Gardens of Argyll
Inveraray Castle gardens
The garden covers sixteen acres, of which, around two acres are formal lawns and flowerbeds, the remainder being park and woodland. Extending to 180 hectares they form one of the most important designed landscapes in Scotland.
The climate in Argyll, with its yearly average rainfall of 230cms (90 inches), is ideally suited to Rhododendrons and Azaleas, which flower in the gardens from April until June. Conifers also grow well in the poor acidic soil of a high rainfall area, as can be seen by the fine specimens such as Cedrus Deodars, Sequoiadendron Wellingtonia, Cryptomeria Japonica and Taxus Baccata.
Situated on the shores of Loch Fyne in Argyll, against a spectacular background of mountain and forest, Ardkinglas Estate covers about 4800 hectares. Ardkinglas house is an architectural gem and provides a very special setting for weddings, family parties and other events. For holidaymakers there is a self catering apartment within the ground floor. The Woodland Garden is open all the year round with an outstanding collection of plants and trees, including the "Mightiest Conifer in Europe".
The lower Ardkinglas Woodland Garden, often referred to as The Pinetum, was initiated in around 1875 by the Callander family. This area now provides a home for a number of Champion Trees, the tallest or broadest of their species in Britain.
Ardkinglas' favourable growing conditions lead to the exceptional size and longevity exhibited by many of the coniferous species introduced to this area of the Garden via the 19th century plant-hunters. The Champion Trees at Ardkinglas also include 'the mightiest conifer in Europe' a remarkable European Silver Fir (Abies alba) with a girth of nearly ten metres. Other champions in Ardkinglas Woodland Garden are Patagonian Cypress (Fitzroya cupressoides), Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa), Western Red Cedar (Thuya plicata) and the unusual Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana var. jeffreyi).
Benmore with its magnificent mountainside setting is a joy to behold. Its 49 Hectares/120 acres boast a world-famous collection of flowering trees and shrubs including over 300 species of rhododendron and over one third of the world’s hardy conifer species plus fine collections from North and South America, the Orient and the Himalaya.
Visitors are welcomed by an impressive avenue of Giant Redwoods, arguably one of the finest entrances to any botanic garden in the world. Established in 1863, these majestic giants now stand over 50 metres high.
The Garden is glorious throughout the seasons, from the vibrant blooms of rhododendrons and azaleas in early spring, striking Eucryphias of late summer and breathtaking displays of rich autumn fruit and foliage.
A spectacular 50-acre woodland garden in a dramatic setting. Crarae has a wonderful collection of woody plants centred on the Crarae Burn, which is spanned by several bridges and tumbles through a rocky gorge in a series of cascades. A wide variety of shrubs and trees chosen for spring flowering and autumn colour grow in the shelter of towering conifers, and the lush, naturalistic planting and rushing water gives the feel of a Himalayan valley.
Since acquiring the garden in 2001, the National Trust for Scotland has restored the infrastructure, replacing bridges, steps and paths, and new plantings include many recently collected, wild-origin Rhododendrons. The National Collection of Nothofagus is to be found at Crarae.
Arduaine is a twenty acre coastal garden situated on the southern slope of a promontory beside the Sound of Jura, twenty miles south of Oban and just off the A816.
The garden was begun on a bare promontory in 1898 by James Arthur Campbell and continued by two succeeding generations of his family. In 1965 Arduaine House was sold and became the Loch Melfort Motor Inn, later the Loch Melfort Hotel. The garden was sold in 1971 to Edmund and Harry Wright who in turn passed the garden on, as a gift, to the National Trust for Scotland in 1992.