The gardens at Kilchoan provide a bridge between the human and natural world, they aim to re-connect the two, helping ground oneself and bringing the visitor down to earth..
The gardens are a dynamic piece of art, an opportunity to carry out horticultural and botanical study, a complex mix of science and expression. The garden space provides opportunity to apply thought and imagination to the existential issues that define our times, while expressing those thoughts and ideas creatively. They provide an opportunity to nourish both the body and mind with food and exercise as well as an opportunity to reconnect with the natural and spiritual world. Their purpose is to bring people closer to the immense diversity of culture, plants, animals and fungi than can be found here.
We are softening the buildings into the landscape using a mix of garden restoration and creation, we are using plants, landscaping and art to extend the reach of horticulture across the grounds and policies. Sculpture is used throughout the garden to provide interest and stimulate conversation and engagement between people.
Using diversity, beauty and conservation, we are decorating the landscape.
Restoring the improved hay meadow using traditional management practices is increasing floral diversity, not only to please the eye but also to provide forage and shelter for the many creatures that can be found here.
House of Anita
The grounds around the main house, currently in construction, will be a mix of formal areas and small enclosed private spaces and feature a garden exploring the topic of religion.
The Himalayan Garden
Climbing up the cliff from the main drive and House of Anita to the Guest House, the Himalayan Garden houses a vast array of Himalayan and sino-Himalayan species ranging from the tallest Abies and Cupressus spp, through a colorful Rhododendron collection to a diverse herbaceous flora featuring well-loved Primula spp and the instantly recognisable Meconopsis, all set under an informal canopy of trees and shrubs.
The Spring Garden
A lost path and spectacular beech tree are the main influences on this garden. Once stripped of invasive species, self-seeded trees and brash, the bones of a long-lost garden space emerged. Utilising the winter sun and dappled light of spring before the canopy closes over, a garden is being created. A space to be enjoyed as the promise of summer starts to emerge in the breaking buds and the flowering of bulbs as they push their way through the warming soil.
The Walled Garden
Continuing the traditional use of the most fertile, sheltered and productive ground on the estate we are utilising this area to produce organic and nutritionally rich crops, colourful blooms for cutting, drying and arranging. A no dig system is in place to limit the disruption of the natural flora and fauna of the rhizosphere and protect our most precious resource, soil.
We also house the more tender and select ornamental species within the shelter of the walls. A traditional ¾ span greenhouse overlooks the garden from the top terrace. It provides a refuge for the most tender collections which include Lapageria rosea, frost tender Rhododenrons and ferns. A geographically ordered alpine collection is being amassed and housed on the greenhouse terrace and in the cold frames.
The Chapel Field
St Comghan’s chapel was dedicated in July 2018 and provides a space for religious and spiritual contemplation and connection with God. The grounds around the chapel are kept muted and simple with structure and form being the main features. Seasonal displays of flowering cherries and bulbs add interest without causing excessive distraction for the mind.
Anita’s Cottage and Kilchoan Farmhouse Gardens
A highly manicured, ornamental space surrounds these private homes. Features such as the terraces, decking, outdoor cooking and dining areas make the most of the impressive view down Loch Melfort and beyond. The planting is an informal cloth of mixed trees, shrubs, roses and herbaceous plants. The upper terrace features palms and a high proportion of south African species, giving an almost tropical feel, while topiarized yew and English roses have a much more traditional and recognisable feel throughout the rest of the garden.
A newly planted collection of trees from across the world, a mix of species chosen for both their beauty and those with high conservation value are housed at Kilchoan. The arboretum acts as an exsitu conservation collection for the International Conifer Conservation Charity and houses threatened species from across the globe.
A gentle path leading up-hill takes you into the shelter of native hazel woods, interplanted with a Chilean tree and shrub collection.
As with most Scottish gardens the areas surrounding the gardens are not left in a fully natural state. Informal plantings of trees are incorporated into the woodlands, providing interest on those longer walks from the properties and act as a transition from the manicured and ordered gardens into the wild temperate rainforest, heaths and farmland of the wider estate.