Geilston Garden was founded in 1797, combining several features (traditional walled garden, kitchen garden, wooded area). The walled garden has a dominating 100-foot Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the centre of the lawn. The Geilston burn wends its way through the north of the estate towards the River Clyde in Cardross. The origins of the garden were most likely a result of the 1770 Montgomery Act, which saw the land around the house enclosed and planting undertaken.
Geilston was opened to the public with the death of the last resident, Margaret Bell, who was a friend of Elizabeth Hendry, the owner of Geilston who bequeathed the house to the National trust for Scotland and gave her friend life rent of the house. The Hendrys moved into Geilston as tenants but the family bought the house from the Geils in 1922. The garden as it appears today was mostly laid out by Elizabeth Hendry and Margaret Bell. A canon within the garden is said to have been a trophy from the Battle of Corunna brought to the Garden by Major General Geils, a previous owner of Geilston.
The kitchen garden is the most labour-intensive area. It springs to life in April with the first sowings of carrots, parsnips and beetroot closely followed by transplanted brassicas. Visitors can buy in-season produce from a small stand at the garden's entrance.
The walled garden is the focus of spring colour with azaleas, heathers and unusual shrubs such as Cornus kousa 'Satomi'. Summer colour is provided by the spectacularly vigorous species in the long herbaceous border –Thalictrum, Filipendula, Eupatorium, Helenium, Phlox and Sidalcea dominate the display.
The garden is open from March to October annually. The adjacent Geilston House is not open to the public.References:
Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.
Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.
A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.
The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.
In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.
In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.