National Geographic : 1954 May
647 Author and Hosts Enjoy a Spring Picnic at Cladyhouse near Loch Ryan The accompanying story of Scotland's world-famous gardens came about through the hospitality of Admiral Sir Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton, who entertained author Boyer and photographer Stewart and guided them about the rhododendron coast. Cladyhouse is the Admiral's home. Since the photograph was made, he has become Laird of Bargany, to which he recently fell heir on the death of his brother (page 656). Here Mr. Boyer (in sweater) listens while the Admiral with his wife and daughter Christian reminisce about their years in Washington, D. C., after World War II. smooth as a bowling green. Today's austerity, to which the last war and postwar restric tions and taxes have accustomed landowners, prevents maintenance of the gardens in their former state of meticulous perfection. But austerity does not extend to the love and care lavished upon the flowers themselves. We found Lady Stair, in heavy tweed skirt, out cultivating her flower garden at the side of the new 19th-century Lochinch Castle fronting on the broad vista of the lake (page 648). Together the Stairs often lead a party of garden lovers through the groves and avenues a mile distant at the far end of the lakes. Since 1920 they have constantly added new varieties of rhododendrons and other shrubs and flowers to their gardens. Tony and I caught some of their contagious excitement as they prepared for the annual rhododendron show of the Royal Horticul tural Society. With head gardener Robert William Rye (page 645) they visited every section of the garden, selecting blooms for competition. Over one choice specimen Lady Stair stopped to adjust an umbrella (opposite). This incongruous shelter guards the blooms against damage by rain and sun until the great day of picking and crating, when Lord and Lady Stair and Mr. Rye escort the entries in person on the overnight express to London. Rain, wind, and sun are not the only sabo teurs, however, which imperil the winning of blue ribbons. Roe deer attack rhododendron bark and leaves. Rabbits sometimes destroy the bark and are a real menace to softer things like seedlings.