Artmap Ar­gyll un­earths se­cret gar­den

Campbeltown Courier - - LEISURE -

A re­view with words and pic­tures by HAN­NAH O’HAN­LON

An en­chanted gar­den was one of the at­trac­tions at Kintyre’s only Artmap Ar­gyll lo­ca­tion.

A wan­der round Chris­tine Rus­sell’s five-acre slop­ing gar­den makes it easy to see where she gets the in­spi­ra­tion for her stunning sea and land­scape paint­ings.

Lo­cated at her home, An Cear­dach, Pen­in­ver, Chris­tine’s stu­dio is set among the tran­quil, green­ery of her glo­ri­ous gar­den, fea­tur­ing 400 dif­fer­ent species of rhodo­den­drons and a va­ri­ety of un­usual trees and shrubs and sev­eral wa­ter fea­tures.

The stu­dio it­self was once a ruin but is now con­verted into a green­house-come-stu­dio, with grapes and toma­toes flour­ish­ing in­side.

Tended to by only Chris­tine and her bi­ol­o­gist hus­band, Liv­ingston, the grounds are im­pres­sive enough to ri­val any pro­fes­sional gar­den.

What is even more as­tound­ing is that when the cou­ple moved there in 1990, the land was com­pletely over­grown with bri­ars and weeds.

Chris­tine and Liv­ingston have spent al­most 30 years turn­ing it into the beau­ti­ful, peace­ful place it is now.

An Cear­dach is a treat for ‘chil­dren of all ages’ with seven, se­cret fairy doors, hid­den all around the gar­den - see if you can spot them all.

A warm welcome awaits any­one who wishes to visit the stu­dio and gar­dens, which are usu­ally open by ap­point­ment for a con­tri­bu­tion to char­ity.

Last week­end, it was part of Artmap Ar­gyll’s red dot trail of stu­dios open through­out the county.

Artmap Ar­gyll, which is cel­e­brat­ing its 10th birth­day, ex­ists to pro­mote and ad­vance the de­vel­op­ment of pro­fes­sional vis­ual artists and mak­ers work­ing in Ar­gyll, and

to seek so­lu­tions to the bar­ri­ers en­coun­tered by the re­mote ru­ral com­mu­nity in ac­cess­ing high qual­ity vis­ual and ap­plied arts.

Chris­tine has been a mem­ber of the or­gan­i­sa­tion for around five years, and last week­end joined the 48 other mem­bers in open­ing up her stu­dio.

At the mo­ment, An Cear­dach’s cho­sen char­ity is the Camp­bel­town Pic­ture House restora­tion and dur­ing the week­end £300 was raised.

One week­end vis­i­tor said that she of­ten vis­ited An Cear­dach to get in­spi­ra­tion for her own gar­den, and for what­ever rea­son you seek mo­ti­va­tion, the gar­den and tran­quil set­ting are sure to pro­vide it.

An Cear­dach from above - there are lots of paths to take around the garde

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You could be for­given for think­ing you had landed in Hob­biton, as this fairy door sug­gests.

Most of the land at An Cear­dach was cov­ered in wild bri­ars when the cou­ple bought it in 1990.

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This fairy door is apt for An Cear­dach’s sea­side lo­ca­tion, over­look­ing the Kil­bran­nan Sound.

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An­other of An Cear­dach’s fairy doors - keep your eyes peeled for all seven.

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It is easy to see where Chris­tine gets the in­spi­ra­tion for her seascapes.

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The beau­ti­ful, slop­ing gar­den.

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The grapes which grow in Chris­tine’s stu­dio.

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There are nu­mer­ous wa­ter fea­tures around the gar­den.

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Look­ing out to the Kil­bran­nan Sound from the Rus­sells’ gar­den.

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Chris­tine Rus­sell with her gallery of sea and land­scape paint­ings at An Cear­dach.

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