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Flower power to transform Wester Ross train station as Attadale Gardens and ScotRail agree meadow plan


By Alasdair Fraser

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Attadale Station flowers, thriving despite Covid-19 imposed neglect
Attadale Station flowers, thriving despite Covid-19 imposed neglect

A TOUCH of flower power is set to bring a blaze of colour to a Wester Ross train station from next year.

Owners of the renowned Attadale Gardens have struck an agreement with ScotRail to seed a small wildflower meadow beside the platform of the nearby rail stop.

About four years ago, ScotRail began offering a modest amount of cash to enable locals to keep the stations looking attractive for train travellers.

Attadale Gardens was perfectly placed to spruce up their nearby stop with potted plants.

“A wildflower meadow behind the station will be lovely. It is full of wild primroses anyway, so it will be lovely to have other wildflowers there which should flourish." - Joanna Macpherson

During the Covid-19 lockdown, though, strict guidelines from the rail company prevented them from tending the beautiful tubs of flowers situated beside the small station building.

The plants thrived anyway, despite the enforced neglect, just as many parts of the country have witnessed wildflower blooms during lockdown.

Attadale Gardens director Joanna Macpherson will now look to nature to play its part in improving the Kyle line station setting further.

Some time ago, she contacted ScotRail to ask if land beside an unsightly metal electrical box could be made more attractive by cultivating a small wildflower garden.

The train company has now agreed.

“It will be too late for this year, but they’ve finally given us permission,” Ms Macpherson said.

“A wildflower meadow behind the station will be lovely. It is full of wild primroses anyway, so it will be lovely to have other wildflowers there which should flourish.

“There will be nothing to show until spring, but we’re really pleased.

“We couldn’t tend the existing plants as usual at the station recently, but they did very well without us!”

Attadale Gardens re-opened to the public on Wednesday last week.

The sunken garden at Attadale Gardens
The sunken garden at Attadale Gardens

“It was fantastic to see local families and familiar faces taking the chance to visit again after so long,” she said.

“There is lots of sculpture - more than 20 - for children to hunt out and they love running about and ticking them off the list for a small prize.

“It has mainly been locals so far, but also some visitors from places like Aberdeen-shire and elsewhere in Scotland.”

Ms Macpherson is the daughter of the gardens’ creator Nicky Macpherson who passed away in 2018.

She has noted how red squirrels and different breeds of bird have become bolder and more visible around Attadale since lockdown and hopes visitors will be able to enjoy sightings in coming weeks and months.

One unexpected upside of lockdown has been extra time for her and her family to work themselves in the gardens, with more restoration in the absence of the public.

“The sunken garden and Japanese garden have had more attention than they would have had normally – and they’re looking fantastic,” she added.

As yet, unfortunately, the gardens café remains closed, but staff can direct visitors to a nearby alternative.

More news from Ross-shire


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