Saturday, 7 July 2018

Glenwhan Gardens

"If you cannot say something nice, don't say anything at all" . . .   Hmm, that's going to be a tricky one.

I was hugely looking forward to visiting Glenwhan.  Having read the story of how it has been created from nothing I felt a tiny sliver of connection (Bag End = ⅔ acre, Glenwhan = 12 acres . . . just a teeny, tiny sliver!)  But created from nothing with stunning views I reckoned this would be a garden to lose myself in and not come out for hours.  Billed as of of the most beautiful new gardens in Scotland, it didn't quite work like that for me.

Simple and lovely journey from the campsite to Stranraer.  Horrible last couple of miles up a very narrow single track road.  I've driven roads like this before in the campervan without any trouble but this one had my stomach in knots - never a good beginning.  Surprisingly small carpark because this is clearly no longer a personal garden which happens to open, but a Business.  More about that later.

I am always conscious of Bill taking up quite a bit of space when parked so I squeezed us into a corner and went over to the large cafe to ask if I was OK where I was.  "I guess so" said the cheerful lady behind the counter "but we have a wedding arriving at lunchtime".  I was informed that 40 cars and a coach were due and "it would be a bit busy".  I decided that would not matter, and whilst the wedding party were doing whatever wedding parties do (in this case just the ceremony and photos, reception was somewhere else),  I would settle in the van, have a coffee and something to eat, and relax.  So I collected my water bottle and camera and set off for a damn good look around.

The garden starts well, really well.  The entrance takes you straight to two huge ponds with some lovely planting around the margins.



















After walking around both ponds I set off to explore the rest of the garden.  That is when things went rather downhill (actually, it was topographically uphill but never mind . . . ).   I cannot explain this and am not normally one for fanciful imaginings but the place felt oppressive and threatening, and very unsettling.  Away from the ponds, twisting labyrinthine paths weaved this way and that through big beds of shrubs and what should have been charming damp areas packed with flag iris and primula.  But it was nothing of the sort, for me it was quite horrible and I felt an overwhelming need to get away.  Giving myself a "stiff talking to" I decided to go back to Bill for a coffee, and then set off around the garden again.  There was also a 17 acre "moorland" area that is meant to be good to walk through - lots of wild flowers and naturalisation.

But I couldn't do it.  When I got back to the van I slung my bag in a cupboard and drove down the narrow road as fast as I dared.  I know my photos look lovely, and the images you can find on Google show a tremendous place.  But it didn't work for me.  Next time I visit the area I should give it another chance;  I'd like to think I will do so because clearly I have not seen more than a fraction of what the place has to offer but I wouldn't bet on it.




12 comments:

  1. Strange, glad you got away, how long has it been open to the public. We waited years before going to the Eden project in Cornwall, I wanted to see it at it’s best rather than all shiny and new.

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    1. I don't know how long she has opened for Marlene, but I suspect it is a good few years.

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  2. That's a shame you didn't get good vibes from the place. The photos you took are nice though.

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    1. Thanks Eileen. The areas around the ponds are super and just my sort of thing, but the rest of the place really creeped me out.

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  3. What a shame. I wonder what it was to make you feel that way? X

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    1. I don't know Jules. I joked with M. that it might have been haunted . . .

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  4. The pond photos are lovely , it's a shame you didn't get good vibes from the place abd you cut your visit short. Would it feel any better if you were to go in spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are flowering? - just a thought...

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    1. It certainly would be lovely to see it in Spring, Eunice, and the upside of cutting short my visit was I spent a good few hours at Ardwell which was lovely and relaxing.

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  5. Pond area does look nice, but our own feelings can get in the way at times & yes, I've experienced feelings of utter elation in some places, then others give me a feeling of horror or unrelenting tension, so you are not alone. Have you ever visited some of the gardens in Yorkshire, none of which gave me bad vibes. I'll do a quick email later with some goodies. Enjoy the weekend & your own garden, take care & huggles.

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    1. Thanks Susan, I had a hunch you would understand :-) I know there are some great gardens in Yorkshire, would love to know your favourites.

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  6. Just popped back in to say I'll likely be visiting Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC week late next week. That's the plan anyway. I'll take pictures.

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    1. Lucky you, look forward to the pictures.

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