Attadale Part 4

TNT_BrianStarred Page By TNT_Brian, 14th Jan 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Scotland>The North & Northwest Highlands

Set in 20 acres of rugged Highland landscape, Attadale is an award winning garden, growing plants and attracting visitors from around the world. Read on to find out more about why this is the best garden in Scotland* In Part 4, we go to the Fern Garden and the working Kitchen Garden then finish our tour in the Conservatory.

Part 4

Welcome back to Attadale Gardens in the North West Highlands of Scotland. So far we have learned about the location and history of Attadale in part 1, visited the Water Garden and Old Rhododendron Walk in part 2 and the Sunken Garden and Japanese Garden in part 3. Now we continue from where we left off by leaving the Japanese Garden and walking through a wooded area.

Woodland and Rhododendron Dell

Here we see several very large trees including the second Wellingtonia Redwood, Quercus RoburEnglish Oak and Ulmus GlabraWych Elm. We arrive at a fork in the path a minute or two later. To the left we have the Old Rhododendron Dell – an old quarry area where the Rhododendrons are over 100 years old – and an avenue lined with Thuja Plicata Western Red Cedar, leading to the sea where Baron Schroder would have moored his private yacht. The dell is a peaceful shady place where it is nice to sit for a while and listen to the sound of water trickling down the cliffs behind.

Fern Garden

Taking the right hand path at the fork, the way goes along the bottom of a cliff to the Fern Garden. This is another old quarry area which is quiet and shady. Here we find a glass dome built on a drystone base which houses the more delicate ferns such as tree ferns Dicksonia Antarctica, Dicksonia Fibrosa and Cyathia Dealbata. Outside there are several beds where as well as a large collection of ferns including Athyrium Nipponicum PictumPainted Lady, we see some simply wonderful trees and shrubs including Crinodendron Hookerianum, Osmanthus and Cercidophyllum (known as the Toffee Apple Tree due to the strong scent it gives off in Spring and Autumn). Also in this area in the summer time we would see Cardiocrinum GiganteumThe giant Himalayan Lily which, although it takes seven years to flower, can grow up to 15 feet high and truly are a remarkable sight. Lurking on a branch above the Fern Garden is another bronze sculpture, this time a chameleon.


As mentioned previously, this garden is constantly evolving and the latest project being worked upon at the moment is an extension to the Fern Garden. An old Victorian stone drain has been excavated an uncovered to create a sunken water feature around which will be built a drystone wall with plenty of planting holes for ferns and sreptocarpus. When mature, this will be a Fern-Wall which will be shaded by tree ferns such as Dicksonia Antarctica and Trachycarpus Forestii planted above.

Kitchen Garden

The path now leads into the much more formal looking Kitchen Garden with its Box Hedge (Buxus Semperviruns) lined vegetable plots, fruit cage and greenhouse where plants are propagated and grown for planting out and selling to the public. There is also a stone paved Herb Garden to one side growing a huge range of herbs. Again, every stone here was laid by hand. A large range of fruit and vegetables are grown here, mostly for consumption in the main house but some items are grown to supply a local restaurant. Also in the Kitchen Garden is the Poly Tunnel where plants are available for sale. All the plants on sale here can be found growing somewhere in the garden.

Tea room and conservatory

The last short section of path leads from to the yard of Attadale House where the toilets and tea room are located. The tea room is self service which makes it low cost and a very relaxed place to rest after the walk and enjoy a coffee or other hot or cold drinks and biscuits. It is well worth a visit as it is full informative things like books to read and many photographs detailing the development of the gardens over the years.

Around the corner from the tea room, on the way back to the Water Gardens and the exit, we find the last piece of the puzzle – the Conservatory. This has been transformed into a tropical glass house growing Amarylis, Datura, Aloe, Tree Ferns, Cacti and many other special and rare plants from around the world. This is a beautiful part of the garden and finishes off the visit very nicely indeed.

End of the road

Although each area of the garden is in stark contrast to the others, they flow together very well and complement each other beautifully due to common plants to be found throughout including Hostas, Meconopsis, and Primulas. There is a lot more to do and see here than I have covered in this guide including many more sculptures. All credit is due to garden owner and visionary Mrs Nicky MacPherson, an artist herself who has worked tirelessly to design and create this paradise and to her team of gardeners without whom it would be impossible to keep this place looking beautiful throughout the year.

If you are ever in this part of the world then Attadale Gardens is an absolute must for anybody’s itinerary. Check out the website at and thanks for reading!

* As voted for by readers of BBC Gardeners World Magazine.


Acer, Attadale, Attadale Gardens, Bbc, Bridgette Mccrum, Cardiocrinum, Ferns, Gardens, Giant Redwood, Glass Dome, Hamish Mackie, Hosta, Inverness, Japanese Garden, Kitchen Garden, Kyle Of Lochalsh, Loch Carron, Macpherson, Maple, Matheson, Matheson And Jardine, Meconopsis, Oak, Picea, Pine, Primula, Quercus, Rosie Sturgis, Schroder, Scotland, Sculpture, Skye, Spruce, Sun Dial, Tourist Attraction, Ulmus

Meet the author

author avatar TNT_Brian
I am a gardener at a large private garden in the Highlands of Scotland which is open to the public. My hobbies include camping, fishing,photography and hillwalking. I am also a bit of a geek when it comes to watching pro-wrestling but more of that ...(more)

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author avatar Retired
15th Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks for sharing

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
15th Jan 2011 (#)

Thank you for sharing this tourist attraction and garden with us.

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author avatar TNT_Brian
15th Jan 2011 (#)

Thanks guys, I hope some of you get a chance to visit this absolute gem some day :)

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author avatar Denise O
15th Jan 2011 (#)

What a nice journey through a just absolute gorgeous estate. I love all the green. One of the reasons I fell in love with the deep south of the USA, all the greenery.
I enjoyed my saturday afternoon ride around the gardens, now I am going to go get me a hot cup of tea and go play with Buggah outside. Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved. The whoe series is well deserving of the stars you have received. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar TNT_Brian
16th Jan 2011 (#)

Thank you so much for your kind words Denise. I'm really pleased that you have enjoyed reading about the amazing place where Greenfaol and Myself are fortunate enough to live i and see every day. And thanks for the congrats on the stars too, I am really delighted about them

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author avatar Greenfaol
17th Jan 2011 (#)

Brilliant conclusion to a wonderful series. The gardens really are lovely, the articles are a testimony to that. Well done on the stars too :D

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author avatar Jeanie sutherland
16th Feb 2011 (#)

can visitors come for coffee without going around the gardens?

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