(Good to visit at any time of the year)
Inverewe Garden was started by Osgood Mackenzie, born in 1842, the son of Sir Francis Mackenzie, laird of Gairloch. On his father's death Osgood's brothers inherited the Gairloch Estate, and so, with his mother's help the 12,000 acre Inverewe and Kernsary Estate was bought for him. It was 1862 and Osgood was 20 years old.
Osgood chose a site for his new house; a barren and rocky promontory in Loch Ewe, and by 1870 was well on the way to completing his Scottish Baronial Style mansion and its accompanying garden.
Inverewe is very far north (latitude 57.8 degrees), about the same latitude as Hudson's Bay in Canada, but because of warm Atlantic currents from the Caribbean is far warmer in winter (coldest winter temperature measured was 14 degrees F (-12C) in 1986) Due to its latitude temperatures are rarely very hot in summer; the highest temperature recorded was 84F (29C) in June 1978.
But the west Coast of Scotland is susceptible to strong winds and salt spray, so one of the first things Osgood did was establish shelter belts of Native and Scandinavian pines (both Pinus Sylvestris). He concentrated on the walled garden, reclaiming seashore with good soil reputed to have been bought from Ireland. Around about he created woodland walks amongst which he planted a variety of species collected from around the world. By the end of the century he had established one of the finest collections in Scotland of temperate plants from both Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Osgood's daughter, Mairi, took over the garden on her father's death in 1922. The present Inverewe House was built by her second husband in 1935 the original having been destroyed by a fire. Mairi continued to care for the garden, opening it to the public for the first time during World war II. Before she died in 1953 she made arrangements for the National Trust for Scotland to take over responsibility for the garden and care for it in perpetuity.
Four special collections in the Garden have been designated National Plant Collections
- Rhododendron (barbata subsection)
Plants are from:
- Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand, (many eucalyptus)
- China, Japan and Himalayas (many rhododendron)
- Temperate South America and North America.
One mile from Polewe, north of Gairloch in Wester Ross on the North West coast of Scotland.
Rosshire IV22 8XA
Tel: 01445 781200
Fax: 01445 781497
Open: March to 31 Oct, daily 9.30am-9pm; 1 Nov to 14 March, daily 9.30-5pm. (Check times with National Trust for Scotland before you visit.)