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Garden of the Season – Glenarn Gardens

March 20th 2020


The first signs of true spring are now visible after the wettest February anyone in Rhu can remember.With several budding rhododendrons and lush spring bulbs covering the grounds, the garden has begun to bid farewell to the snowdrops until next year. 2019was a brilliant flowering season for rhododendronsat Glenarn Gardens. This year the magnolias are promising to be exceptional, with many fully budded and beginning to discard their perules –the protective flowerbud wrappers. Glenarn Gardensopens for the season on March 21stand there willbe plenty to see. Many of themagnolias are huge trees and in early spring these flower before the leaves unfurl, creating luminous bonfires against the sky; in contrast to the paler shades,the shocking pink of M sprengeri ‘Diva’. Glenarn islucky to have few late frosts, not unknown,but certainly rare. The magnolias bloom in sequence through April with other smaller members of the genus flowering in May and June.

The early lenten narcissus now carpet the ground and tiny N cyclamineus appear in wetter areas with dramatically swept-back petals. In the Rock Garden erythroniums, diminutive members of the lily family, appear with strange mottled leaves. Visitors will find delight as they wind through the beautifully landscape of the garden, weaving them in, around and under the fantastic collection of rhododendrons and magnolias through the glen up to the Hens garden.

The woodland garden at Glenarn was created by the Gibson brothers who lived There from 1920s to 1970s, laid out on top of the original Victorian structure. Mike and Sue Thornley have conserved and developed the garden over the past 37 years. This is one garden not to be missed during the Scottish Rhododendron and Bluebell Festival. Visitors of all ages will find wonder and beauty at every turn in the garden, creating a memorable day out.