An outstanding garden set in a natural landscape.
Visitors to Ardtornish Gardens come to enjoy the contrast between long vistas across sea loch and open hill and closer views of wooded glen, river and waterfall. There are 25 acres of garden to explore. Numerous winding paths and stunning views will keep your interest for hours. For a virtual tour of the garden with recent photographs, details of its history and of the local wildlife seen in and around the garden, please pay a visit to ARDTORNISH GARDENS.
The concept behind the garden at the head of Loch Aline was not to compete, but to complement, to introduce plant shapes and colours brought from other parts of the world in a way that enhanced the natural features of the terrain. The original planting of the site in the late nineteenth century was intended to be enjoyed by approach from the sea, with the towers of Ardtornish House springing from a semi-circle of trees, mainly evergreen.
The garden was developed through the middle years of the twentieth century by Owen and Emmeline Hugh Smith, and then by their daughter, Faith Raven, and her husband John. Their daughter, Sarah Raven, is the well-known gardening writer and broadcaster, and another daughter, Anna, runs another popular local garden at Ard Daraich with her husband Norrie.
There is much to see throughout the year, but the main interest of the garden begins in March with expanses of daffodils and the early flowering rhododendrons. The display accelerates into April, May and June, when the large variety of species rhododendrons come into flower, followed by the hybrids and the deciduous azaleas. In the next months, shrubs with white flowers take the lead, davidia, hoheria, eucryphia & Rhododendron Polar Bear.
Extremes of colour are kept for later September, October and into November. Much of the early planting of the garden was focussed on these months. Acer, azalea, cercidiphyllum, enkianthus and prunus blaze away alongside the berries of sorbus, cotoneaster and berberis.