Cally Gardens

Cally Gardens is secret walled garden in Scotland packed with rare plants from around the world.

This is such a wonderful secret garden, full of treasure and beauty. It’s remote and hard to find – in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, but the drive there is worth it if you want to be utterly absorbed by a secret plantsman’s paradise for several hours.

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The walled kitchen garden was built in the 1770s for Cally House, which is near Gatehouse of Fleet. Originally it had heated walls, glasshouses and a team of gardeners growing exotic fruit and vegetables to supply the house.

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But, as with so many walled kitchen gardens in the UK, after the First World War, the garden fell out of use, becoming a tree nursery for the Forestry Commission and then a floristry garden.

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In 1987 Michael Wickenden bought the gardens, and restored them to become a home for his plant finds from across the world. And my goodness, those plants!

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It is rare that I visit a garden and find many plants that I simply do not recognise. But Cally is choc-full of these flowers, and Michael patiently goes through my photographs of this rare flower and that rare climber, telling me where he found them and how to grow them.

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There are over 4,000 perennials growing in the garden now, including a collection of hellebores, species peonies, meconopsis, geranium, crocosmia, agapanthus and kniphofia. If you are a plantsman, you will love this plot.

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But it is so pretty and peaceful and intriguing that my non-gardening pal who I dragged along loved it too. And you won’t leave without buying something.

More information on the Cally Gardens website.

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from Fennel and Fern


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