A year in the life of...
15/04/10 - Susan Allan's Blog
A walk in the gardens 15
It was a beautiful spring day. When the rest of the country seemed to be
under the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland we had lovely sunshine. There
was a fairly cool, brisk breeze and I had plenty to do but I decided it
was time I went round Achamore gardens again! So off I went with no coat
and my camera. And it was nice and warm in the shelter of the woodlands.
This wasn’t my first visit this year but I haven’t taken any
photos before and the last time there was very little flowering. The season
is much later than it has been in recent years. We have had much harder
and more prolonged frost than I can remember in my 44 years on Gigha.
I took about 50 photos. It’s great having a digital camera! I had
to change the batteries at one point but at least the spare ones were well
charged up. Some of the photos were not very good and occasionally I took
2 of one plant and sometimes to aid my memory I took photos of the labels!
A good many of the plants are labelled but it is not always easy to see
them. I find I good way of locating them is to go behind the plant and look
through the branches.
The spring foliage is coming out and the first plant you see is the Cercidiphyllum
in the entrance glade. Its young foliage is almost a bronzy colour. As you
might expect at this time of year it is mainly Rhododendrons and Camellias
that are flowering. I don’t follow the arrows when I am in the garden
and I usually start at the bottom of the garden and finish up at the walled
So then I went in past Colin’s garden where there wasn’t much
to see, through the old garden which has been opened up considerably and
onto the green drive where I found Rh Christmas Cheer in full bloom. I crossed
over the walled ditch and found a nice specimen of Camellia Salutation which
is a double pale pink variety with yellow stamens. I wandered off the main
path for a while and came to the hospital garden which is almost unrecognisable
since the tall leylandii hedges have gone. Down in this part of the garden
there are a lot of large leaved Rhododendron hybrids with large creamy-white
flowers. These have been flowering for quite a while and can be seen from
the main road.
From here I went to the pond garden. I am still not sure that I like the
enlarged pond. It hasn’t yet been planted up but it does have plenty
of water in it and the reflections in it were tremendous. There is a new
resident beside the pond – a chainsaw sculpture of an otter!
On up through the Fulvum garden where Rh fulvum is flowering along the south
drive past the camellias which are much later flowering this year. Along
the road past the theatre and Malcolm Allan Garden, amongst other plants
I found Rh Little Paddocks which is one of Sir James Horlick’s own
hybrids and a bright pink cherry. Another of Sir James’ varieties
that is flowering is Rh Gigha Gem. I then headed towards the walled garden
passing through the utility area where I see that a good supply of wood
has been gathered for next winter’s logs. Quite a number of trees
came down in various storms during the winter.
Coming to the walled garden gate I was delighted to see that it had been
rehung and that it is now bright red. One of the old slides of the gardens
showed that the gate had originally been red and not black. I new it was
being painted but this was the first time I had seen it since it had been
The south walled garden was looking very trim. The grass had recently been
cut and the herbaceous borders tidied up and mulched. During the winter
the garden staff had hired a shredder and the shreddings are now being put
to good use as a mulch.
I finished my walk by going along spring bank. At the end is possibly one
of my favourite rhododendrons, R W Rye. It is one of the earliest- a nice
bright yellow and over the years I have taken many photos of it. Also on
spring bank is another new resident; Eddie the Eagle another chainsaw sculpture!