Tel: 01581 400222
From the website: "Visiting gardens is always an education and we should always come away having increased our knowledge in some way. This is certainly the case after visits to Glenwhan, for this is very much a garden of comparisons. Comparisons of a garden created out of moorland and certainly comparing the development of different habitats - one boggy ground, the other dry rocky knolls. The transformation is quite amazing!
Picture then a landscape of bracken and gorse, mixed through with large rocky knolls and low lying boggy areas, where bog cotton, sundews, sphagnum and heath spotted orchids grow in the deep peaty soil with a pH of 4.5. It was hardly encouraging for farming, far less the development of a garden. Yet, at 300', sloping to the south and with 40'' of rain but little in the way of frost or snow, the uncompromising site has been transformed. From the bleak hillside, an oasis of peace and tranquility; a garden of great beauty, variety and complexity, with stunning colour throughout the year, has been made in just 20 years. It is complimented with beautiful views over Luce Bay to the Mull of Galloway and the Isle of Man, from the various rocky vantage points.
Like so many of us, having holidayed here for many years, Tessa and Bill Knott had fallen in love with this peaceful part of Scotland. In 1974, they bought a delapidated farmhouse and 103 acres of open hillside, without seeing the property. Once the farmhouse was tenable in 1979, twelve acres were fenced off and secured against cattle, rabbits and deer, and the perimeter planting of pine, larch, rowan and oak commenced to provide shelter, especially from the east wind. These trees are now being thinned to provide shady planting areas.
The inspiration to develop the garden came initially from visits to Logan Botanic Garden, some 15 miles to the southwest, where a vast range of southern hemisphere plants thrive. This provided the challenge which Tessa Knott needed. Without any formal training in horticulture and starting as a complete amateur, support came in the form of Hollies from Lady Ann Palmer; from Hugh McAllister with a large collection of Sorbus species; from the International Dendrology Society with Tasmanian seed and with the supply of Eucalypts from Dick Law who holds the Eucalyptus collection for the NCCPG nearby. Willows, which grow so quickly, thus providing almost immediate shelter, came from Long Ashton Research Station.
Today the Gardens are a delight, with its range of seasonal blooms, exotic plants, rare species and gentle footpaths meandering through the gardens. For wildlife and pollinating insects it is a fantastic habitat, whilst fish are now happily at home in our lochs. Wild areas have not been overlooked either, as our Wilderness area provides a habitat of a more unstructured kind, allowing those plants and creatures that prefer more rugged environments a place to live. Glenwhan Gardens have a lot to offer and to see, whatever the season. So please do come and enjoy the vistas, the tranquility, the species and the colour. The garden also offers plant sales across the seasons, which are ideal for those wanting to take a wee part of the beauty home with them! ~ Bob Mitchell. Former Curator, St Andrew's Botanic Garden.
Glenwhan Gardens, Dunragit, nr Stranraer, Wigtownshire, (DG9 8PH) are open from March until October daily, 10.00am - 17.30pm. Visitors are most welcome, but large parties are advised to book well in advance! (Telephone: 01581 400222) Our licensed Tearoom is open and ready to serve you a delicious range of hot and cold meals, snacks, drinks - alchoholic and non-alchoholic, and seasonal produce. We hope you gain as much enjoyment from visiting Glenwhan Gardens as we had creating them!"
Please also visit website www.scotlandsgardenroute.co.uk
(Photograph by Val Corbett)
Distance from Ballantrae: |
Driving Time from Ballantrae*:
*Times and Distances taken from AA Website, based on facilities postcode.