The Woodland Garden extends to both sides of the curving drive to the castle. It has been a shrubbery garden for some 200 years. By the start of the current century the trees had been allowed to grow too thickly which was shading out other plants. In 2007 we started thinning the trees*, created the path network, added ponds, and planted. *Over 150 trees were felled by the laird himself over a number of winters.
As the garden is open to deer, rabbits and hares anything we plant must be fairly bomb-proof.
The paths are kept mown through the summer but the vegetation on either side is allowed to grow tall until late summer when it is strimmed back.
In spring there are many snowdrops (we’re spreading more and more of them each year), wood anemones and a mass of daffodils.
The main feature of the garden is a display of over 100 different varieties of Rhododendron. The first of these flowers in late winter – it once flowered on Christmas Eve and then kept flowering until mid-April. By then other rhodos have taken over until the last of them flowers in August.
There are azaleas too which mostly flower in June. The common Azalea – the yellow one – scents the air of the whole garden on still summer evenings. In the autumn Azalea leaves turn early to virulent red and add to the display.
Deciduous: in addition to Oak, Beech, Sycamore, Norway Maple, Ash, Rowan, Willow, Hawthorn, Lime and Birch we have fine examples of Antarctic Beech (Nothofagus antarctica) which resembles a giant bonsai tree and Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), of which more below.
A Living Fossil:
The dawn redwood has an interesting story. It was first identified from fossils in 1941 as an extinct species. Then, a few years later, small groves of the tree were found in central China. It is a particularly well-known example of a living fossil species. The tree faces extinction in its wild range due to deforestation, and so has been planted extensively in arboretums worldwide, where it has proved a popular and fast-growing ornamental plant. Although shortest of the redwoods, it can grow to at least 200 ft (61 m) in height.
These include Scots Pine, Norway Spruce, Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Brewers Spruce, European Silver Fir, Noble Fir, Wellingtonia, Cypress, Cedar (Deodar and Atlantica), Holly
If you have suggestions for other colourful plants resistant to browsing we’d love to hear from you.
A Sculpture by Lyman Whittaker can be found here.
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Some kind words from our previous guests…
“This is World Class hospitality”. 2013