Parkhead Gardens Perth

posted in: Gardening | 5
this is an image of parkhead gardens perth
this is a collage of images from Parkhead gardens perth

Parkhead Gardens Perth

For years I’d been telling Maddy that I’d visit her garden – Parkhead Gardens,Perth. Every year it would go on my ‘to do list’ …but it never happened. Moreover it’s not as if it was on the other side of the country. Due to the fact that it’s practically on my own doorstep!

Gasp I can’t believe it took me so long but I finally made the arrangements. I already knew from chatting to Maddy and visiting her website that she has a beautiful garden. Furthermore Parkhead Gardens has featured in many magazines, gardening books. Even a BBC camera crew have been along.


What I didn’t expect was my reaction when I arrived! As a photographer it was a sheer joy to slowly stroll along the narrow meandering paths and under the many archways with my camera. As a result it took some time before I pressed the shutter.  In other words I just ‘soaked in the atmosphere’. Mesmerizing probably describes my first 30 minutes. Likewise it was very inspirational to me as a fellow gardener.

If you ever get the chance to linger in this garden you’ll be lost in the moment as you journey from one garden room to another. Never knowing what mystery and surprise lies around the next corner. Sometimes you just have to stop. Sit for a moment or two and absorb the sheer poetry of the place. Time stands still!


In fact Maddy has used her creative skills to good effect. She places plants together that not only compliment each other when in bloom but also with their foliage. I could read 'her story' and see 'her vision'. I felt so relaxed and at home there. The garden also reflects her very friendly personality with little pockets of 'whimsical' that will bring a smile to your face. Indeed I've come home full of ideas. As well as a greater appreciation of what can be grown in the local area.

this is an image from parkhead gardens perth of a piece of stoneware

Mylnefield Lilies

Maddy holds the National Collection of the rare Mylnefield Lilies / North Lilies. Actually these lilies were originally bred to withstand the cold Scottish winters. Consequently I'm now a custodian of a North lily - 'Rosie North'. It's named after Dr North's great grand-daughter.

Oh what a responsibility!


Parkhead Gardens nestles midway on a hillside on the western side of Perth. To my utter amazement it has an impressive 20 year old Strawberry Tree - Arbutus unedo. It has such tactile salmon coloured peeling bark though it's grown too far north to produce those exquisite fruits.

this is an image of the lily house at parkhead gardens perth
The Lily House; Lilies in terracotta pots; Mylnefield lilies 'Pan'; 'Achilles'


Strawberry Tree - Arbutus unedo near the pond
Strawberry Tree - Arbutus unedo near the pond


When I was there one evening last week I saw one of my favourite summer flowering plants  - Eryngium {pronounced ear-WREN-gee-um} commonly known as 'Sea Holly'. This is one plant you'll notice from a distance.  It has such a striking foliage colour bold texture and architectural appearance hence its popularity with garden designers. The tall flowering steel blue stems rise from a rosette of silvery green prickly leaves.  While each thistle-like flower has a blue central thimble with a ruffled collar of steel blue bracts around the base.  It's the haute couture of the flowering plants!

Eryngium planum 'Flüela' in the distance - it stands out from the crowd!
Eryngium planum 'Flüela' in the distance
Eryngium planum 'Flüela'
Eryngium planum 'Flüela'
Eryngium planum 'Flüela'
Eryngium planum 'Flüela'
Eryngium alpinum 'Blue Star'
Eryngium alpinum 'Blue Star'
Rudbeckia and lilies contrast with the steel blue sea hollies
Rudbeckia and lilies contrast with the steel blue sea hollies
left to right: Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost', Hydrangea paniculata, Eryngium x 'Lapis Blue' and again 'Jade Frost'
left to right: Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost', Hydrangea paniculata, Eryngium x 'Lapis Blue' and again 'Jade Frost'


Contrast and Texture

I really like how Maddy uses shades of orange from the grassy like leaves of the Libertia peregrinans. Then there are the double orange Rubeckia hirta and lillies. Indeed these contrast so well with the steel blue bracts of the Eryngium alpinum 'Blue Star'.
She also grows Eryngium planum 'Jade Frost'. It has creamy variegated edges to the leaves and in colder weather they take on hues of pink. Maddy extends the creamy theme with the Hydrangea paniculata. It flowers alongside while the large fan shaped Iris leaves and a much darker electric blue Eryngium x 'Lapis Blue' add to the visual contrast.  

Follow Rosie Nixon:

Photography Tutor and Gardener

Rosie is a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at one of Scotland's only photography galleries - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh. She also writes and shares her nature images on

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5 Responses

  1. ann

    To say that the garden is beautiful just does not do it justice. I'd like to know more about the lily Pan because it looks like one I have. It is a pinkish brown that we saved from my daughter's garden when she moved. It is planted with orange tiger lilies, but is far more outstanding than the common tigers. I don't know that I will ever get Perth, but a return trip to Scotland is on my To Do list for the near future. I loved the garden tour; thanks so much sharing it.

  2. Millymollymandy

    A really gorgeous garden; it must have been such a treat to visit. It's all the more beautiful thanks to your wonderful photography. 🙂