Achamore Gardens

A fine botanical conception on Gigha in Argyll and Bute, Achamore Gardens is owned by the community following the purchase of the island by its residents in 2002. Situated a half-mile (0.8 km) south of Ardminish, surrounding Achamore House which is now privately-owned, the garden extends to 20.2 ha (50 acres) and comprises woodlands, a large walled garden and a large pond. There are many interesting plants and trees growing including tender species of rhododendron, azaleas and camellias, together with other rare shrubs and sub-tropical plants, that take advantage of the warming effects of the Gulf Stream, which ensures frost-free winters. A series of way-marked walks take visitors through the different sections of the garden. One leads to a summit at the rear of the garden, behind the walled garden, which provides spectacular views over Islay and Jura.

Whereas most of the trees were planted by the Scarlett family, who were Lairds of Gigha from the 1880s, it was Lt. Col Sir James Horlick, of the malted-drink family, who bought Gigha in 1944 and painstakingly laid out the garden over the years until his death in 1973. He received professional assistance from the noted garden designer Kitty Lloyd Jones. The result is one of the finest gardens in the West of Scotland. Horlick was quoted as saying "creating a garden out of this mess has given me the most enjoyable twenty years of my life". He gifted examples of several of his plants to the National Trust for Scotland so they could be preserved, propagated and planted elsewhere.

In 2006, Queen Elizabeth II and The Princess Royal visited the gardens during an unscheduled stop on a cruise around the Inner Hebrides. Achamore was damaged by the winter storms of 2011.

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