Walled Garden patron Sophie is Celebrity MasterChef

Finalists Charley Boorman & Jodie Kidd with Sophie Thompson

Finalists Charley Boorman & Jodie Kidd with Sophie Thompson

Beating 20 celebrity contestants for the Celebrity MasterChef trophy, Glenfinart Walled Garden patron, Sophie Thompson triumphed in the gruelling 6-week BBC contest.

Judge John Torode praised Sophie’s culinary creations for being “Original, exciting and daring”. Fellow judge Gregg Wallace said “Sophie’s food is very much like her, it’s original, it’s individual, it has a style, it’s different. She creates some absolute delights on a plate, they look like little stories to me; they just look amazing.”.

Sophie beat off other finalists Charley Boorman and Jodie Kidd.

"Original, individual and with style" - One of Sophie's MasterChef dishes

“Original, individual and with style” – One of Sophie’s MasterChef dishes

Celebrity MasterChef is available on the BBC iPlayer until 25 July.


Busy week for Walled Garden team

Glenfinart Walled Garden was host to Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Community Partnership last Thursday when its new Directors and Staff enjoyed a familiarisation visit to this Ardentinny, community-based project. Their visit comprised a guided tour, some welcome tea and home baking and the all-important expansion of the garden’s & Partnership’s ‘network’.

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Walled Garden produce on sale at Blairmore market.

Lynn at the Burgh Hall event.

Lynn at the Burgh Hall event.

On Saturday members of the Trust manned the Glenfinart Walled Garden stall at neighbouring Blairmore Village’s Local Produce Market. Sale of the garden’s produce netted £115.50 in addition to much-appreciated donations. At the same time, Trust Secretary, Lynn Kerr represented the garden at Dunoon Burgh Hall’s Community Fair. Another excellent networking event!

Glenfinart Walled Garden is open daily from 12-4 p.m. Admission is free and all are welcome.


Volunteers triumph over midge invasion

It was a case of fighting off the midges at Saturday’s Volunteer Drop-in event at Glenfinart Walled Garden. Fortunately the volunteers from Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, as well as those from the community, came well prepared with midge nets, ample supplies of Skin So Soft and other magic potions to keep the midges at bay.

After making an excellent job of weeding the central ‘tump’ area, the group were able to pick the brains of resident green-fingered maestro Glyn Toplis during his monthly masterclass. This month’s topic was ‘Summer Flowering Plants’. To round off the day, Ardentinny Community Trust provided the usual excellent home baking and refreshments for the volunteers.

Next month’s Volunteer and Training Day is on July 12. Glyn’s masterclass is on ‘Understanding Plant Names’ and begins at 2pm (garden open from 11am).

Glenfinart Walled Garden is open 7 days a week from 12.00 – 16.00hrs. Admission is free. The garden also now has plants and vegetables  for sale. For more information contact Jimmy Gordon on 01369 810170 or Lynn Kerr on 01369 810275 or email info@glenfinartgarden.org. 

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Glenfinart Walled Garden Newsletter #9 May 2014

Glenfinart Walled Garden Newsletter #9 May 2014 (PDF)


Amy gets the weeds under control


Young Amy Torbet was recently presented with a training certificate for her participation in the “Weeds and Weed Control” Masterclass at Glenfinart Walled Garden by resident gardener Glyn Toplis. Green-fingered Amy is the daughter of popular Dunoon Community Radio presenter Sarah Torbet.

The next Masterclass topic is “Summer Flowering Plants” and takes place during the Volunteer, Training and Drop-in day at the garden on Saturday 14 June at 2pm. The garden will be open from 11am – 4pm. The Masterclasses are free.

Glenfinart Walled Garden is open every day of the week from noon until 4pm. Entry is free. For directions simply follow the green signs when entering Ardentinny.


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.

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.


Eggsquisite Glenfinart Garden opens in style

Glenfinart Walled Garden looked stunning over the Easter weekend as Ardentinny Community Trust volunteers welcomed many visitors. The season opening of the garden was part of Forestry Commission Scotland’s ‘Easter Eggstravaganza’ at Glenfinart Bay, Ardentinny.

Throughout the afternoon the garden was bathed in bright sunshine with families taking full advantage of the weather and the beautiful surroundings. Hundreds of daffodils and tulips lined the path into the garden which continued with beautiful swathes of yellow in the orchard.

The volunteers have worked wonders over the past few months. Despite the storms which flooded much of the garden in January, paths have been surfaced; the production beds edged; and lots of plants are now being ‘brought on’ in the polytunnel.

The innovative Children’s Garden has been transformed with lots of planting. Flower and veg beds (with headboards and duvets) have been established and a new conical ‘tipi’, made from branches, will act as a structure for growing nasturtium and other flowers. ‘Elfin Cottage’, the ever popular kids’ hideaway, proved a hit with the younger visitors who also enjoyed planting up and taking away their own sunflowers when they were not painting Easter bunnies in the cabin.

For the more senior visitor there were healthy, organic plants for sale; the most delicious home baking to take away or wash down at the tea tent; and a stroll or a seat in one of the most tranquil and attractive spots on the Cowal peninsula.

Glenfinart Walled Garden is open 7 days a week from 12.00 – 16.00hrs. Admission is free.


National Park volunteers dig in at Walled Garden

John, Ian, Roy and Glyn get down and dirty

John, Ian, Roy and Glyn get down and dirty

Preparing for the season opening of Glenfinart Walled Garden on Monday, volunteers from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park were hard at work “doing the weeding” this past week. Thanks go to John, Ian and Roy who were assisted by resident gardener Glyn.

Also on hand was children’s garden creator, Claire and her son Finlay (11) as well as Michael, Chloe (8) and Rebecca (11) from Dunoon and Grace, who brought along Gabriella (7) to help with the weeding in the Kid’s area.,

All the volunteers were rewarded with a feast of Glenfinart Garden’s now famous, home-baking ( as sampled by the stars of Beechgrove!).. pancakes, victoria sponge, fruit loaf and Mars Bar crispies!

Thank you all.

Glenfinart Walled Garden is open from Monday 21 April, 7 days a week from 12.00 – 16.00hrs. Admission is free.

Anna and Grace.. never short of a weed or two

Anna and Grace.. never short of a weed or two


Walled Garden reopens with Eggstravaganza


Glenfinart Walled Garden reopens for the new season this Easter Monday. The garden will feature a range of activities for all the family, adding to the fun of the Forestry Commission Scotland’s Easter Eggstravaganza at Glenfinart Bay, Ardentinny. A selection of home-baking will be available as well as fun and games for the young ones in the Children’s Garden.

The garden is open 7 days a week, 12.00 – 16.00hrs until 29 September.


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