My most recent visit to Ardtornish Gardens

17th May, 2017. My apologies for the lack of updates. There is so much to do in retirement! This was my 3rd visit this year and the garden is looking lovely. I was held up pruning the roses by a broken down cherry picker and by the time I did prune them there was quite a bit of mildew. The weeding and planting are up to date. The borders round the house are very full which restricts the number of weeds. I leave seedlings of desireables when weeding and one of my favourite combinations this visit was a dense bed of bluebell and self-sown double Lady's Smock in the Verandah border. Allan is keeping the grounds in good order and has successfully repaired a collapsed main stone cundie (drain) that was causing a lower lawn to flood. Very hard work.

Trees. Deciduous trees are now mostly in full leaf. The young leaves make this one of my favourite times in the garden. The coppery young leaves of the Katsuras, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, are among the best. The Chilean Fire Tree, Embothrium coccineum, is just showing scarlet, a promise of a colourful few weeks. The Handkerchief Trees, Davidia involucrata, are flowering now and the one by the drive that was snapped in half a couple of years ago by a falling Scots Pine is flowering for the first time since the accident.

Shrubs. Rhododendrons and azaleas are amazing just now. Some of the large leaved ones that were planted in the mid 90s are flowering for the first time this year though Rhododendron sinogrande has yet to do so. As these ones are grown more for their leaves, the flowers are a bonus. The fragrance of the azaleas greatly adds to the experience.

Alpine Meadow Disporum smithii

Disporum smithii grown by me from seed has small flowers but is none the worse for that. It set a few seeds last year for the first time and I potted them up a few days ago. It does not divide well and can be reluctant to establish.

The Alpine Meadow is now looking much bluer as the bluebells make a comeback. If the meadow is cut after the bluebell seed is shed, we miss out on Devil's Bit Scabious and other late wildflowers so it is left till late autumn.

Trilliums Trillium grandiflorum

I noticed this Trillium grandiflorum a few years ago. It had been swamped by the vigorous shrub behind and was not flowering. I moved it to Mrs Raven's Birthday Bed and it flowered this year for the first time.

Trilliums in Mrs Raven's 80th Birthday Bed. The yellow Trillium luteum is perhaps my favourite. So far it has not set seed. The bluish leaved plant is Dicentra Langtrees which makes good groundcover.

"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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