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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.