The Independent has just named Inveraray Castle’s gardens as the 4th in its list of UK 10 Best Gardens to visit.
In the list, published this morning (21st March 2012) it says: ‘Inveraray’s gardens are a vault of horticultural history’ – not perhaps the most apt metaphor one might wish for but the meaning is clear, as the specific expectations this recognition arouses.
More than 4th on the list, Inveraray Castle Gardens is the only Scottish garden in this top ten. He nearest to this serious pleasure of Argyll and the Isles is Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland, which starred as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.
Jane Young, member of the Inveraray marketing group, IMaGe, has worked tirelessly along with the gardening staff at the Castle and the Duke and Duchess of Argyll to open the formal garden as part of the Inveraray Castle experience. This listing by The Independent as one to see underlines just what they have achieved.
Argyll and the Isles are richly resourced in celebrated gardens open to visitors – including:
- Ardkinglas Woodland Garden and Benmore Botanic Gardens in Cowal;
- Arduaine, Crarae, Inveraray Castle and Kilmory Woodland Park gardens in Mid Argyll;
- Ardencraig, Ascog Hall and Mount Stuart Gardens on the Isle of Bute
- Achamore Gardens on the inshore Isle of Gigha in Kintyre;
- An Cala and Ardmaddy Gardens on and near the Isle of Seil
- Angus Garden in Taynuilt in Lorn
- Ardchattan Priory Garden on Loch Etive and Kinlochlaich House Gardens, both in North Lorn
- Colonsay House Gardens on the Isle of Colonsay
- Geilston Garden in Cardross and Glenarm Garden in Helensburgh, in the southeasternmost part of the mainland territory
- Torosay Castle Gardens and Lip na Cloiche Gardens on Mull. (A reader has told us – below – that Lip na Cloiche has featured in many magazines, including that of the Royal Horticultural Society; and was included on the Guardian’s Reader’s Tips page here on the Isle of Mull.)
- Ardtornish Garden in Morvern, a short ferry ride from Fishnish on the Isle of Mull over to Lochaline in Morvern.
With daffodils and primroses already brightening the landscape and the glorious rhododendron season on the near horizon, this is the best time of the year to get out into Argyll and the Isles’ outdoor treasures.
We have been given to understand that, contrary to assurances given by the new owner, Jura House Gardens iare not to reopen to visitors. If true – and we are inquiring on the validity of this story, it would have a serious negative impact on this beautiful island’s fragile visitor economy.
Landowners from elsewhere, as is the case here, sometimes take time to realise that their rights carry wider responsibilities in places like Scotland’s islands and remote communities.
The next big event at Inveraray Castle gardens is the Easter Eggstravaganza – a treasure hunt for tiny Pirates and Princesses on Sunday 8th April at 2.00pm. The event features the innovative Walking Theatre Company – there are prizes for the most swashbucklingly dressed Pirate and the most beautiful tiara worn by a Princess.