Scottish Garden of the Season: Stonefield Castle HotelMarch 31st 2016
April is a fine month to visit Stonefield Castle’s woodland gardens – a fantastic example of a striking and colourful Scottish Garden. The crisp mornings give way to the milder dewy days of spring. Splashes of creamy yellow Rhododendron falconeri and magenta R. hodgsoni i begin to emerge against the back drop of deep green.
Laid out in the 1840’s under the influence of the architect William Playfair, the gardens were planted by the Laird John Campbell with seed brought back from the Himalayas by Sir Joseph Hooker and a close relative of Dr. Archibald Campbell. The planting of the garden continued throughout the 19th Century by John Campbell’s’ Grandson Colin George and his wife Lady Ileene Hastings and their son. In the 1946 the Estate of Stonefield was sold, the mansion house was turned into a hotel and the policies were divided. For Many years until his retirement the gardens were tended to by Head Gardener David G. Hannah. Hannah extended the collection of with his own Hybrids such as R. campanulatum x sutchuenense G EORGE ROSS a Rosy- pink campanulate flowered specimen with light green leaves or R. grande X thomasonii ROSY MORN. Most of the rhododendrons were planted in an arc around the lawn were the former pool house is located and many of the Rhododendrons have hybridised naturally. In the same area there are some magnificent trees and shrubs including magnolia and a particularly lovely Camellia.
Around the exterior of the old walled garden (sadly out of use) there is an abundance of Pieris, Fuchsia and Crinodendron. The woodland areas also have some fine examples of trees and conifers – Beech, Oak, Sycamore, Cedar to name but a few. A survey carried out in 1981 identified 76 conifers of 39 different species – and the tallest tree in the garden -which still stands today- a Wellingtonia – which in 1981 measured 42m.
Where: Stonefield Castle Hotel
Opening times: Open to the public every day including public holidays
Admission: Free admission