Every few days, Pete harvests a handful of plump sweet raspberries and tiny wild strawberries. The strawberries in particular are a revelation – their flavour is very different to the domesticated strawberries we’re all familiar with. To me, it’s reminiscent of bubble gum and perfume.
We haven’t exactly been struggling under the weight of crops so far this year – a combination of late sowing followed by some pretty cool and dull weather has really knocked a lot of things back.
However, our tomatoes – both indoors and out – have quite a good number of fruit forming, and are now finally starting to ripen up. This isn’t the first lot we’ve harvested, but it probably is the first batch that have made it all the way to the back door and into the kitchen without getting eaten!
The cherry tomatoes in the greenhouse have some magnificent looking trusses which should start to ripen up in the next few weeks, so I’m hopeful that we can finally look forward to a glut of something, at least, in the near future.
Floral Hall Visitor Centre is a wonderful place for garden lovers to while away an hour or few in Inverness.
Inverness is a wonderfully compact city straddling the banks of the River Ness. Walk just 10 minutes along the river from Ness Bridge (Young Street) in the town centre and you’ll feel like you’re in a peaceful rural village. Just 20 minutes from the centre will take you out to Floral Hall, near Bught Park and Queens Park Stadium.
The unassuming wooden frontage of Floral Hall belies the beauty and tranquillity within. And it’s just £2.30 per adult to enter, free for under 18s.
Opened in 1993, the centre has a large climatically controlled subtropical glass house with cascading waterfall, koi carp pond (home to Sumo, Fluffy, Kenneth and Star) and lots of luscious planting. Stairs to a second level allow you to get a bird’s eye view of some of the planting.
Another large greenhouse features an extensive cactus garden.
Further greenhouses are used to raise plants for the garden and park. Plants are also on sale to visitors, should you be lucky enough to live locally or be driving back home. We were flying so were forced to resist!
The outside space is divided into different areas showcasing a range of garden designs including formal and informal beds. A raised bed area is planted with pretty flowers that seem particularly attractive to bees and other insects. The gardens are meticulously kept and absolutely beautiful.
In a corner of the more formal garden area is a gate leading to a pretty rockery and bird feeding areas and a vegetable plot, which looked a little neglected when we visited!
We spent a peaceful hour enjoying the gardens before heading back into town to attend a wedding in the beautiful St Mary’s church. Next time we visit Inverness, we’ll put aside a little longer to enjoy this charming hidden gem.