Inventory Garden & Designed Landscape


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
NX 09584 42546
209584, 542546

An internationally-renowned garden with a subtropical character – unique for the range of plants grown at this northern latitude. Tree ferns and palm trees flourish under the influence of the Gulf Stream in this 19th century walled garden and 20th century woodland garden.

Artistic Interest

Level of interest

The garden created by the McDouall brothers and its subsequent development as a Botanic Garden has outstanding value as a Work of Art.


Level of interest

The ruins of the Castle and the connection with the McDouall family gives the Botanic Garden high Historical value.


Level of interest

The fine plant collection at Logan Botanic Garden gives it outstanding Horticultural value.


Level of interest

The garden is the site of a category B listed feature and therefore has high Architectural value.


Level of interest
Not Assessed


Level of interest

The woodland canopy surrounding the garden provides a little Scenic value in the countryside. The Botanic Garden itself is screened from view from the surrounding area.

Nature Conservation

Level of interest

The flora in the Woodland Garden and the margins around the Bog Garden provide a little Nature Conservation interest.

Location and Setting

Logan Botanic Garden is situated off the B7065 some 14 miles (22.5km) south of Stranraer and 2 miles (3km) north of Port Logan. Formerly it was part of the garden of Logan House which is described in a separate report (q.v.). The Botanic Garden lies on the eastern side of the southern peninsula of the Rhinns of Galloway at about 100' (30.5m) above sea level. Luce Bay lies to the east and the garden is protected from the strong south-westerly winds blowing across the Irish Sea by woodland shelterbelts. These grow to the south and west of the garden on the sides of the low hills. These low hills form the backbone of the Rhinns which are surrounded on three sides by the sea. The climate is warm, affected by the Gulf Stream, and wet with an average annual rainfall of over 40" (1,000mm). The soils are slightly acid loam and, in a few areas, lighter loam with sand.

The surrounding land is used for dairy farming. From high points in the garden and the access road leading to it, there are extensive views across Luce Bay and south to the Isle of Man. Once within the garden the shelterbelts and garden walls screen the views from outside and the Botanic Garden itself is sheltered from view from the surrounding area.

Logan Botanic Garden consists of the walled garden and a small part of the woodland to the west and south of it. Recently the woodland area was extended by a further 10 acres (4ha). Originally the garden was bordered by the drive running from Logan House towards Port Logan but the Botanic Garden now uses a small area of parkland on the east side of the drive to site a larger car park and to extend the works area. The Botanic Garden extends to some 24 acres (10ha).

Site History

The walled garden was built before c.1860. The layout was remodelled in the 1920s and developed as a Botanic Garden from 1969. The garden divides into two separate areas: the garden enclosed within the walls, and the woodland garden on the west and south sides of the walled garden.

The Walled Garden was constructed as part of the designed landscape of Logan House which was laid out in the late 18th/early 19th century. Within its walls are the remains of the medieval Castle of Balzieland which has belonged to the McDouall family for the last 700 years. In the 1870s, James McDouall's wife, Agnes, began collecting plants. She inspired her sons, Kenneth and Douglas with the love of gardening. They continued throughout their lives to collect plants from all over the temperate world and to grow them at Logan. They also received material from many of the plant hunting expeditions of the 1920s and 1930s, especially those of George Forrest and Earnest Wilson who collected in West China, Frank Kingdon Ward who explored the Himalayas and Tibet, and Harold Comber who collected in Tasmania, Chile and Patagonia.

Kenneth McDouall died in 1945 and the estate was inherited by a cousin, Sir Ninian Buchan-Hepburn. In 1949, the house and garden were acquired by Mr Olaf Hambro. After Mr Hambro's death, the house and gardens were run by a trust which, in 1969, gifted the garden and surrounding woodland to the Secretary of State for Scotland as an annexe for the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Shortly afterwards, Sir Ninian Buchan-Hepburn bought back Logan House and its surrounding garden.

Under the guidance of the Royal Botanic Garden, the garden has developed its plant collection and increased the number of species grown. The gardens specialize in growing plants from the Southern Hemisphere, particularly collections of Olearias, Tree Ferns, and Cordylines, and recently collected species from Southern Africa and the Canary Isles. The severe frosts of recent winters have damaged some of the plants particularly the magnificent cabbage palms, Cordyline australis.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

The Garden Walls including the ruins of the Old Castle of Balzieland are listed category B. The Gardener's Cottage has been renovated and is the assistant curator's home. The Bothy and the site of a former glasshouse have been converted into restaurant and toilet facilities. Other Buildings provide accommodation for equipment.

Woodland Garden

In the original woodland sheltering the Woodland Garden, the McDoualls planted species rhododendrons, transferring them as they reached maturity. The woodland was planted c.1800 mainly with hardwoods and, as they have matured, portions have been replanted with conifers. A burn runs through the area and has been used in the development of the garden. South of the burn, the ground rises steeply towards the former deer park of the policies. Some four hectares of this sloping ground has been acquired and has been planted with wind- tolerant conifers and some hardwoods. The original woodland is being replaced gradually and a wide variety of trees has been planted in the more open glades including several species of Eucalyptus and Nothofagus, as well as some fine Magnolia campbellii. Under these trees, the undergrowth is equally special and shrubs such as Olearias, the white flowering Eucryphias, and the evergreen Podocarpus grow in dense clumps along the hillside. Along the watercourse of the small burn is the Gunnera Bog where, amongst other water-loving plants, grow the gigantic leaves of Gunnera manicata, nearly two metres across.

Walled Gardens

The entrance to the Walled Garden area is through a simple iron gate. The original layout of the garden, indicated on the 1st edition OS map, appears complex. The original layout has been lost but the beech hedge and central wall remain from the original structure and, today, still serve to divide the garden into three main areas. Within the shelter of the walls the McDouall brothers transformed the Kitchen and Flower Garden into a sub-tropical haven. Throughout the 1920s they planted many tender plants outdoors which mostly could only be grown under glass elsewhere in the British Isles, except for perhaps the Scilly Isles. Wind is always a problem and so internal walls and hedges act as additional protection. On the south side of the internal wall there were glasshouses but these have been demolished.

The McDouall brothers wished to grow as many different plants as they could and so within the garden they created a range of different habitats. A square pond was built in one of the quarters of the south section and filled with water lilies. Other water margin plants such as Iris, Meconopsis and Hostas line the edge, planted in special beds. Two decorated urns on pedestals stand in the water which, in one corner, can be crossed by stepping stones. In the adjacent quarter there is the dramatic planting of tree ferns. Two species are grown, Dicksonia antarctica, planted by the McDoualls and D. fibrosa.

Just east of the pond is a small rock garden where sun-loving plants are planted. Constructed on a natural outcrop, the area uses the stream to connect a series of small ponds; moisture-loving plants and small shrubs grow along it.

On the south side of the internal wall grow sun-loving plants, whilst shade- tolerant ones thrive on the north side. Climbers on the south side include Abutilon megapotamicum, Campsis radicans and several species of Trachelospermum. The lemon scented verbena (Lippia citriodora), which usually has to be protected from frost if it is grown outside, does well here. On the north side, there are several Hydrangea species growing up the wall and two Schizophragmas, which look very like Hydrangeas. Along the same wall, Lapageria rosea hangs its great red waxy bells. To the east of the wall is the Tree Fern Mound covered with more Dicksonias, the tallest planted in 1913. This mound was reputedly created from the excavations from the ponds.

South of the mound is the peat garden where the McDoualls built low terraces of peat blocks for their collection of dwarf alpine rhododendrons and other ericaceous shrubs. It was here that the brothers pioneered the use of peat blocks to build small walls for acid beds.

On the west wall of the garden are the ruins of the old castle situated on an upper terrace and a series of smaller terraces all planted with tender plants and notable in some years for displays of Echium pinniniana. At the end of the border grows the tree Fuchsia excorticata, which has extraordinary greenish red flowers on old wood. Along the top terrace border grows a magnificent display of Diascias.

To the north of the beech hedge, which was planted c.100 years ago but was reduced by half in the 1940s, lies a more informal layout of island beds filled with shrubs and some half hardy herbaceous species. Originally there was a long pair of herbaceous borders here but these have gone. Magnolias and Eucryphias grow well and display their magnificent white flowers, the Magnolias in early spring and the Eucryphias in late summer. Throughout the garden there are long borders filled with unusual and colourful herbaceous plants and shrubs and at any time of the year there is always something in flower.




Printed Sources

C. Hussey, CL Aug 5th 1954

GC, Aug 17th 1901

The Garden, Aug 30th 1924

New Statistical Account 1845

Logan Botanic Garden Guidebook, HMSO

G.A. Little, 1981

A. Mitchell, Tree Survey 1979



NMRS Photographs

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Printed: 19/08/2022 15:54