The beautiful weather continued to hold as our tour visited the garden known as “the Oasis of the North”, part of the National Trust for Scotland.
These gardens were the work of Osgood Mackenzie, beginning in the 1860’s when he inherited 50 acres of land on the coast of Loch Ewe, surrounded on 3 sides by the sea. The land was as rugged and rocky as most of the mountain areas in western Scotland, but he was determined to turn it into a garden showcasing all the kinds of plants that could be grown there. Keep in mind that at Inverewe Gardens we are at 57 degrees of latitude, equal to somewhere between St. Petersburg and Moscow, but with the advantage of the Gulf Stream and 200+ days of rain per year, there are palm trees growing here!!
The first order of business was planting a “Shelter Belt” of trees, including Corsican pines, resistant to salt water spray. Only after 20 years was the actual garden begun, behind newly erected tiered stone walls and those now mature trees.
Over the ensuing years through to the 1950’s, Osgood and his daughter Mairi continued to transform the barren landscape into lush gardens, with plants from all over the world. We only had 90 minutes to walk around, but were amazed by what we saw.