The Herald Magazine - - ETC | GARDENING -


GLENARN is a pri­vate gar­den in Rhu which was largely cre­ated and made fa­mous by the Gib­son fam­ily for its col­lec­tion of rhodo­den­drons from 1927 onwards. The gar­den lies on a favoured site on the hill­side above the Gare­loch, with a glen run­ning its length, pro­vid­ing shel­ter for large-leaved and ten­der rhodo­den­drons. Us­ing the orig­i­nal Vic­to­rian layout, the Gib­son brothers planted rhodo­den­drons raised from seed that was flood­ing into the coun­try by plant hunters from the Hi­malayas and China, as well as a wide va­ri­ety of plants that thrive on the west coast.

This year, tall Asi­atic mag­no­lias are flow­er­ing on bare branches, cre­at­ing bon­fires of light, along with large-leaved rhodo­den­dron species and hy­brids. This pro­vides a colour­ful back­drop, with nar­cis­sus and other early bulbs car­pet­ing the ground. A high­light through­out the year is the rock gar­den, which was cre­ated in the 1930s from the old quarry and nat­u­ral rock out­crops, pro­vid­ing a range of habi­tats for many dwarf rhodo­den­drons, as well as tree pe­onies, meconop­sis, prim­u­las and other trea­sures.

In the sum­mer, other er­i­ca­ceous plants add va­ri­ety and colour, in­clud­ing em­both­ri­ums, crin­oden­drons and ac­ers, with ho­he­rias and eu­chryphias, flow­er­ing un­til late Septem­ber. Roses also ram­ble through the trees along­side the climb­ing hy­drangeas. Mike and Sue Thornley bought Glenarn in 1983 and have been restor­ing the gar­den and ex­tend­ing its col­lec­tions.

Glenarn is a mem­ber of the Glo­ri­ous Gar­dens of Ar­gyll and Bute and Dis­cover Scot­tish Gar­dens, Scot­land’s gar­den tourism group.

PHONE: 01436 820493

OPEN­ING TIMES: Open ev­ery day, from dawn un­til dusk, un­til 21 Septem­ber.

AD­MIS­SION COSTS: Adults: £5; chil­dren un­der 16: free; con­ces­sions: £5


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