The walled garden at Ardmaddy is shielded to the north by mature woodlands and protected from the Atlantic winds by the elevated Castle to the south. The garden is approached over an old arched footbridge over a burn finding its final path to the sea. The garden was formed on the site of the barracks dating back to the 1745 Rebellion. From 1940 to 1960 it was run as a market garden and from then, a rhododendron enthusiast grew and hybridized a huge variety of rhododendrons. From 1980 to the present day, Minette Struthers has developed the walled garden to its present state, and beyond into the woodland and the water gardens.
Today, a fine collection of species and hybrid rhododendrons, azaleas and climbing plants line the walls along with a continually rising variety of shrubs and herbaceous perennials. Between dwarf box hedges thrives a wide range of interesting and sometimes unusual vegetables and cane fruits which are grown using a variety of ingenious labour-saving methods.
There is a beautifully kept lawn in the midst of the garden and a bench where you can sit and enjoy the tranquillity of the place. The garden is ever evolving and recent additions include the “clock garden” with its collection of cutting flowers, and various stone and water features. The Water Garden, too, is fairly new in the grand scheme of things, and is another glorious place to sit amongst a riot of candelabra primulas, irises, rodgersias and other damp loving plants and grasses.
The woodland walks meander alongside the burn before climbing further into the trees. Along the way, depending on the time of year, you may find snowdrops, swathes of wild garlic, carpets of bluebells, primroses, pink campion, some enormous rhododendrons more than half a century old, foxgloves and so much more. On the burn, look out for the busy little dipper, and up in the trees you might be lucky enough to see a red squirrel. Autumn brings exceptional colour and even in winter there is plenty of interest in the shapes and variety of the trees, and the birds and other wildlife that live there.
A wide variety of plants, seasonal vegetables and berries are available for sale throughout the year.