Amble through Ascog Hall Fernery and Garden
The extensive grounds that are open to the public to explore and the magnificence of the plants that are featured here usually spellbind visitors to Ascog Hall Fernery, or Ascog Hall Victorian Fernery. Ascog Hall Fernery is located on the island of Bute, which can easily be reached from Edinburgh or Glasgow, and is most certainly one of the most beautiful natural tourist attractions in Scotland.
Ascog Victorian Hall was once the home of Reverend James Monteith, who constructed Ascog Hall in the year 1844. By 1856, the estate was purchased by Robertson Buchanan Steward, who was believed to have been a descendant from the Stewarts of Ascog. During his time as owner of Ascog Hall, Stewart added a coach house and stables to the property, as well as the fernery. Alexander Bannatyne Stewart, Robertson Stewart’s son, commissioned Edward La Trobe Bateman to landscape the estate gardens. As with so many historical buildings, ownership of the estate changed hands a few times, it even became a hotel at one stage and was abandoned before the outbreak of World War II. During the war, the army used the estate for training exercises, and vandalized and destroyed most of the buildings and gardens.
Fortunately, in 1986, the present owners of Ascog Hall Victorian Fernery were able to see its potential. They managed to look past the overgrown ivy, the ruins of the house and the forest that had taken over the garden. The sunken Victorian fernery was discovered in terrible condition. An article in the 1897 Gardeners Chronicle listed an inventory of ferns, which enabled the owners to approach the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh to assist in replanting the original ferns. The entire fernery was restored to its exact original state and won first prize from the Historic Gardens Foundation in 2001. To replant and restore the garden, the owners used old photographs as reference. The gardens are now an array of primulas, azaleas, blue poppies, hostas, irises, roses, catmint and euphorbias, against the backdrop of massive sycamores and ash trees.
The house is not open to the public, but visitors are welcome to stroll through the gardens and fernery from Easter to October. Ascog Hall Fernery is open all week, and is a wonderful tourist attraction where visitors are able to experience a touch of history in one of Scotland’s many beautiful locations.