Glencanisp Lodge was built around 1849 so it is fair to assume that the Walled Garden was built at the same time using lime mortar and the local Lewisian Gneiss giving it its grey and blue colour. The cottage behind the lodge is known as Gardener’s Cottage. It would be wonderful if anybody happened to have an old photograph of the garden in the days of full production.
There have been various attempts to make a go of using the garden since the purchase in 2005 including keeping pigs – all voluntary with varying degrees of success. However, people come and go and it had become overgrown. In April 2018 funds were awarded from Keep Scotland Beautiful through the Climate Challenge Fund. A professional Project Manager/Gardener was appointed for two years and work began. The soil had to be cleared in places and the drainage renewed. This revealed hard bedrock and much time was spent trying to get the polytunnel up in a suitable place before plants could be grown there.
The original fruit bushes have been retained and are now in a smart new fruit pen using timber from the policy woods. Many different species of fruit tree have been planted inside and outside the garden, some by the school children beside the Nature Trail (funded by Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape). We have five main volunteers attending their leased plots with several others interested in using the space. Lochinver Primary School is going to have their own corner of the garden which will go ahead after Lockdown restrictions are lifted. Cowan Plant laid out new paths and they are surfaced for all to use. Do please come and have a walk around.
A herbaceous border has been laid out at the top end with new roses planted this year (2020). They will be trained to cover the walls. One wall has a large gap. While some of the funds required have been awarded, we are still seeking the rest to enable a professional repair and lime mortar training course to go ahead. While engagement with the community has been limited due to Covid-19 local folk have been bringing cardboard and old carpets to help with weed suppression until plotters are able to cultivate the whole garden.
Many original azaleas continue to flower beside the Lodge in May and June. It is hoped that when the new garden gate is installed, the wall repaired and new areas strimmed that the garden, orchard and Lodge surrounds will make an interesting visit for everybody. Produce is available from time to time in the Honesty Shop.