Kailzie Gardens is privately owned, and over the centuries has changed hands a number of times. Much planting took place from 1914 when the estate was acquired by William Cree, and again from 1962 when the Georgian house on the property was demolished. It originally occupied a spot near the duck pond. Soon after the house was demolished the present owner, Angela Lady Buchan-Hepburn, took over an almost wild garden and set to work to develop the setting of the property and also use what original plantings remained.
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The north-east facing Kailzie Gardens has something of interest for everyone, but the severe weather (frosts can occur year round) and the fact that the gardens are 700 feet above sea level means plants must be hardy.
The wild garden with its snowdrops is part of the Scottish Snowdrop Festival. Later come the daffodils and bluebells to bring colour to early spring. Azaleas and rhododendrons add their blooms in the garden.
An 18 ft high wall, built in 1811, encloses a garden with old fashioned roses and an herbaceous border backed by a copper beech hedge. There are climbers to soften the walls. A formal rose garden was planted in 1981. A sundial dating from 1811 forms a centrepiece. A laburnum walk was added in 1980. Greenhouses provide shelter for geraniums, begonias, fuchsias, wisteria, and other tender plants.
Woodland walks are available. An arched bridge crosses the burn that flows through the garden. A larch tree dates from 1725. One walk is planted with primulas, meconopsis and rhododendrons.
Wild birds inhabit the grounds and particularly like the River Tweed flowing through the property. Kingfisher heron, oystercatcher, duck, wagtails, and dippers can be spotted. Ospreys (Tweed Valley Osprey Project) are watched live from cameras between Easter and August. Besides pheasants and partridges, moorland birds such as curlew, lapwing, lark and cuckoos can be seen.
There are red squirrel, roe deer, rabbits, and mink. A nature center has special activities for children. Other activities of interest include a children’s play area, picnic area, a putting green and fishing along theTweed River.
Of special note is the restaurant at the gardens with its freshly cooked to order food with daily specials. It’s a whole flight of steps above your average place to eat. In addition to restaurant meals afternoon tea time brings forth the home baked goodies. (The lemon drizzle cake is the best we’ve had anywhere.) You can get an organic beef burger with handcut chips, a soup, quiche or pasta dish of the day, and much more. Prices are very reasonable, and the atmosphere is warm and cozy.
Kailzie, Peebles, Borders EH45 9HT
2.5 miles from town centre of Peebles, on the B7062
Tel. 0 1721 720 007
Open: daily year round; April-end Oct, 10am-5pm; Nov-March, daylight hours (walled garden closed); restaurant, daily, 10.30am-5.30pm; carvery on Sun, noon-3pm
Small shop; restaurant (reservations 01721 722807); (to book: 0 1721 720 009); bunkhouse—great for walkers, bikers, and groups (to book: 01721 723334); self-catering cottage; wedding venue
Web: Kailzie Gardens