Loch Fyne, Argyll
Scotland PA29 6YJ
May is the perfect month to visit Stonefield Castle’s woodland gardens – a fantastic example of a striking and colourful Scottish Garden. Laid out in the 1840’s under the influence of the architect William Playfair, the gardens were planted by the Laird John Campbell with seed brought back from the Himalayas by Sir Joseph Hooker. In the 1946 the Estate of Stonefield was sold, the mansion house was turned into a hotel and the policies were divided. For many years until his retirement the gardens were tended to by Head Gardener David G. Hannah. Hannah extended the collection of with his own Hybrids such as R. campanulatum x sutchuenense ‘George Ross’ a Rosy- pink campanulate flowered specimen with light green leaves or R. grande x thomasonii ‘Rosy Morn’. Most of the rhododendrons were planted in an arc around the lawn were the former pool house is located and many of the Rhododendrons have hybridised naturally. In the same area there are some magnificent trees and shrubs including magnolia and a particularly lovely Camellia.
Around the exterior of the old walled garden (sadly out of use) there is an abundance of Pieris, Fuchsia and Crinodendron. The woodland areas also have some fine examples of trees and conifers – Beech, Oak, Sycamore, Cedar to name but a few. A survey carried out in 1981 identified 76 conifers of 39 different species – and the tallest tree in the garden – which still stands today – a Wellingtonia – which in 1981 measured 42m.
Ormsary is on the shore of Loch Caolisport looking across to Islay and Jura. The house policies are resplendent in spring with bluebells and daffodils under fine oak trees. There are woodland gardens with azaleas, rhododendrons and a collection of trees and shrubs. The walled garden, which has evolved over a couple of centuries, is on two levels. The top half is a kitchen garden producing plants, fruit and vegetables for the house; a winter garden and Muscat of Alexandria vinery have been heated by hydroelectric power for a 100 years. A magnificent Polylepis australis beckons to the lower ‘secret garden’ with its lawn, roses, magnolias and long mixed border. It opens onto the banks of Ormsary Water. There are woodland walks accessed through the upper woodland garden.
Visit www.ormsary.com for more details about Ormsary House.
10am – 10.30am Meet at the Stonefield Castle Hotel for tea/coffee.
10.30am – Introductory talk the current gardener and self guided tour.
1.00pm – Lunch at Stonefield Castle Hotel, ‘Soup of the Day’ with freshly baked homemade rolls and a platter of sandwiches.
2.40pm – Ormsary House guided tour with James Davidson, PGG member.
4.30pm – James has kindly offered us teas and coffee before we depart.
5.00pm – Depart.
Address and directions
Based in Argyll on the Knapdale Peninsula, Stonefield Castle is just two miles from the beautiful fishing village of Tarbert.
Stonefield Castle Hotel, Tarbert, Loch Fyne, Argyll, Scotland PA29 6YJ Postcode: PA29 6YJ
Ormsary, Lochgilphead, Argyll PA31 8PE Postcode: PA31 8PE
Cost for day: £18.00 which includes entrance fees, teas/coffees and lunch.