Visitors come to Ardtornish Gardens to enjoy the beauty of an outstanding natural landscape, with the contrast between long vistas across sea loch and open hill and closer views of wooded glen, river and waterfall. The concept behind designing a garden at the head of Loch Aline was not to compete, but to complement, to introduce plant shapes and colours brought from other parts of the world in a way that enhanced the natural features of the terrain.
The original planting of the site in the late nineteenth century was intended to be enjoyed by approach from the sea, the usual way of reaching here then, with the towers of Ardtornish House springing from a semi-circle of mainly evergreen trees.
There are many species rhododendrons and lots of hybrids with the scented Polar Bear in July and August perhaps the best. Deciduous azaleas, many fragrant, are the highlight of May along with the sheets of bluebells that flower then. Others which thrive here are the scarlet-flowered Chilean Fire Tree Embothrium coccineum, Hoheria lyallii, Eucryphias, Davidia, Cercidiphyllum and Enkianthus. There are many Acers, Prunus and Sorbus giving a colourful show from late September to November.
At a lower level, Primulas, Erythroniums, Himalayan Blue Poppies and Willow Gentians are being planted in increasing numbers.
Ardtornish, Lochaline, Morvern, Highlands, Scotland, PA34 5UZ
March to November. Daily. Open 8am to 8pm.