Just south of Oban lies the Sound of Jura. Overlooking the Sound is Arduaine Garden, which contains plants from around the world. Established in 1898, it was a time when people were becoming very interested in plants from other parts of the world. Here native plants mix with those from the tropics and Asia.
Tropical and southeast Asian plants in Scotland, you say??? How do they survive? The answer is the ocean. The Atlantic Ocean surrounds the UK. The western side especially creates a warmer climate in the UK than one would expect for being this high up the globe. The current responsible, the North Atlantic Drift, brings warm water from the Caribbean. This creates a mild climate on the western Scottish coast, allowing plants from warmer climates to grow here.
So what is at Arduaine Garden? Why should I go?
Arduaine Garden covers almost the entire peninsula it is on. It takes a long time to walk around the entirety of the gardens, which includes covered walks, lawns, forested areas and even coastal areas. There are two distinct parts of the garden: the lower garden and the upper garden.
The lower garden contains primarily flowering and smaller plants from around the world. You will find representatives from every continent and many countries here. This also includes ponds (and water plants), lawns and flower beds.
The upper garden is primarily forested. Even here ambassadorial plants from other countries take root. Whereas the plants in the lower garden are often of the small variety or kept small, the upper garden does not have this restriction. For example the smaller rhododendron bushes in the lower garden are dwarfed by much larger rhododendron trees in the upper garden.
For those who are interested, everything is tagged so you can see exactly what type of plant it is.
How can I get there?
The easiest way to get to the garden is to travel from Oban by car. There are also two bus lines that currently run to Arduaine Garden: the 23 and 423. The journey by bus takes about 35 minutes while by car is closer to 20. The bus company is West Coast Motors. Unfortunately due to its location there are no other transport options.
Arduaine Garden is open from the beginning of April to the end of September. Throughout this time you will see different plants flowering at different times, so there is no specific time that I would recommend during this period. Often August is rainy, so July is a good summer month to go if you want warm weather and as much sun as Scotland has to offer.
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