July 19 –
It was so hard to leave our beautiful hotel this morning. But leave we did, entering our final day with mixed feelings about the end of this tour. We saw some beautiful scenery today, including majestic mountains, Loch Lomond, and wide open farm land.
Our first destination was Crarae Garden, created in 1912, and set in a deep wooded glen, with an impressive collection of trees and shrubs. It also contains a prehistoric burial cairn.
Next we hiked around Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, another amazing collection with bits of whimsy sprinkled in. We were amazed by the size of the trees here, including the biggest conifer in Europe, a silver fir.
In the afternoon we stopped at Stirling Castle, a huge old fortress with strong Scottish history and the beautiful, terraced Queen Anne’s Garden. Some of us were fascinated by a tour of the King and Queen’s chambers, which strengthened our understanding of the life and times of Mary Queen of Scots.
Our final destination was our final hotel in Falkirk. We said goodbye to our guide Tom and driver John. Soon it was time for our farewell dinner. Alice went around the room, asking each of us to name our favorite garden and one “take-away” idea we hope to bring back to our own gardens. Although we had similar answers, each of us experienced this trip in our own individual ways. Some of us are extending our travels, though most are returning home tomorrow….filled with memories and warmed by friendship.
A note from Alice – Thanks to Anna, my sister, for writing this blog. I added the photos and pulled it all together. I apologize for not being able to get the blogs published quickly. Internet service has not the best at many of our locations making this process slow and time consuming. It has been a fun and rewarding task though, as it has allowed me a chance to review and relive this fantastic journey.