Winning over the weed…


Last weekend a group of Cowal gardeners was treated to a horticultural masterclass courtesy of Glenfinart Walled Garden’s resident gardener, Glyn Toplis. The hands-on classes are part of the garden’s ‘drop-in’ days organised by Ardentinny Community Trust to encourage Cowal residents and visitors to participate in its community garden.

Glyn, with his extensive horticultural experience of some 30 years, offered a very useful and entertaining insight into the world of weeds and their control. Walking around the garden, Glyn provided the group with tips on the best ways of eradicating specific weeds whilst considering both the weed above ground and the root system below. He also illustrated how certain plants can be weakened by the weed.

Asked about the composting of weeds, Glyn gave an outline as to which could be composted successfully. He also showed the group samples of plants in and around the walled garden which would have originally been ornamental plants, but now, due to their wild profusion, have become a garden nuisance.

The theme of the next Masterclass at the Walled Garden is ‘Summer Flowering Plants’ on Saturday 14 June at 2pm. Entry is free and everyone is welcome.

Glenfinart Walled Garden is open daily noon until 4pm. Visitors and volunteers are most welcome. Entry is free. Location map here.

Roof blaze at Ardentinny Hotel (Updated)

Update: Video footage added above.

The roof of the recently renovated residence of Ardentinny Hotel was set alight tonight by what appeared to be a lightning strike, creating a huge plume of smoke over Loch Long. Fortunately the building was unoccupied at the time.

A neighbour to the property said he heard a huge bang and his TV suddenly went off. He rushed out of the house and saw smoke and flames coming from the hotel roof. By then the alarm had been raised and firefighters from Scottish Fire and Rescue Dunoon station and Police arrived within 20 minutes to find a section of the roof well alight.

Fortunately the Fire Service was able to bring the blaze quickly under control with two tenders and an additional appliance from Strachur. The road through Ardentinny has remained closed since the incident.

Part of the hotel roof well alight.
Plumes of smoke billow from the hotel roof.



Hotel roof from the beach.




The blaze was quickly brought under control.
The scene just before midnight tonight.
The scene just before midnight tonight.

Video footage to follow.


1943: HMS Armadillo group Glenfinart House

We are again indebted to Griffin Turton who has provided us with the following photograph taken in 1943 in front of Glenfinart House (HMS Armadillo) which was at the time the RN HQ.

The picture was taken whilst ‘N’ or ‘Nan’ RN Beach Commando were at HMS Armadillo in early 1943 and shows from left to right Sub/Lt ‘Jumbo’ Jarvis RNVR; Sub/Lt Alec Varley RNVR, both ABMs (Assistant Beach Masters) in N2 section; Lt Dougall MacArthur RNVR who had been an ABM with G2 in North Africa where he was wounded; Lt Maurice Vernon Redshaw RNVR, BM of N2, an unknown WREN Officer and Sub/Lt Brian Wallace RNVR, ABM N3.

Related link:
The Royal Naval Commandos 1942-45 History Group.

Photo courtesy: M. Baird (Brian Wallace’s stepson).

Consultancy Opportunity

Ardentinny Community Trust are looking for a consultant. Details are as follows –

Consultancy Requirement:
Ardentinny Community Trust, Glenfinart Walled Garden, a B Listed Building.

– A Costed Repair Scheme and Conservation Plan
– A Business Plan
£13,000 all inclusive. 4 months July to October 2014

a) Develop a costed repair scheme with a Conservation Plan for the wall and structures.
This part of the project will appoint a design team, with relevant conservation experience. With a condition survey of the Walled Garden they will develop a costed repair scheme, seeking statutory consents where required. The team will also consult with Historic Scotland to produce a detailed Conservation Plan for the site.

b) Develop a detailed Business Plan.
The project will resource a team of suitably experienced consultants, to work closely with the Trust to revise a detailed 3 year Business Plan specifically for the Walled Garden site.
The team will identify capital funding to secure the Walled Garden and enable management of the site in the longer term.

For Information please email Lynn Kerr, Secretary, Ardentinny Community Trust or call 01369 810275
Closing date Friday 6th June 2014.


Embracing green skills at Walled Garden drop-in days

Glenfinart Walled Garden – A great day out for all the family.

Later this month Glenfinart Walled Garden’s resident gardener Glyn Toplis begins a series of horticultural masterclasses for aspiring walled garden volunteers and visitors alike. The topic of the first session, which takes place on Saturday May 24th at 2pm, is ‘Weeds and Weed Control’. This will be followed in June with a masterclass on ‘Summer Flowering Plants’.

Glyn, a graduate in ecology from the University of Lancaster, has some 30 years’ experience in horticulture. Initially running garden centres and nurseries, he later spent 9 years at Westonbirt, England’s National Arboretum.

For the past 12 years Glyn was Garden and Nursery Manager at Ardkinglas Estate, Argyll. Now, in addition to his 3 days a week at Glenfinart Walled Garden, Glyn also works 2 days a week at The National Trust for Scotland’s Crarae Gardens, Minard.

Ardentinny Community Trust is keen to encourage those with an interest in gardening and the outdoors to come along to learn a new green skill and to help out at the garden. Maybe you’d like to volunteer, but consider yourself a novice in all things horticultural? Don’t worry, Glyn and the other volunteers will be more than happy to offer practical, friendly help and advice.

Tasks can range from planting, strimming, hoeing and weeding to guiding visitors around the garden; encouraging the gardeners of tomorrow in the unique Children’s Garden; and even manning the garden’s display at local events such as the Blairmore Market.

Tea, coffee and Glenfinart’s famous home baking will be provided to all volunteers. The garden opens from 11am until 4pm on the day. So why not come along, bring the family and learn a new skill in a beautiful, tranquil setting!

For more information contact Lynn on 01369 810275 or Jimmy on 01369 810170, or simply pop in on Saturday May 24th.