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Larachmhor is a remarkable Woodland Garden of unique character in the western Highlands of Scotland.
Founded as a haven for exotic plantings – especially his beloved rhododendrons, by John Holms in 1927, it boasts an extravagant collection of over 150 species of these dramatic shrubs.
The garden was established in a protected bowl of fertile ground barely a mile from the sea just outside Arisaig, Nineteenth century woodland plantings and bands of sheltering conifers, particularly western hemlocks are complemented by extensive semi natural woodland of oak, birch and alder, with extensive old beeches. This setting provided superb shelter for the development of Holms divers plant collections, which were garnered not only form nurseries and fellow landowners, but also direct from some of the great Sino-Himalayan plant hunters the last century. These traditions have been sustained and enhanced in the latter year fo the 20th and into the 21st century, thanks to the efforts of the Larachmhor Garden Association, a group of diverse volunteer specialists linked to the Royal Botanic garden Edinburgh, who for 50 years have worked to sustain partially tame the encroaching wilderness, but also to reinforce the exotic character with hundreds of new wild origin specimens form their ongoing explorations across the temperate regions of the globe.
A special part of the Arisaig Estates, Larachmhor is a private garden, but welcomes responsible visitors to enjoy its exquisite wild character and fabulous specimen trees and shrubs.
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Larachmhor sits just outside and to the east Arisaig village, nestling beneath an encircling arc of both the Road to the Isles (the recently upgraded A830, whose works added some 5 acres to the garden ground) and the fabled West Highland Railway Line (also of Harry Potter steam train fame), on their routes from Fort William to Mallaig. Barely a mile from the sea, it enjoys the benefits of the Gulf Stream and witnesses much of the wilder west coast weather being drawn past it to the Mountains that lie a few miles further east. This balmy, well-sheltered and irrigated location is cloaked in semi-natural woodland, dominated by native birch and alder and mature planted beech, especially across the rugged ground that rises on three sides of the site. Extensive phalanxes of protective conifers (mostly hemlocks) provide additional protection sheltering the low, largely flat portions of ground in the fertile valley floor.
A number of burns ripple off the hillside, including the Larachmhor Burn, with its overarching vegetation that is a feature of the heart of the Garden. Within this shelter a fabulous collection of flowering trees and shrubs, especially some 150 species of rhododendrons, flourish and attain dramatic (true rose-tree) stature.
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the garden's story
The Garden forms part of the Rhu estate, that once stretched form Lochailort in the east to Morar in the West, and still includes the village of Arisaig and the beautiful, but rugged Rhu peninsula, with its farming, fish farming and partial afforestation.
If you have any questions about the garden, our work and future projects.