Garden of the Season – Arduaine Garden NTSApril 18th 2023
Why should we visit?
Tumbling down a rocky hillside overlooking the Sound of Jura is one of the west coast’s most spectacular gardens. Arduanie, which is pronounced ‘Ardoonie’ has a huge collection of plants from around the world, many of them spring-flowering and all of which thrive in the mild and damp climate of the west coast.
Despite its sloping nature, the garden is also very accessible, making it the perfect spot for everyone to enjoy spectacular displays provided by the extensive plantings of rhododendrons and camellias that are now beginning to flower.
Story of the Garden
Arduaine was established at the start of the 20th century by tea planter James Campbell and then, from the 1970s onwards, it was revived by nurserymen Edmund and Harry Wright, before eventually being passed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1993.
For the last four years the garden has only been partially open as the NTS has felled hundreds of trees in a bid to deal with an outbreak of the fungal disease Phytophora on the site, but now, since April 1 the garden has fully re-opened allowing visitors to enjoy every path, pond, green lawn and beautifully-planted border.
Camellias and rhododendrons are the stars of Arduaine and the extensive collections of both are just now coming into flower. Many of these are huge specimens that tower over paths, with leaves the size of paddles and an abundance of brightly-coloured flowers.
Alongside these grow plants from East Asia to South America Chatham including Chatham Island Forget-Me-Nots which are super-sized versions of the cottage garden favourite.
Follow the path that leads through the shelter belt to the edge of the rocky promontory on which Arduaine is sited, and the views across the Sound of Jura are amongst the most spectacular on the west coast. As well as an array of islands there is also the chance to see seals and porpoises.
Anything else to look out for?
Arduaine’s ponds are surrounded by damp-loving plants, including colourful candelabra primulas while in summer the herbaceous borders are packed with exciting cultivars. Keep an eye out for the resident population of red squirrels.
Best Time to Visit
Spring is undoubtedly the highlight of the year at Arduaine and not just for the beauty of the flowers, but also for their perfume. The garden contains a large collection of scented, tender rhododendrons which only survive here because of the influence of the Gulf Stream.
Any Recommendations in the Area
Views from Arduaine take in the Slate Islands, a group of low-lying islets that includes Seil and Luing, where for many years provided the slate for the roofs of Glasgow and much of Scotland. The islands can be explored by taking the 18th century Bridge Across the Atlantic to Seil and also by ferry to the more outlying islands.
Arduaine is 20 miles south of Oban and 19 miles north of Loch Gilphead on the A816
The garden is open daily, 10am - 5pm
Courtesy of The Herald