Inverewe Garden near Poolewe, Scotland is about 40 acres of mostly woodland gardens in north western Scotland. Between two lochs. Where it’s windy. And cool. Year round.
As a matter of fact, summer in this remote part of the world averages a high of 62º during the peak summer months of July and August. What I believe their secret to their worldwide collection of plants is that it rarely freezes there. The average low temperatures of the year, December through March, is 38º. Here in Buffalo, we’d kill to only get down to 38º in for those months! They can thank the Gulf Stream for the moderate weather.
The 2,100-acre garden in Poolewe, Wester Ross, was created in 1862 by Osgood Mackenzie. In 1952, Osgood’s daughter, Mairi Sawyer turned the gardens over to the National Trust for Scotland.
It has a world-class rhododendron collection along with an annual Erythronium Festival. If we ever had the chance to go back for a visit, it would surely be during the rhododendron’s blooming, which they report starts in January, and goes throughout much of the year (but not in in October when we were there).
And California Redwoods. It has towering redwoods. There’s a beautiful (and large) walled garden with many vegetables grown.
The meandering woodland paths are divided into the countries from which the plants came – China, Nepal, India, America, and great plants like Himalayan Poppies and Tasmanian eucalyptus, as well as the world’s most rarefied tree – a formal-believed-to-be prehistoric tree only discovered in 1994 – the Wollemi Pine from Australia.
The Mackenzie/Sawyer home is there and is now an interpretation center about the family and the gardens. One of the best features were the free seeds to be taken home from the plants in the garden. In Buffalo they’re all annuals, so I’ll plant them in the spring. I took Corn Cockle, Cornflower, Filed Poppies, Teasel, Red Campion, Foxglove, and Corn Marigold.
I’d love to say that I’d be back there someday, but it is a trip! Out of Inverness, it was about one-and-a-half hours by car – through some very small towns and at times, desolate highland landscapes. The sort of place you’d want to go with a full tank of gas!
And I loved this donor recognition tree at the entrance to the gardens. In the nearly constant wind right on the loch, it made quite the racket.