Garden Exercise

Gardening had always been a necessary chore until I came to Powdermills. That’s not strictly correct; I’ve always been obsessed with a neatly cut lawn. That goes back to my love of cricket. But in the past, I was stressing over a 15m by 15m stretch of grass and patrolling to stop the Boxers trashing the grass with glee. It’s a joke in the family – what’s Dad doing? – cutting the grass.

And here in Argyll, my life in the summer can revolve around cutting the grass endlessly. It was only last year that I bought an expensive tractor lawn mower which has reduced the time on mowing. In addition, it lets me sit on my tractor with my earphones in, listening to a podcast or a book from Audible. It’s a special time for me, a space to ponder and inhale the words. And the other benefit is the gardens look great for our guests.

However, the Powdermills grounds have developed my interest in flora and fauna. I’m indebted to the previous owners, Linda and Andi Henderson, who planted the gardens with such exotic variety. From Eucalyptus to Chilean Fire Tree, to an avenue of yellow Laburnums, to the replanting of three hundred oaks on the hillside, the indigenous trees of the ancient forests of Scotland.

Sue and I view our role as custodians of the gardens. We try to maintain cut grass paths so they can be enjoyed but leave the rest of the property wild, like our bog, which will have four-meter-high grasses by July. But in May, the garden is stunning; everything is blooming and full of colours. This is my favourite time, especially the next two weeks when all our purple Rhododendrons will flower. The birds will soon start to fledge, and the busy noises of bees, wasps, young foxes, barn owls, and cuckoos will accompany life. If you stop and listen, there’s a reward.

Nonetheless, there has been hard physical work to be completed over the last week, cutting away dead trees and re-establishing a border and a fence with our neighbour, who has a stunning array of rhododendrons. It’s been satisfying, clearing and tidying

If and when you visit, take the time to walk around, experience the old industrial ruins of the gunpowder mill, rest for a moment on the Boxer memorial bench and breathe in the vista of Loch Fyne.

You won’t be disappointed, it’s worth the time, enjoy the tranquility.