Achamore Gardens Development

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April 2020

Following a nationwide search for a new Head Gardener, the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust appointed Bryony White who has now started work on Gigha. Taking stock after moving to Gigha and having been in post for 4 weeks Bryony said:

‘It’s been a really exciting time for myself and my husband, Graham. Moving from Renfrewshire to Gigha just before the lockdown started, getting the house in order, starting a new job, discovering this beautiful island, and starting to make new friends – has all been daunting but very enjoyable. We have been made to feel really welcome on the island.  Everyone is really interested in what is happening in the Gardens, even though they remain closed for the time being.

I come from a background in managing and developing community gardens and before that was a Countryside Ranger. All skills that will stand me in good stead on Gigha.  There is so much going on the island which is very exciting for the future of the island and community.

My immediate priorities are:

Getting to know the Gardens. Achamore is already beginning to share its secrets, but there is a huge amount to discover over the coming year. I am working (remotely) with staff from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh to catalogue the plant collection which will help us understand what we have and decide what we need to prioritise in the coming years.

Helping the Walled Garden look as good as possible for when our visitors can return. Lots of pruning, weeding, and tidying required! There are some magnificent plants housed here, so I hope we can show them off in all their glory.

Creating a development plan for the whole garden, to give us something to aim for over the coming years and focus our restoration efforts where they are most needed. I am also coming up with some new ideas for areas of the garden, creating new paths and features.

And, of course, once lockdown is lifted, getting to meet the community and learn what they would like to see in the gardens. As a community owned resource, their input will be vital to Achamore’s restoration and future development.

Although the Gardens are closed, we are working hard to get them ready for whenever we can reopen and are really looking forward to welcoming old and new friends. We hope visitors will really notice a difference from all our work. We will be looking for volunteers to help us with different projects when we can safely do so - so please get in touch with the Trust Office if you think you might have time over the Summer to help.’

Thriving in Gigha’s warm microclimate, the 54 acres of Achamore Gardens hosts many notable and unusual plants and trees from around the world. To register your interest in volunteering, email gardens@gigha.org.uk

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