Gardening has increased in popularity during the pandemic with statues and ornaments trending as much as the plants themselves.
And the Dumfriesshire privately-owned garden at Cowhill Tower, off the A76 five miles north of Dumfries at Holywood, takes some beating when it comes to statuary.
Owners Clara and Percy Weatherall, who have been caring for the magnificent gardens and mansion house since 1975, have an amazing collection of statues from the Far East which they will be sharing with the visiting public on Sunday, June 20, when they open their gates for the fundraising venture, Scotland’s Gardens.
Previous family owners had connections over several generations with traders, Jardine Matheson and Co – the largest of the foreign trading companies in the Far East by the end of the 19th century – and brought back both plants and garden ornamentation from the Far East for Cowhill.
And Clara has been adding to the collection with her latest edition ready to be viewed from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday.
Proceeds from the entry charge of £5 (accompanied children free) will go to Maggies Cancer Centres.
Sarah Landale, Dumfriesshire organiser for Scotland’s Gardens, said: “We are all looking forward to seeing Clara’s latest statue and hope there is a good turnout as this is an amazing garden with so much to see including stunning views over the River Nith.
“Unfortunately, they won’t be offering teas due to Covid-19 restrictions but a walk around the wonderful garden and immaculately kept grounds is a treat in itself.”
Statues of Chinese monks guard the walled garden at Cowhill Tower and there are also topiary animals, birds and figures and a beautiful woodland walk and shrub collection to view, along with an avenue containing more than 30 different varieties of rowan trees.
A rose garden on the upper terrace near the house has been planted by Clara with hybrid tea roses and there is also a sundial dating from 1763 to look out for.
The landscape was laid out in the 1850s, with additional gardens created by David Keswick in the 1950s.
The B-listed mansion house was built in 1789 and had Victorian, Edwardian and 20 century additions. The tower at the north-east end was built in 1914.
After suffering from Border raids in 1585, a new castle was built on a knoll to the south-east of the present mansion and its ruins are still visible.
In 1789 the new Cowhill Tower was built and gun barrels from one of Jardine Matheson’s trading ships, the Cornwallis, are mounted on either side of the front door of the mansion, while the stables date from 1816 and are thought to have been built using stones from the earlier castle.