The wonderful Inverewe

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During the summer holidays, we packed up the car and headed to the north west of Scotland on a bit of a camping adventure.  It was our first time camping as a family, and to be honest I think we had everything but the kitchen sink in the back of the car, as well as the dog, bikes, roof box.......a scene probably only families who camp can sympathise with! 

We decided to head up to Gairloch, to a campsite nestled in the sand dunes overlooking Skye and the Outer Hebrides. A hop over the dunes and we were on a huge stretch of golden sands with the most stunning views over the islands. We pretty much lived on the beach for four days, swimming in the sea, building sandcastles, wave jumping but best of all camp fire building! Many a sausage was sizzled and marshmallow toasted while watching amazing sunsets, we didn't want to leave!

We decided to drag ourselves away from this little piece of heaven for the day and popped over to Poolewe, a half hour drive away from the campsite, to visit the world famous Inverewe Gardens.

Over the last couple of summers we've discovered that Stella, our daughter, also loves to visit gardens, which is an added bonus when we both enjoy it for inspiration for our own little plot.  They have a great childrens bug hunt set up around the network of paths through out the garden, so this kept the little lady very well entertained and allowed us to see a huge area of this stunning garden.

Set in over 2,000 acres of National Trust land, the garden was created in 1862 by Osgood McKenzie, overlooking loch Ewe.  Benefitting from the warm Gulf Stream, the garden is planted with exotics from all over the world, and has some of the most northerly located species of Wollemi pines, Himalayan blue poppies, olearia from New Zealand, Tasmanian eucalypts, and rhododendrons from China, Nepal and the Indian subcontinent.

My favourite part was most definitely the walled garden. It is laid out on a terraced curve hugging Loch Ewe, with stunning views. The largest bed was laid out in strips of annuals mixed with vegetables, giving a stunning colour block effect.  Lots of different types of Calendulas, Borage, Cerinthe Major, various cabbages, kales, peas, hugely inspirational for both our own garden and the community gardening that I'm involved in.  I came away with my head buzzing with lots of ideas for next years planting plans.......! 

The hard landscaping and structure within the garden was very thoughtfully done too, from all of the stone walling, beautiful wire and metal work fencing and gates, rope swags for supporting David Austin roses to the simple ways of supporting the veg was all done with great detail in mind.

Another border has a stunning collection of willow structures to commemorate those lost in WW1, especially the men and women of Inverewe Estate.  It is under planted with Shirley Poppies and Bishops Flower, which unfortunately weren't flowering when we visited, but there are some superb photos on the Gardens Facebook page showing it in full flower during the middle of September.

There are so many different areas to the garden, plus the huge amount of trees that surround it and provide the shelter needed to allow such exotic varieties of plants to survive so far north.  We were lucky enough to see the Metrosideros Umbellatus flowering, also known as The New Zealand Christmas Tree. It only flowers for two weeks of the year and is covered in the most stunning red flowers which the honey bees just adore! 

I wish we lived closer as it's such a huge garden, full of interesting corners and will no doubt be in bloom for a good part of the year. I think another camping trip north will be required next year at some point in order to have the excuse to visit this stunning garden again, but maybe we just won't take that kitchen sink the next time!

Thanks for reading,