About Us

My interest in gardens and gardening began as a child. My brother and myself would visit and stay over at our grandparents house regularly. We lived on

Here we are starting out on life’s journey, I think in 1953. I am the little one.

the top floor of a tenement block, making the visits to grandmas house all the more special.

They had a large garden which was beautifully maintained, the days spent there were the best of my childhood.

In February of 1952  our father died at the age of thirty three, everything would now be very different. My poor mother did everything in her power to do what was best for her three children, myself at six years of age, my brother ten and my two year old sister who had been the apple of her fathers eye.

  

My Dad Alexander Cruickshank, 1941, served on the light cruiser HMS Aurora.  My Mum Georgina pictured 1937

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Myras Mum and Dad at a wedding probably in the late 1940s and a picture of Myras Mum in 1936

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(1963) Myself in the middle with my brother Alex on my right and Ricky Simpson on my left

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Myra in January of 1967 with her family dog Laddie and in December of the same year with our first daughter

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Here I am in the Summer of 1965 the year before we were married

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Giving my daughter a bath in Christmas of 1967

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Moving on a little more than a decade, in nineteen sixty nine Myra and I who incidentally married very young got our first house with a garden. It was a council house with a small garden, moving in with our two children who were still babies was like being given a mansion.

 

Myra with the girls when we were on holiday in 1979

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In 1985 we moved to our present house near the river Dee. Now we have a large garden which has given us a great deal of pleasure.We first were persuaded in the summer of 1991 to enter our front garden into the “Aberdeen in Bloom” competition (Aberdeen south.) We were more than delighted to get placed third. Although we had been gardening for a number of years this was the point when it was to become a little more than just a hobby.

In 1992 we won “Best Front Garden” in our area. From that time up until 2005 we have had another ten firsts. One of which was “Best Front Garden” Overall Winner, and one year we received “Best Overall” for our back garden of which we were particularly proud.

(edit=  18thMarch 2009)  2006 overall winner front garden. 2007 best front garden for area. 2008 overall winner for back garden.

 

Two weddings for us in 1966

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Our garden has also been featured in the weekly magazine ‘Garden News’ and appeared on the television programme ‘Beechgrove Garden’.

Now when our grandsons visit I find myself wondering, when you are both grown up will you reflect on the times spent at grandma and grandads.

 My mother and father married in 1940. Soon he would be in the war serving on the light cruiser HMS Aurora.

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Comments

25 Responses

  1. Irene Heale says:

    Scouring the website for local gardening ‘lessons’ I came across your website. I think I know the house you live in as I pass it on a regular basis driving into Aberdeen and am always amazed by it! You must put in a lot of effort to keep it looking so good! Wonderful photographs and lots of useful information on the various plants. Keep up the good work! You have inspired me and if you are ever thinking of giving lessons please, please let me know.
    Irene

  2. Janet says:

    Having a look at other people’s blogs and trying to read more than a couple of posts. I knew I had seen your garden before . It must have been on Beechgrove……
    PS What a stylish couple. How about an up to date photo of the two of you? I might even put one of us on our site.

  3. iris clarke says:

    Hi Alistair
    Came across your website by chance whilst looking for a spring bulb,fritillaria pyrenaica.which was under a photo gallery full of them .I clicked on the picture and up you came.Boy am i pleased about that.What wonderful plants you grow.
    I reside just outside London so i don’t know if you can help me find frit.pyrenaica.I had some in a pot last year, but on inspection today ,as its bulb planting time, the bulbs seem to have dried up,so no chance of them growing.I have looked up a few bulb nurseries but none seem to hold this bulb.Can you recommend one where i might purchase this beautiful thing.
    Thanks for your time
    Iris Clarke.

  4. rob says:

    hi alaister just been reading your story in the sunday post i feel i have known you all my life i will be keeping in touch from know on and hope to share your gardening tips . regards rob ramage

  5. Laura says:

    Hi there! I live in New Zealand now, but I’m Aberdeen born and bred. From your lovely photos I would put you round about my parents age, my mum still gardens a bit. Before I moved here I’d never had a garden, now we’ve got 20 odd acres – 5 acres is proper garden. I’ve had a huge amount to learn and scour blogs for gardening stuff – that’s how I came across yours. Your garden is totally amazing!
    I get back over to Aberdeen every 2 years to see mum and dad ( mum comes over a lot – dad stays at home!) next time I’m over I’m determined to drive past your beautiful garden and have a peek!
    Laura
    xxx
    Laura recently posted..Girls night out!

  6. enidglennie says:

    Enjoyed your life and garden stories.Live 2 miles west of Stonehaven .Have acre of garden 2 fish ponds and can never get finished in garden or greenhouse but love it like you both seem to do .Bit of a mish mash here but keeps myself and hubbie sane .

  7. Paula McAllister says:

    Hi Alistair,
    I first came across your site late last year which was a great bonus. I have been trying to get my garden set up over the last 6 years and finally this year I have managed it thanks I must say to your wonderful Gardening Calender it has shown me where I have been going wrong and has actually cut down on the amount of work I am doing. Thank you very much for your advice my garden looks like someone who knows what they are doing has been working in it now :-)

    • Alistair says:

      Thanks Paula, you brought a smile to my face and made me feel chuffed. Some of my regular visitors will be thinking that I bribed you to say this, mind you I do have McAllisters in my family.

  8. Susan says:

    It was such a treat to read all about you. You have such a wonderful garden and a great writing style that brings it all together.
    I will be back!

  9. susan says:

    Dont know if it’s your garden we pass heading out of Aberdeen when we have stayed at the Deeside Holiday Park which is amazing. We stopped by to take some pic’s. it’s even the arrangements attached to the garage door that are eye catching. if this isn’t yours, there must be 2 beautiful gardenS in Aberdeen. We also love a visit to Duthie parks winter gardens and this year found Johnston Gardens,FAB.

    • Alistair says:

      Hi Susan, we are on one of the side streets so it is not our garden. These days our front is a little more subtle than the one you talk of, although we at one time would have given them a run for their money.

  10. Liz Gray says:

    Hi there, I wonder if we are related? My grandad was Bill Simpson who had a brother Frank who was married to Bunty? They had a daughter called Myra. Would love to know. Liz

  11. Liz Gray says:

    Hi I think we are related. My dad was Eric Simpson and I think he was a cousin of your wife Myra. If this is the case, I would love to get in touch.

    Regards

    Liz Gray

    • Alistair says:

      Hi Liz, My wife Myra is not a Simpson but I know very well Myra Simpson who you talk of. In 1963 my brother Alex Married Ella Simpson who was the second daughter of Frank and Bunty. Myra was the eldest and Frank and Bunty also had a son Richard Simpson who became a very successful business man in Aberdeen. Richard and Myra are the two still surviving.

  12. Karen says:

    What an amazing find your website is! We’ve recently bought our first house in Aberdeen – to the west of you. We’ve been digging out an overgrown garden and have spent the afternoon creating a shallow sloped rockery just outside the front door – which my husband would like me to plant up as soon as possible. I’d like a very typical scottish feel and colours to match- any suggestions would be greatly appreciated – I love scottish gardens- it’s south east facing.

    Thank you,
    Karen

    • Alistair says:

      Hello Karen, thank you very much. If you are looking to create a true rockery I wouldn’t tie yourself down too much to the Scottish thing. I would visit Ben Reid of Aberdeen, they have a good selection of rockery plants, ask them for advice, even ask them to help you select the plants. Read up a lot on the subject. I have seen Heathers and dwarf evergreen plants used, this can also look good but don’t expect to get it all spot on first time around. You will be tweaking and changing forever more.

  13. Alan Singleton says:

    Good Morning, I am looking to source a abies koreana when I come up to Inverness on October. An address of your Aberdeen nursery would be useful where I can see the tree and purchase it.

    Thenks

    Alan Singleton

  14. Isaac Mikhail says:

    Hello, came across your website by chance looking for Astible peach blossom for my backyard garden, your work is beautiful,wish I could do more gardening work but due to my back problem I am limited to do only light gardening, thank you for sharing this blog.

    Ike

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