The heady scent of magnolias in bloom and palm trees swaying in the wind contrast vividly with the wild Atlantic storms, salt spray and remote west coast of the Scottish Highlands near the village of Poolewe. Yet, here at the same latitude as Leningrad, Russia, these trees flourish alongside Himalayan rhododendrons, Tasmanian eucalyptus, Chilean and South African plants, and a large collection of New Zealand oleanders.
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The secret lies in the warm Gulf Stream currents that find their way to the shore of Loch Ewe. Inverewe Garden, set on a tiny peninsula, is the beneficiary of these currents.
But this garden did not just happen. It is due to one manís devotion and hard work, not nature. Barren ground filled with acid, peaty soil lacking in vegetation greeted Osgood Hanbury Mackenize in 1862 when he took on the massive challenge of turning the peninsula into a garden. Corsican pine and Scots fir were planted to form shelterbelts. The wet land was drained and men carried soil in on their backs. This labor of love continued for sixty years, resulting in 2500 species of plants and trees spread enticingly over 64 acres.
Paths twist through the vegetation bringing ever-changing vistas of the garden, the Torridon Mountains and the sea. Rhododendrons, pink and blue hydrangeas and azaleas of every hue, rock gardens, rose and herbaceous borders and purple heather delight the garden lover. Maple trees show forth their colors in the autumn.
Inverewe, one of Britainís most remarkable gardens, with its array of exotic plants set amidst magnificent west coast vistas, is a source of pleasure and enjoyment, an unrivaled display of beauty.
Inverewe Garden is owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
The garden is located on the A832 near Poolewe, Ross-shire, Highland. Tel. 01445 781 200.
For opening times check National Trust for Scotland website.
Restaurant at the site
Photo courtesy National Trust for Scotland