Colin's Blog from the Black Isle - Inverewe Gardens
- Published in Latest News
- Published on Tuesday, 07 June 2016
Now that the Bluebells and Green Alkanet are flowering beside the road to Bay Farm, it is time to visit Inverewe Gardens at Poolewe near Gairloch on the North-West coast of Scotland. Choose a day when the weather is dull and grey in the East and it will probably be fine and sunny on the West.
Inverewe is a very special place. The Magnolias and the Handkerchief Tree are now in flower, and so are the lovely Azaleas along the front drive. These gardens were created by Osgood Mackenzie in the nineteenth century and have matured into a unique collection of plants and trees from all over the world. Take a look at the images on www.wikipedia.org.inverewe
Osgood Mackenzie was the third son of Sir Francis Mackenzie, the twelfth Laird of Gairloch in Wester Ross. When Osgood was 20 years old in 1862, his mother purchased the Estate of Inverewe and Kernsary for him to give him something to do. He spent the rest of his life creating a truly remarkable garden with plants he gathered on his travels abroad. Osgood Mackenzie died in 1922. He wrote a book about his life in the Highlands called “A Hundred Years In The Highlands”, which gives a fascinating impression of what it was like for a Highlander in the nineteenth century. For instance, he describes how the local inhabitants built the road from Gairloch to Loch Maree during the Potato Famine in 1846. My father once told me that he travelled along that road from Achnasheen to Gairloch in 1911. It is one of my favourite roads in Scotland.
Inverewe Gardens have been well looked after by The National Trust for Scotland since 1952 and Mackenzie’s old House has just been renovated to house an exhibition showing the history of the Estate.
Poolewe is about 2 hours by road from Bay Farm via Loch Maree. Go there and spend an after-noon exploring the gardens, and visit the exhibition. You will not regret it.