Arduaine Garden, on the Sound of Jura, first began with the purchase of Asknish farm by James A Campbell and his wife Ethyl in 1897. The money came from South African diamonds and Ceylon tea estates. The farm on Loch Melfort was to serve as their home, and they renamed it Arduaine, ard meaning “headland” and uaine meaning “green” in Gaelic. It was a suitable name as west of the farm was bare headland overlooking the waters of Scotland’s west coast.
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In 1903 the couple started the garden in a sheltered section of their property, and, in 1905, they demolished the farmhouse and built Arduaine House. In 1908 Campbell planted 2000 Japanese larch seedlings to protect his garden plants from the salty west coast winds. Campbell died in 1927, and his son, Bruce, continued expanding the garden. After WWII Campbell’s grandson had difficulties keeping it going and by 1960 it was no longer a viable operation. The house became a hotel. In 1968 gales took down many of the mature trees.
The garden’s saviors were two Essex brothers, Edmund and Harry Wright. They bought the property, cleared the damaged areas and weeds, changed the paths, enlarged the water garden, and developed a collection of rhododendrons. They gave the garden to the National Trust for Scotland in 1992.
The south facing 20 acres have a microclimate from the Gulf Stream waters that encourages tender species. In addition to the rhododendron collection, azaleas, magnolias, and a collection of perennials enhance the grounds. Blue Tibetan poppies, Chatham Island forget-me-nots and giant Himalayan lilies are other plants of special note. South American plants are new to the garden. Wildflowers flourish and include orchids.
A 328 foot long border leads into the garden where visitors can enjoy a rockery, round pound, heron pond, water garden, cherry tree walk, cliff garden, arboretum walk, and a woodland garden. The owl’s walk offers views over the water. Otters, weasels, and great spotted woodpeckers can sometimes be seen.
On the A816 at Arduaine
Argyll and Bute
Tel. 0 1852 200 366
Open: check National Trust for Scotland website.
Photos © by Barbara Ballard except statue and rhodos courtesy National Trust for Scotland, used by permission