Scottish Garden of the Season: Holmes Farm

April 30th 2016

HFP 3      HFP 4     HFP 5

Holmes Farm is a working family farm situated in the heart of Ayrshire. The house itself is part of the infamous smugglers trail of Ayrshire, with the single small westward facing window high on the gable end of the farm the signal zone for safe passage of untold endeavours.

The garden on the farm has taken many forms over the years, mainly following the fashion of the times though the generations. The main garden transition, from tired low maintenance gravel, conifer and heather garden that had been created in the late 70’s, was undertaken in 2003. From the bare bones of the walled garden with a few structural residual conifers and shrubs a new garden was formed in 2003. Meandering crisscrossing paths weave around colour themed borders of mixed perennials conifers shrubs and bulbs. As a true plantaholic the garden is created through and for the love of plants. With the warming effect of a maritime climate and the addition of sandy alluvial soils the options for the garden were endless.

The garden was expanded into the adjacent field over consecutive years to 2005-2009 to fulfil the need for more planting space. A lawn area was created outlined in tightly clipped beech with late season borders and a myriad of exciting plants. Although the size of the garden has been capped the garden planting is constantly changing and evolving. Iris have always been a favourite plant and some 450+ cultivars grow in the garden, mainly sibirica cultivars, species and crosses. Some of the iris sibirica have a border dedicated to them which starts to bloom in late spring and continues into mid-summer.

A poly tunnel planted with lilies eucomis, nerines and too many rhodohypoxis is the jewel in the crown of the garden as the flower array never seems to stop. In late spring the garden is bursting with blooms with the prospect of plenty more for the rest of the season. Late season tulips and alliums pepper the perennial borders. A large screen of clematis montana will be reaching its zenith whilst providing shelter for poly tunnel behind. With spring still in the air the eagle eyed might spot the gardens resident hare “Hairy Mary”. A welcome but hungry connoisseur of unusual plants!  As the garden was developed in part to be the stock bed for the working nursery Holmes farm Plants there is always a plethora of well grown plants on the nursery with the addition of a gift shop too.

HFP 2      HFP 1

Where: Drybridge, By Irvine, Ayrshire KA11 5BS


Open: Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays from Easter to mid September or by appointment