Garden of the Season – InvereweJuly 15th 2022
Why Should We Visit?
The northwest of Scotland is a landscape of rugged mountains, rough heather moorland and exhilarating seascapes so it is an exciting contrast to discover that a world-famous garden, which attracts thousands of visitors to a remote spot, has been carved out of this rocky terrain. The drive from Inverness, which skirts the bottom of Beinn Eighe, passes through some of the most scenic and spectacular landscapes in Scotland.
Story of the Garden
Inverewe was the vision of Osgood MacKenzie, who, in the 1860s began by planting shelter belts and importing soil to make a garden on a rocky peninsula overlooking Loch Ewe. He then filled it with exotic plants, relying on the warm air brought up on the Gulf Stream to allow these to flourish on the same line of latitude as Labrador and St Petersburg.
After his death in 1925, the garden continued to be developed by MacKenzie’s daughter, Mairi, who eventually donated it to the National Trust for Scotland.
The curved walled garden is the jewel of Inverewe. It occupies a raised beach and is filled with roses, fruit and vegetables and tender perennials. Its sandy soil has been improved over many decades by the application of seaweed, collected along the shoreline, and its south-facing aspect makes it feel almost tropical at times.
Tree ferns and Chatham Island forget-me-nots are just two of the exotic species that thrive at Inverewe. There are Giant redwoods from California; Watsonias and Dieramas from South Africa and a huge collection of Himalayan rhododendrons. In this windy spot these only survive because they are sheltered from Atlantic gales by a dense shelter belt of trees. Under the canopy there are ponds and streams filled with moisture-loving plants.
Anything Else to Look Out For
The sea around Inverewe is a special place for marine wildlife and it’s nationally important seabed habitats include maerl beds - Scotland’s coral reef. An exhibition in the Summerhouse gives visitors the chance to find out more about life in the waters surrounding the garden. Meanwhile seals and otters can be spotted around the shoreline, red squirrels live in Inverewe’s trees, red deer roam the adjacent hillsides and golden eagles can sometimes be spotted overhead.
Best Time to Visit:
Extended daylight hours produce rapid growth and Inverewe is at its best in summer, when palm trees and blue skies, can make it feel more Mediterranean than Scottish.
Any Recommendations in the Area
West Highland Marine Boat Trips leave from a jetty within the gardens, taking visitors around the islands and coves of Loch Ewe. It’s a chance to catch a glimpse of the rich variety of wildlife that makes itself at home in these waters.
Inverewe is 90 miles drive from Inverness on the A835/A832
Open daily, 9.45am - 4pm. (Closed on Sundays and Mondays in July.)
Telephone: 01445 712952
Courtesy of The Herald