Scotland's Finest Gardens - Part 1

Published on 10 October 2021 at 09:42

Judith's blogs are always a pleasure!


If you’ve never been to Scotland, you may be surprised to hear that there are some stunning gardens. I recently visited a couple in the Highlands: Cawdor Castle and Gardens in the east and Inverewe Gardens in the west.

Cawdor Castle and Gardens

Cawdor, our first stop is near Nairn, not far from Inverness. The day was sunny and warm so we spent most of our time exploring the gardens (there are three of them).

There is the Wild Garden in the ancient woodland; and the Flower Garden with so many flowers, so many shrubs that we had to sitdown for a time and just enjoy the tranquillity and the colours. And than there is The Walled Garden, formally set out, with trees and hedges, and a walkway of laburnum trees, which I intend to visit again in May.

Around the garden are sculptures commissioned by Lady Cawdor, and which are just so right in their particular place. Two things which I remember – the orchid tree, actually a sculpture, where all kinds of birds were lining up to enjoy the nuts and the lushness of the borders, even in September. I admire the inspiration which has gone into creating the gardens over the centuries and the work devoted to them today. You must be sure to include a tour of Cawdor Castle which is still family-owned. There is a very personal presentation of its history.

After Cawdor we headed west to Inverewe Gardens, south of Ullapool, the creation over a hundred years ago by a local land-owner, Osgood Mackenzie (see blog on Pool House), who carved the garden from the rocky hillside around the bay, bringing in plants from all over the world. The Gulf Steam means that the 50 acres of Inverewe are bathed in a mild climate.

We browsed first in the walled garden and then made our way uphill, through several secluded areas among the trees to a viewpoint overlooking magnificent Loch Ewe. After that we explored the different areas, enjoying the variety of trees and shrubs from different parts of the world, including the redwood trees from California.

Although most of the gardens is woodland, the walled garden is full of colourful flowers.

As I said we were there in September which a good time to visit, but next time I shall opt for spring when the rhododendrons are in bloom.

Inverewe is in the care of the National Trust for Scotland, which looks after several other gardens, and I’ll give you a heads-up on a couple of these in my next blog.

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P.S.  Before continuing our trip, we visited Pool House (separate blog), once the home of the estranged wife of Osgood Mackenzie and their daughter. Now it is open to the public and full of Victoriana belonging to the Harrison family, who will take you on a tour ( This was fascinating for us - and we didn’t pass up on the chance to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea.



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