2014 Catalogue - Now Online

So our daughter Cat and her partner Brad are on The Falkland Islands…that is bringing back so many memories. Memories of the Camp, the wildlife and the vivid gardens full of sun loving annuals. 
The Falkland Islands were sunny, cool and windy too of course but I remember many, many sunny days. 
The new 2014 catalogue cover that Cat has done is great, showing three wonderful Falkland icons , Rockhopper Penguins, Islander planes and the Falkland island slipper plant Calceolaria fothergillii.

Our trips to New Zealand continue too, and so our love affair with the southern hemisphere goes on.
Back here On Loch Ness it has been an extraordinary mild winter. We have been spared much of the rain and storms that have plagued the south of England and Wales. It will be very interesting to see how things grow away, with so little check to their growth.

The February garden at Abriachan is a delight of snowdrops, snowflakes and the Daphne bholua sends a long trail of intoxicating scent along the pathways. The evergreens are slick and healthy and the flower buds on the Rhododendrons and Camellias are fat and full of promise, the soil is heaving with bulbs emerging as we move the leaf fall aside.
Spring is on the move.


View our 2014 Plant Catalogue Online
Download the 2014 Plant Catalogue

Weeds and Waistlines, Signs of Spring!

How can I be sure that this is spring?
It is warmer, yes. The beautiful but icy grip of the Scandinavian anticyclone is loosened.
It is dry, surprisingly so and distant hills have smoke patches every day as estates start the moor-burning season. It keeps the fire services busy and hopefully will be finished before the grouse and other ground nesters start to build.
No, the real reason I know is that my muscles ache and I have the oddest twinges. Such is age and a soft winter.
My waistline is definitely broader and after about 15 minutes of wheel barrow and lifting work, I am starting to think about the next tea break.
This last winter I suddenly decided after years of neglect, that my family needed cake. Well yes, I can still bake, but it will have to stop!
Definitely time to get out and stay out.
Spring also brings that restlessness that sees every messy corner and cobweb. A brisk walk around, shows up the leaves that have not been lifted, the jumble of pots in odd corners, and the grassed up areas you meant to deal with last July.
The corners no-one is supposed to see, where the dead pots lurk and the Jabberwocky jabbers
And look under the leaves of Epimediums or winter green ferns and there is my old friend ground elder and yes, the dandelions and bittercress have gained volume over this last week.
Overwhelmed and slightly panicky…it must be spring . The only defence is to lift your eyes and enjoy the hazel catkins, the first primroses and the wonderful snowdrops.
However, time to spring clean….If I can find the energy!


Winter Woodland Garden Walk

It is a wonderful day. The sky is a pale washed blue, still cold, but hopeful. With the encouragement of a little warmth, the bees are out today, cleaning out their hive and foraging for what nectar they can find.

Let’s walk up through the garden, Donald is working in the bed by the cemetery, which is one of a remarkable 14 beds that he and Hamish have renewed this winter. He is tidying round the entrance sign and digging in homemade compost to restore some of the fertility that years of growing has taken out. Now we are forming our ideas for these beds (A job I can only get them to concentrate on after supper). Renewal is always good for the soul.
Now up the steps, and looking over to the left is a very nice area of Galanthus atkinsii. It is doing well next to the wall; large  slender flowers, of good shape and substance, characterised by a prominent green horse-shoe mark on the petals.   

We now walk up the steps and past the Iris reticulata George. This is a  reliably perennial early iris, along with Katherine Hodgkin. Both are doing well in this well drained sunny bed.

 Crossing over we come to Galanthus plicatus on the corner and turn up the hill.

Climbing up one can stop and stare with frank admiration at the Witch Hazel, Hammemallis xintermedia  Pallida.  It is now a substantial and handsome shrub.
To the right is a small clump of Galanthus Desdemona, a fine double flowered form, best admired by lifting the flower to see the lovely doubling, just like petticoats.  Close by is the first Celandine I have seen this year. Celandines require sunlight to open, and hence are always a welcome sight in February.
On round past the Font Stone and there are more snowdrops under the shrubs. The first is Mighty Atom, with huge flowers, on short stems.  Nearby is Colossus, with its large flowers in tall stems, and Galatea, the 3 large petals resembling rotor blades.
Pause before you leave this are and smell the amazing Sarcocca flowers. This winter flowering evergreen shrub takes a while to settle and grow away, but is worth the waiting.

Now we climb the curving paths and up into the upper parts of the garden. The evergreen shrubs are glistening in the afternoon sun, the variegated hollies looking particularly fine. The Hellebores are sending up their new flowerbeds and will be fine sight soon.
Up past the willow basket planting of Galanthus Magnet, a fine, large flowered snowdrop variety and into areas where plantings of Galanthus nivalis, the common snowdrop are beginning to bulk up nicely and make an impact. Having visited old estate and castle gardens I realise it will take 100 years to attain those wonderful drifts of snowdrops on banks and stream side, but we have made a good start, and now, 10-15 years on they are looking well.
I am sure to have missed some varieties or forgotten to point out items of interest.

If you come this Sunday we will walk the garden together.

Late Winter Garden Walk
Sunday 24th February - 2pm
Join Margaret at Abriachan Garden Nursery for a late winter & snowdrop walk through the woodland garden with hellebores, early bulbs, iris, aconites, snowdrops, winter trees and shrubs.
Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the start of spring in the garden.
Tea and cake to follow
Adult = £5     RHS Member = £4     Children (Under 12) = Free
Please call to confirm attendance so we know how much cake we need (01463 861 232)
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