Since initial landscaping and planting, the work in the garden has focussed on managing the tension between designed formality and natural exuberance.
The initial layout of the gardens was very formal with straight lines, right angles and geometric planting patterns. As the garden has matured, the luxuriant growth of some plants has been encouraged, creating large cushions and overspills of colour and foliage to enhance the visual impact of the original formality.
The collective impact of the plants in the borders is stunning with individual highlights throughout the year including Euphorbias, Salvias, Shasta Daisies, Sweet Peas and in August, the magnificent White Hydrangea in the Glenshiel garden.
Plants which have seeded in from elsewhere have been retained to good effect: the mounds of white-flowered Feverfew in the car park being the most obvious example. Other notable incomers include Lupin, White Campion, Cowslip and Spiked Speedwell. We have also encouraged plants known to have a beneficial effect on butterflies and bees: Butterfly Bush, Scabious, Geum and the Lavender Hedge which has been truly spectacular this year, attracting large numbers of Painted Lady Butterflies.
Bees are also benefitting from the enhanced Herb Garden which has been expanded this year and now includes Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Chervil, Dill, Bronze, Green Fennel, Violas, Calendula, Borage, several types of Mint and two Chives, including the famous ‘Black Isle Blush’ which was developed locally and has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Order of Garden Merit! Given the success of the herb garden, we are now developing a kitchen garden to produce fresh ingredients which are difficult to source locally.
Like all the beds and borders in the garden, the herbs and the kitchen garden will be grown on organic principles, eschewing all use of pesticides and relying exclusively on organic feeds.