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Glenwhan Gardens and Arboretum

October 2nd 2017

Glenwhan Gardens & Arboretum: A ‘green and rushy’ place

Glenwhan Gardens & Arboretum on the South-Western seaboard may be described as a stunning combination of views, terrain and habitat for the many species of plants and wildlife.

Over 160 species of trees from around the world are now well established, making it difficult to remember the gardens as open moorland and scrub as they were only four decades ago. The unique views over Luce Bay, The Mull of Galloway and across to the Isle of Man, all add another dimension to the garden.

The 12-acre terrain is undulating with slopes and gullies and two small lochans (lakes), providing marginal ground for the bog loving plants. On the Scree hillsides, the ground is rocky and shallow with pockets of peat with a pH of 4.5. All the ericaceous plants luxuriate in these conditions, with Rhododendrons & Azaleas, Magnolias, and Heather thriving.

Glenwhan is located only one mile (as the crow flies) from the sea. The bonus of being near the Gulf Stream means many unusual and tender plants from the Southern hemisphere grow well here. The Chilean firebush Embothrium coccineum, Desfontanea spinosa with its vibrant red and orange tubular flowers, Crinodendron hookerianum the beautiful lantern tree together with the Eucryphias from New Zealand, and Cistus, the rock roses from the Mediterranean enjoying the scree slopes, combine to provide a wonderful display.

Hydrangeas, which play a major part from mid-Summer onwards, the showy bottle brush Callistemon splendens, and the nodding Lilies with their intoxicating scent, provide vibrant colour this season.

Our visitors enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Glenwhan, with many returning again and again to see the progress of the garden and arboretum. The 17-acre Moorland Walk, where over 120 species of grasses, ferns and wildflowers can be seen, allows visitors to compare the native ground before the gardens were cultivated. Seats are thoughtfully placed at viewpoints and sculptors may be discovered amongst the many winding paths.

Glenwhan, which in Gaelic means ‘green and rushy place’, must now be cared for and maintained for the future. The Scottish Rhododendron Society has asked Glenwhan to host the collection of the maddenia species of Rhododendrons. This will be a very exciting project for the future now that the gardens have shelter and shade where the plants will thrive in excellent conditions. We hope that our visitors will keep returning to view the progress.