CLAYMODDIE has been described as “the most romantic garden” in this part of Scotland and, despite the endless process of development necessary to keep any garden fresh and interesting, has an air of timelessness and intimacy.

The garden was started from nothing by Robin Nicholson in 1970 on a woodland site. The mature trees now provide the backdrop to a magical garden design which owes nothing to concrete or stainless steel but much to a natural instinct for imaginative landscaping and a wide range of well-placed favourites and exotica.

Like all gardens, it is an unfinished work, constantly expanding and developing — and always plants, plants, plants, each one placed with loving care to suit its particular requirements and setting. Each week brings a fresh abundance of delights and there is never a dull moment right throughout the year.

We face challenges familiar to those who garden in the south-westernmost part of Scotland — relentless winds and, being near the sea, searing salt blown in on south-westerly gales. Shelter is essential, and this has been provided by stone walls, steps and “follies”, and a variety of wind-hardy, tough but interesting trees and shrubs, arranged meticulously so as to retain the wonderful views seaward to the Isle of Man.