My most recent visit to Ardtornish Gardens

2nd November, 2017. The garden was looking good with lots of autumn colour when I visited a couple of weeks ago. Much of my visit was spent planting bulbs. I managed to clear some scrub. There are still plenty flowers about and berries are ripe. Allan has the lawns looking great and he is keeping the paths open though I don't remember them being so soggy. He is getting some much-needed help from Steve Hardy.

Trees. Autumn colours are the order of the day though some trees have already shed their leaves. It is always a joy to shuffle through fallen leaves, particularly the katsuras with their sweet smell.

Shrubs. Hydrangeas are still excellent despite having flowered since July and the later paniculata types now in flower. The paniculatas can have very large heads if each stem is pruned back to a couple of buds in spring. "Limelight" has a greenish tinge but my favourite is the brilliant white "Kyushu". One of the hydrangeas that does best here is Hydrangea serrata with lots of smallish, blue heads that fade very prettily and leaves which turn a fine red. I much prefer the lacecap hydrangeas to the round mop-head ones as they look much more graceful.

Hydrangea serrata Rhododendron Elizabeth Lochart

Rhododendron Elizabeth Lochart with Daphne pontica leaves. Foliage is always important but moreso in the colder months.

Hydrangea serrata seems to perform really well here. It has blue flowers in July and still looks good in December.

honesty Oxydendron arboreum

Oxydendron arboreum, the Sorrel Tree has flowers like Lily of the Valley in the autumn and the white against the autumn leaves is a rare sight.

Honesty takes 2 years to flower then it dies! The flowers are good but the silver seed pods are why it is grown. It will self-seed. Well worth growing for a dried flower vase.

"The Ardtornish Garden" by Faith Raven includes a short history of the Garden, with photographs of the people who have owned it and of the people who have worked in it and of the plants they grew. It describes the changing colours of the seasons in the Garden and how the work of the gardener has to fit in with the difficulties of the climate. Take a tour of the Garden using the detailed maps and see some of the best view points and the most interesting plantings.
Priced £10 plus £2.60 p&p.   "The Ardtornish Garden"

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