The hill garden stretches over 25 acres and is a mixture of formal and informal plantings that bear testament to a family tradition in gardening and an ‘enthusiasm for the exotic’ of a bygone era.
The original planting of the site in the late nineteenth century was intended to be enjoyed by approach from the sea, the usual way of reaching here then, with the towers of Ardtornish House springing from a semi-circle of mainly evergreen trees.
The intriguing garden takes you on a journey throughout the year. Starting in spring, deciduous azaleas, many fragrant, are the highlight of May along with the sheets of bluebells that flower then. There are also many species of rhododendrons and lots of hybrids, with the scented Polar Bear blossoming throughout the summer months. The scarlet-flowered Chilean Fire Tree Embothrium coccineum, Hoheria lyallii, Eucryphias, Davidia, Cercidiphyllum and Enkianthus also thrive in the garden during this time. At a lower level, Primulas, Erythroniums, Himalayan Blue Poppies and Willow Gentians are being planted in increasing numbers.
From late September to November, a procession of red, yellows and oranges heralds the approach of autumn in the garden. Enkianthus, Cotoneaster, Aronia, Cercidiphyllum and Oxydendrum provide spectacular autumn foliage and fruit colour, whilst Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ and Eucryphia provide floral interest. Burning bright in the autumnal sun, this is lovely time to visit the garden.
All year round, visitors can explore the Walled Kitchen Garden, which sells tasty seasonal vegetables. The Estate shop sells wild venison from the estate, as well as beef from Highland cattle, lamb and mutton.
Telephone: 01967 421288
Opening times: 9am – 6pm
Admission costs: £4.00pp
Garden of the Week is in association with Discover Scottish Gardens. For more information, advice and day-out ideas, visit discoverscottishgardens.org
Source : HeraldScotland