08/01/2022

      Thanks so much, I am glad you enjoyed seeing it.

  3. User avater
    simplesue 08/01/2022

    Oh wow your long herbaceous bed is pure perfection- such a beautiful example of a successful flower bed!
    Really a wonderful garden with the palm trees and winding brick path, just beautiful- I love it!

    1. pcolston 08/01/2022

      Thank you so much for your kind comments. We lift all the herbaceous plants every 3 years and split them, or they would just grow and grow!

  4. btucker9675 08/01/2022

    What a stunning garden - I love the curving long bed with the brick walkway. Everything is beautiful and your "cottage" looks lovely. Thanks for sharing!

    1. pcolston 08/01/2022

      Thank you, I am so glad you liked the photos. We have a strong rope net right over the long bed to support the tall herbaceous plants.

  5. donburgard 08/01/2022

    I'm going to be in Scotland next week on a family vacation. The photos of your beautiful garden have me eager to see Scotland's plant life for myself. Thank you for sharing!

    1. pcolston 08/01/2022

      Thank you for your comments. If you are visiting Edinburgh, their Botanic Garden is lovely, and also Logan Botanic Garden in south west Scotland. I hope you enjoy your visit to Scotland.

  6. User avater
    cynthia2020 08/01/2022

    Pat - thank you for sharing all the photos. I especially liked the herbaceous border. And you certainly have lovely fields, hills, and wooded areas all around your property!

    1. pcolston 08/01/2022

      Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, we are fairly rural, and there are sheep in the field next to our garden so we have to keep the fence in good order!

  7. alicefleurkens 08/01/2022

    You live in a beautiful place and your gardens are beautiful and immaculate. What a joy to look at. To my big surprise brother in law in the Netherlands also has palm trees in his garden, that is super cool in Scotland.

    1. pcolston 08/02/2022

      I'm so glad you enjoyed seeing the garden. In a really bad winter the palm trees can be killed on top, but very often can sprout further down the trunk or at the base. The Netherlands are further south than Scotland so may have a better winter temperature too.

  8. user-7787360 08/02/2022

    What a gorgeous garden! How do you keep everything in such immaculate condition (including the grassy areas)? I have a large garden and struggle with upkeep, specially the weeds!

    1. pcolston 08/02/2022

      Thank you for your comments. My husband keeps the grass mown weekly, and feeds it at least 3 times per annum. As we have got older, we have tried to simplify the layout, but yes the weeds never stop!

  9. User avater
    vanhatalosuomi 08/02/2022

    Hello Pat!
    Greetings from Finland. :)
    I am a great fan of structure, placement and properly edged beds. Thank you for demonstrating with such elegance what can be achieved. Your photo 'wider view of the garden' is exquisite!
    Can you tell me how you're growing your Physocarpus and Philadelphius? It appears they are rounds and I really like the look.
    Thank you again. Just marvelous what you've achieved. So glad you shared your garden!

    1. pcolston 08/02/2022

      Hi Vanha, thank you for your kind comments. That is my husband's favourite view of the garden too. The curved edges to the lawn helps to soften the look. I prune the philadelphus immediately after flowering, or next year's flowers are lost. The physocarpus Diablo can be pruned with secateurs but the Dart's Gold needs a hedge trimmer as it grows so large, and I try to achieve a rounded effect on them all.

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