Garden Portrait: Glenwhan Gardens

Glenwhan in Gaelic means “Rushy Glen” or “Grassy Green Place”

One reason for our recent visit to Dumfries and Galloway was the climate. The balmy air caused by the Gulf Stream creates a micro-climate meaning that plants that normally can’t grow outdoors all year round in Scotland, can here. Even sub-tropical species thrive. Around six gardens can be visited around Stranraer on the south-west coast, known as Scotland’s Garden Route and choosing just a couple to visit was difficult. Eventually we decide on Glenwhan and Logan Botanical Garden.

Glenwhan Gardens is focused around a couple of main lochans (ponds) and not only has a profusion of plants, but also a Tree Trail with over 130 different trees identified for the dendrologist (tree lover), and a Wildflower walk through adjacent moorland. Glenwhan Gardens offer magnificent views over Luce Bay, the Mull of Galloway and the Isle of Man, a perfect backdrop for this garden gem.

Setting off around the largest lochan we follow mown grassed pathways, weaving our way between hydrangeas and rhododendrons.



Then headed off to visit the Dell and on to the Woodland Walk, where we discovered a lovely Buddha and Tibetan Prayer flags.


The garden is full of winding pathways leading you between trees and shrubs into open spaces where you will find a seat to rest and admire the wonderful views. And the Luce Bay is in the distance – honest!


Carrying on upwards we make for a summer-house at the top of the garden where you have views down to the Mull of Galloway and even the Isle of Man. There is also an interesting ‘Thinking Rock‘ and more seats from which to contemplate the beautiful surroundings, listen to the birds singing and the gentle buzz of honey bees.



A beautiful vista – changing hut and diving board

Of course if you go uphill, at some point you need to go back down. There are several routes in this lovely garden to do that. Either take the steps leading to the water garden and stream area with lush plantings of various primula species, hostas and irises, or continue round the back of the shelter and back into the Tree Trail following the edge of the garden where gentler steps will lead to the stream, or simply amble down through the grassy bank and past the Gunnera manicata from Brazil, planted as a massive group where one can walk beneath the canopy and shelter from the rain. Not required today thank you.


The Water Gardens

Crossing the stream over boardwalks, further steps lead up towards the moorland walk, but we didn’t have time for this today as we wanted to head down the peninsula to Logan Garden, so we headed into the rather boggy area called the Arena Garden, where we found another lochan, a peaceful figure and a colourful and noisy friend.


Peaceful place to relax and meditate

Exiting the rather boggy Arena Garden we continued around the smaller pond, stopping to read the notice about the Dog grave, before wandering over the link between the two ponds to find a Japanese bridge.



A last look at the pond and its reflections, then lunch in the tea-room, before heading south.


Glenwhan Garden is a plantswoman’s garden for all seasons. It  is a peaceful haven with seats placed at strategic viewpoints and paths meandering through the woodland and rock garden with something new around every corner; statues and sculptures, rare plants, exotic shrubs and trees. The ponds are delightful and there is a variety of wildlife, ducks and peacocks, insects and even the chance to see red squirrels.


More lovely walks can be found over at my friend Jo’s place.

19 thoughts on “Garden Portrait: Glenwhan Gardens

  1. This post is a beauty. I’m intrigued by sub-tropical in such a location. I love the way you mix a collage / slide show with individual shots. Your prospects are as good as your close-ups: you really are a consummate garden photographer. The garden is so various: mossy statues, pathways, and that glorious pig with his cheeky tail.

    Lagoons (or lochans) and water-lilies will always remind me of Christine. Her presence is somehow in everything.

    • Thank you for your lovely, kind comments Meg. This is a very tranquil garden; the statues are an added bonus and I felt a huge sense of peace here. Not many people around either so I could pretend for a short while that it was all mine 😀

  2. This is a staggeringly lovely post, Jude! As Meg says, your mix of galleries and individuals is what I aspire to 🙂 Love the chile lantern tree and all the beautifully weathered statuary. Especially that ‘curled up’ girl and the last one.
    We only managed Logan, and a visit to the island of Gigha (or was that from Arran? Not sure now, but it was lovely). Is this area a serious contender, house-wise? It does have some lovely gardens not too far away. 🙂

    Many thanks for joining in and sharing, Jude. It’s a beauty!

    • So glad you enjoyed it Jo. I love the curled up girl hiding in the cabbage skunk too and the meditating character by the small pond. Such a peaceful garden. I will be posting Logan next week.

      Could I live ‘up north’ again? Maybe…

    • Well this is a long way from where I live so I won’t be going there very often. Fortunately there are loads of gardens in Britain, so yes, I guess from my point of view it is heavenly 🙂

  3. What wonderful photography. You have the gift of drawing in ever closer to the details and then opening back out……that curled up girl statue is so beautifully caught in the soft green filtered light…..and are you allowed to swim in that loch with the changing room and diving board? That would be heavenly swimming amongst all that green 🙂

  4. I’m such a lazy reader ! – obviously never perusing everything on even my favourite blog-sites … Never mind, it’s never too late.

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