The Main Driveway
Since the sale of Achamore House the actual road is jointly owned and managed by the house and Achamore Gardens. Its present condition is poor and many cars visiting the house (It is a bed and breakfast) make it a hazard for garden visitors.
The lottery funding of 2006-2008, allowed the stone dyke to be repaired and for us to make a path that once known as the "Servants' Walk". This is a much safer path to use. The gravel/stone used to make this and other paths around the garden is quarried from behind the gardens and is a basalt known as whinstone.
There is subtle blend of mature shrubs and trees with new plantings of the last few years. Since 2007, many of the dead, dying and already fallen trees have been removed. This has allowed mature trees to receive maximum light and growth levels to allow for successfull senescence.
Some examples are Pinus sylvestris (The Scot's Pine) , Betula pendula (The Silver Birch. Samual Taylor Coleridge once described this tree as the Lady of the Woods) , a group of Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Aesculus hippocastanum or the horse-chestnut tree. (Hippo- meaning horse and castanum- meaning nut).
Some of the newer plantings include a re-plant of Ailanthus altissima the tree of heaven and Liriodendron tulipifera the tulip tree planted by folk of the Gigha Music Festival for Scotland's Homecoming Event 2009. I have also planted some of the Liquidamber styraciflua to try and exploit some Autumn colour. Also re-planted after many years along the drive, although not in the same position is a group of witch-hazels Hamamelis mollis and Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena'. (We had some massive Griselinia littoralis block plantings to remove before we could plant these.)
Many of the original rhododendron and azalea plantings still flourish along the drive, and Col. Horlick kept a vast collection of photographs on slides which have proved invaluable when it comes to any restoration work carried out. There is a lovely slide in 1954 of some Gigha Lasses dead-heading the rhododendron along the drive.
Another 1954 photograph showed a group of the gardeners with chainsaws and bonfires at about the point where the big shed is now. I felt as if history was repeating itself when we came along with chainsaws and bonfires to clear this site in 2007.
Some of the more unusual plantings include Olearia paniculata with its very peeling bark and Pittosporum type leaves, Olearia aviceniifolia that produces many white daisy-like flowers in August. A Telopia truncata on the Servants Walk flowers in Spring and can easily be missed so you must look up as well all over.
To celebrate aon bliadha air (One year on) Mrs. Isabella Mcvean Millar of Gigha planted a Cornus florida on the 15th March 2003. Gigha will be celebrating 10 years of the community-buyout next year 2012, so I had better think of a suitable commemoration plant.
The grass cutting along the drive is completed by self-propelled rotary pedestrian mowers, as the finished cut looks more impressive, but if we were to use a ride-on mower, the wheels would get stuck when the grass is wet. We cut it fortnightly and cart the clippings to the compost site.
(Updated by Micky Little May 2011)