Friday, 1 May 2015

So far and yet so near

This week we fulfilled a long time ambition to see Derek Jarman's beach garden and the unique landscape of Dungeness. It was a journey seeking inspiration from the remotest corner of Southern England and the artistic genius of Jarman to take back to our garden on Islay. 

So what will we transplant from southern shingle to the windswept and salt lashed garden at Rowan Cottage?

1.   See the beauty in your own backyard - from washed up relics to inspirational garden 
      installations, gardens are so much more than plants. 

2. Stay low to grow - so many of our favourite plants have had their heads blown off, or       never even managed to get a head start, so stay low in windswept environments, or at least until our shelter belt has grown. 

So we return home full of inspiration and plans to spend time combing the beaches of Islay when we are next up in June and see where we can use Jarman's inspiration to create our own style beach garden. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Why come to Islay in June?

Whilst the eyes of the world turn to Brazil for the worlds greatest football event devotees of beach rugby make their annual pilgrimage to Port Ellen for Islay's greatest sporting event.

Brazil may boast Copacabana beach but for the ultimate chill out experience the deserted beaches of Islay are second to none. They play host to nesting terns and colourful oyster catchers, so come and get a beach of your own.
The vibrant colours are easily surpassed by the greens & golds of Islay. Verdent verges and golden sunshine. The verges are peaking in June with a riot of pinks, reds & purples all hues of native wild orchids and ragged robin. 

Forget the rhythms of  Samba because natures symphony is even better! 

I sign off from Machir Bay at 10.07pm, still waiting for the sun to set.

So why wouldn't you want to come to Islay in June?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A whisky lovers dream venue for a wedding ...

on the malting floor of Ardbeg distillery. 

I recently spent an afternoon with Mom on the malting floor at Ardbeg distillery measuring up for flowers for a wedding being held in April. The space will be transformed with a walkway of barrels adorned with flowers.

The ceremony will take place over the barrels then festivities follow in the visitors centre

i think the bottles may be removed! but flowers will take their place.

A busy morning followed by an afternoon of gardening back at Rowan Cottage, then to relax in front of a film, but look what i missed ...
The Aurora over Saligo Bay. Still kicking myself that i had the curtains closed.  

Friday, 7 June 2013

Garden moves

The garden has lots of colour now but the yellow poppies are taking centre stage, with their cheery blooms .. 

although we are so pleased with the gravel bed we created last year, it is full of colour and the sedums have started to self seed, so very soon we will have enough plants for the next stage of the garden, which will be the beach garden which we hope to start later this year.

Thanks to Kenny who built us a sort of fence come screen last month and now we are able to put the finishing touches to it with the addition of rope.  It is not to be mistaken for an adventure playground though, as the rope definitely wont take the weight of cheeky monkeys.

We hope you enjoy spending time in the garden when you are at the cottage, we managed to eat our breakfast and lunch outside most days.  The evenings were spent sipping a glass of wine on the bench by the pond, but make sure you do have your midge spray on!!


Blue has dominated the trip to Islay this June. Blue skies, Blue seas and Bluebells.

woodland walk - Loch Gruinart

the scent of coconut from the gorse is overwhelming

With temperatures soaring into the 20's, blue skies and white sands and the heady scent of the gorse have given the island a slightly tropical look and smell this June.

Walks on the Big Strand have been dominated by a very unusual sight. A dead sperm whale has been washed up on the beach and we read that a sperm whale had been sighted in Oban, again very unusual, but the article said that whales do come in closer to the land when they are unwell. So I wonder if it is the same whale. You can read more here   

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Carpets of Snowdrops
The storms and bad weather that has effected ferries sailing to Islay has not deterred the snowdrops from making an appearance in Bridgend woods. They are carpeted with the first flowers of the year and are a truly welcome sight.

 Back from a walk in the woods and on to finishing another path in the garden at Rowan Cottage. During a welcome break from path laying the sky caught my eye, the shafts of light seemed to create golden pools of light on the loch.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Next step in the garden at Rowan

Work got underway in the next  stage of developing the grounds at Rowan Cottage this week.   

We look forward to sharing photos of the next phase of the garden development next year.