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31 Jul 2020

Around the world in just one day!

Written by Jacky Brookes
A view of a colourful flower border beside a gravel path in a terraced walled garden.
Plants from all over the globe grow at Inverewe Garden! Photo credit: Adrian Hollister
We’ve introduced new social distancing measures to help keep you safe while you enjoy your visit around Inverewe. Our one-way walking route ensures you can still ‘take a trip around the world’ in just a few hours!

Are you yearning for a trip around the world but don’t want to deal with the jet lag?! Well, come to Inverewe and explore this peaceful oasis, a labour of love created from a barren wilderness in the 19th century.

Inverewe is a truly mystical landscape, a paradise of unusual, rare and wonderful plants from across the globe, where the unexpected greets you at every corner – it’s astonishing what we grow here in this unique garden microclimate! On the same latitude as Moscow and Hudson’s Bay, the garden benefits from the effects of the Gulf Stream.

Experience the sights, perfumes, sounds and wonderful tranquillity in this very special place. Whether on a day out or a staycation, take a walk through this hidden gem in the wilds of Scotland ... and discover the world!

Australia

We have the world’s most northerly grove of ‘living fossil’ trees, Wollemi pines. Thought to have died out 2 million years ago, the species was rediscovered in Australia in the 1990s. We’re very proud of our display of these rare trees.

All around Inverewe you can also see eucalyptus trees of all shapes and sizes. In Australia, koalas eat the leaves of this minty smelling tree, but here the trees provide a wonderful playground for our local wildlife instead, including red squirrels. 

Just around the corner from the pine grove, look out for the Peace Garden, created by Osgood Mackenzie in 1919 to commemorate the peace after the Great War. In 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of the war, we commissioned a number of willow sculptures depicting gardeners and a ‘War Horse’ leaving for the Western Front in 1914, and a uniformed soldier, sailor and nurse returning to the garden at the end of the war.

South Africa

Now we head a little north, to where the colours of Inverewe are seen in abundance! A wonderfully vibrant part of the garden, the South Africa area evokes Nelson Mandela’s description of ‘a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world’. It has wonderful displays of many plants, including crocosmia, aeoniums, angel’s fishing rod (Dierama pulcherrimum) and many more. South Africa is just next to the Walled Garden, where the borders come into their own in summer with many exotic plants from all over the world.

New Zealand

Around the world, local people have found various uses for many plants. Maori people had many different uses for the New Zealand flax plant (Phormium tenax) including clothing, mats, plates, baskets, ropes and fishing lines. As you walk down the steps into the Walled Garden you’ll pass the ‘corridor’ of flax plants. And don’t forget to look out for the New Zealand Christmas tree, which flowers along the main drive in our summer!

China

What is the giant panda’s favourite meal? Bamboo, of course! And in our appropriately named Bambooselem, you’ll see several different varieties of this important plant. In spring, visitors are also treated to an amazing display of the ‘woodland glories’ – erythroniums. (Some would say it’s one of the best displays of erythroniums in the world!) And the summer flowering of the magnificent Magnolia campbellii in this part of the garden is an unforgettable sight!

Tasmania

Evergreen tree ferns existed at the time of the dinosaurs, and they stand proud and splendid in their setting here at Inverewe! Furnishing bright green foliage with a fine, lacy texture, the fern grows 3.5cm to 5cm per year and produces spores when it reaches around 20 years of age. Look out for them as you walk around the Bambooselem. There’s also a beautiful display of multi-coloured candelabra primulas nearby — our favourite is the orange one called Primula ‘Inverewe’!

Tibet

Inverewe is well-famed for its range of rhododendrons, with one in flower to be found somewhere in the garden every month of the year. Rhododendrons are widely distributed in their native habitats of Nepal, Tibet and Manipur. Their large waxy-leaved flowers were all the rage for gardeners in Victorian times. For many visitors, their scent has a special appeal. Rhododendron lindleyi, from the Maddenii subsection, is one of our head gardener’s real favourites. The glorious large, trumpet-shaped flowers of the purest white emit a strong, sweet-spicy fragrance, which is intoxicating. At Inverewe it can be found in the sheltered environs of the woodland garden and Penders Walk. Even in winter Inverewe is colourful, as the bark of many rhododendrons has a beautiful colour.

Chile

Monkey puzzle trees (Araucaria araucana) grow high on the sides of volcanoes in countries like Chile and can even survive lava flows! They can also live for a very long time. Monkey puzzles were growing on Earth over 200 million years ago, at the time of the dinosaurs. Their spine-like needles stop them from being grazed by animals.

Their name is a bit of a puzzle, since there are no monkeys native to Chile!

Brazil

The wet marshes of Brazil are home to massive plants called gunnera. Towering above visitors, this giant rhubarb plant is a popular photo opportunity location! Gunnera have enormous leaves that can grow up to 2 metres tall and 2.5 metres wide. When the leaves overlap, they act like a huge natural umbrella to shelter you from the rain. It also has the nickname ‘dinosaur food’! In our ‘wet valley’ pond area, you’ll see many gunnera plants. Whilst you’re here, look out for our Savage Garden at the small pond, where you’ll find some amazing carnivorous plants.

USA 

Now imagine you’ve crossed the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and have arrived in the USA! You’ll be greeted by our Inverewe big trees towering above you. We’re very proud of all our trees, but especially so of our American redwoods. Some redwoods can live to be 3,000 years old; at just over 100 years old, these are wee babies! Just along from here, you can take a look at our newly created rock garden, building on the original idea and work of Mairi Sawyer nearly a century ago. This important gardening project was started last year, a collaboration between the Trust gardening team at Inverewe, the Scottish Rock Garden Club and their expert colleagues from Canada and Czech Republic. A real global achievement in our global garden and still ongoing in its development!

Canary Islands

One of our new distinctive features is our collection of aeoniums, which our gardeners bed out every spring for the summer display. Visitors can see this display in front of the Gate Lodge as they enter the garden. They include the purple-leaved Aeonium ‘Voodoo’ and ‘Cyclops’, the pink-tinged Aeonium ‘Darley Blush’, the red-leaved ‘Firecracker’ and the almost black ‘Zwartkop’.

Not only do we have our seasonal displays, but we also have been experimenting with leaving some species outside all year. So if you find yourselves in the western end of the walled garden and look under the tree and shrubs, you should see Aeonium cuneatum which is usually found growing in the laurel forests of the Canary Islands. If you walk up the adjacent green corridor steps, sub-alpine species such as Aeonium spathulatumA. simsii and A. smithii may also be spotted.

We look forward to welcoming you back!

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