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12 Argyll and the Isles gardens you need to visit!

12 Argyll and the Isles gardens you need to visit!
You’ll find a feast of glorious gardens in stunning locations across Argyll & The Isles. Come and enjoy blooming rhododendrons, blazing azaleas, towering trees and more. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to gardens that are worth visiting, but here’s a delightful dozen for you to be getting on with.

1. Lip na Cloiche sits on a hillside on the north coast of the island of Mull overlooking Ulva, the Treshnish Islands and Ben More. Head to the seating area at the top of the hill where you can enjoy breathtaking views among plantings of agapanthus, bottle-brushes, sedums and rambling roses. As you wander through the garden look out for driftwood and other ‘found objects’, which have been lovingly integrated into the planting.

2. Glenarn, near Helensburgh, lies in a protected hollow with a steeply sloping glen running its length. This magnificent private garden is home to a wonderful collection of species rhododendrons. In the summer, check out the large rock garden for smaller plants such as meconopsis, primulas and paeonias.

3. Kinlochlaich Garden surrounds the historic Kinlochlaich House near Appin. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, a tremendous range of plants thrive here. Mature trees, rhododendrons and other rare and unusual plants abound in the grounds, while the octagonal walled garden, built around 1790, is a sheltered haven bursting with plants and a delight all year round.

4. There’s been a garden at Ardchattan for more than 700 years. The Valliscaulian monks were the first to settle here on the north shore of Loch Etive. They knew a good spot when they saw one! Facing south, there are spectacular views over Loch Etive, east to Ben Cruachan and west to the hills of Mull. The garden has a natural tranquillity to it, with herbaceous borders, roses, a rockery, ornamental trees and a wild flower garden.

5. Achamore Garden is a testament to Gigha’s fabled microclimate and one of the highlights of a visit to the island. A dazzling array of plants and shrubs prosper in the 54-acre site, and you’ll find an impressive collection of rare rhododendron. The walled gardens provide a sheltered habitat for not only rare and unusual plants and trees, but also peacocks!

6. Discover the tranquil green oasis of Arduaine Garden on the south slope of the Arduaine peninsula just south of Oban. This wonderful coastal garden forms a horticultural tour around the temperate world with a collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, Blue Tibetan poppies, giant Himalayan lilies and Chatham Island forget-me-nots. Stroll through the woodland to the coastal viewpoint or relax in the water garden.

7. Anyone planning to visit the island of Bute in spring or summer should make time to visit Ardencraig Garden. This large walled garden with glasshouses is used to cultivate flowering plants for the numerous beds and baskets in Rothesay. It’s a riot of colour with displays of favourite bedding plants such as begonias, fuchsias and chrysanthemum.

8. Thanks to a favourable combination of climate, aspect and soil, trees grow fast at Ardkinglas Woodland Garden! So fast that there are some record-breaking giants to be found in the gardens of this historic property. Look out for the “mightiest conifer in Europe”, a magnificent Silver Fir (Abies alba). Ardkinglas sits on the shore of Loch Fyne, with a spectacular background of mountain and forest.

9. Benmore Botanic Garden near Dunoon has a magnificent mountainside setting. Explore the 120-acre site, which boasts 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, Visitors are greeted by a towering avenue of Giant Redwoods, which must be one of the grandest entrances to a botanic garden anywhere in the world. These giants of the tree world are now over 50 metres high!

10. Geilston Garden in Cardross is an enchanting place. It’s typical of the small country estates on the banks of the Clyde owned by 18th- and 19th-century merchants and industrialists. Developed over 200 years ago, it features a walled garden, kitchen garden and a burn, winding through the wooded glen. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity and marvel at the colourful summer flowers.

11. The Linn Botanic Garden is a horticultural treasure trove, situated at the head of Cove Bay on the west side of Rosneath Peninsula. Discover a diverse collection of temperate plants. Features include a burn with waterfalls, formal and informal ponds, an open heath for New Zealand plants and a collection of insect-catching plants.

12. The gardens of Mount Stuart House on Bute are simply stunning. You’ll find an amazing collection of exotic and British flora over several gardens, each set against the backdrop of the Firth of Clyde. Enjoy the individual characters of each, from atmospheric woodlands to colour-drenched landscapes, as you wander around the policies. There are wildflower meadows and a shoreline wilderness which contrast with the meticulously measured beauty of the formal lawns and gardens.

Find out more about gardens in Argyll & The Isles. Glorious Gardens of Argyll & Bute is another great place to find out more about gardens in Argyll & The Isles.
Explore like a local
Iain Johnston Iain
Kintyre & Gigha
Clive & Donna Rumbold Clive
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Arduaine Gardens Ardencraig GardenArdchattan Garden
AchamoreGeilston GardenLip na Cloiche
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