Garden of the Season – Arbigland House and GardensMay 26th 2022
Why We Should Visit
Arbigland House is a classic Georgian mansion in a beautiful setting, overlooking the Solway Firth and with distant views of the Lake District fells. The 24 acres of garden and woodland that surround the house and its handsome stable block are undergoing sympathetic restoration that involves opening up vistas, clearing away invasive Rhododendron ponticum and bamboo and introducing unusual plants.
Story of the Garden
Arbigland House was built in the 1750s for William Craik, who is credited with revolutionising agricultural practices in Scotland. He had the garden laid out in formal style and planted new and exotic trees. John Paul Jones, founder of the American Navy, was the son his gardener and was born in the cottage on the estate.
During the second half of the 19th century more tree planting took place at Arbigland and from the 1920s onwards many find rhododendrons and azaleas were added to the gardens.
The Broad Walk that runs from one third of a mile from the house to the beach is the central point of the garden. In recent years the trees that line the walk have been thinned out in order to open up the view of the Solway and the Cumbrian mountains, while wild flowers are now blooming where invasive species have been cleared away.
When the current owners arrived, the path that leads down the centre of the Walk was buried under almost a metre of fallen leaves. These have since been cleared away.
The sunken garden is the site of a much older house and also of the barracks where Italian prisoners of war were housed during WWII. During their internment the prisoners built some of the paths and steps that are still in use today.
Anything Else To Look Out For
The lake was designed by William Craik to capture water on the estate and the intricate drainage system which he created still channels rainwater away from the lawns and flower borders.
Best Time To Visit
Arbigland is at its most colourful in May when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in flower and wildflowers carpet the woodlands. The semi-wild nature of the gardens are being carefully managed, with new plantings chosen to enhance biodiversity.
Any Recommendations In The Area
The John Paul Jones Museum at the entrance to Arbigland tells the fascinating life story of the young man, who rose from humble beginnings, to become a renowned seafarer and pirate.
Follow the A710 to Kirbean. Take the turning to Carsethorn and follow sings for John Paul Jones’ Cottage. Tickets to Arbigland House and Garden are available from the John Paul Jones Museum.
Open daily, April - October, 10.30am - 5pm
On Sunday, 15 May the gardens will be open in aid of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme - £5.
Tickets are available from the John Paul Jones Museum and tours of the house can also be arranged here.
Tel: 01387 880 764
Courtesy of The Herald