Lip na Cloiche Garden and Nursery


Nr Ulva Ferry

Isle of Mull PA73 6LU


Unique Garden in a Sparkling Setting

The west coast of Mull stands exposed to the full force of Atlantic gales, so it is surprising to discover that this beautiful, if windswept, spot is home to one of the most exciting gardens in Scotland.

Lip na Cloiche, which means ‘edge of the rock’ in English, has been created through the hard work and creative vision of Lucy Mackenzie Panizzon, who has single-handedly cleared over an acre of gorse and bracken and transformed it into an oasis for unusual plants.

When she returned home to Mull after living in Italy for many years, Lucy first renovated a cottage in an idyllic spot overlooking Loch Tuath and the Isle of Ulva before creating a shelterbelt of hedges using hebe, fuchsia and other shrubs that can withstand severe conditions.

Within this framework she then began planting densely, choosing species from around the world, including New Zealand and Chile, recognising that many borderline-hardy plants would adapt well to the mild winters and cool summers that this part of the country experiences.

The garden slopes steeply towards the sea, which means that the soil drains quickly despite high rainfall levels, and Lucy protects plants which dislike damp conditions, by mulching them thickly with gravel.

New borders have seaweed added to them, but otherwise plants remain unfed in order to prevent the development of soft growth that would be more susceptible to wind damage while the hedges, which are now mature, are kept deliberately low so that the view remains unobstructed.

The Herald: Garden and Ben MorGarden and Ben Mor (Image: Discover gardens)

The garden has been developed for year-round interest and plants such as Ricinus communis and Melianthus major are grown for their attractive foliage. Many different kinds of Olerea grow across the site and Agastache and Salvia caradonna relish the south-facing aspect.

The most formal part of the garden is a small potager where Lucy grows a rich variety of fruit and vegetables and the traditionally-styled greenhouse is used for propagating plants that Lucy sells from the nursery. 

Perhaps the most unusual feature of the garden however is the way that Lucy has incorporated found objects into its design, using old bedsteads and pitchforks as fences and plant supports, and transforming driftwood into sculpture.

The tides around here bring beautiful objects almost to the door and Lucy spends the winter beachcombing on the sands then transforming the shells and sea glass that she recovers into plant labels and decorative objects.

Old kettles and galvanised buckets become plant containers and Lucy has also used beautiful pebbles from the shoreline to create the mosaic steps that lead up the slope.

The result is a garden that seems to grow out of the landscape, combining elements of the sea and the surrounding countryside with exciting and unusual plants.


Practical magic

The combination of found objects and spectacular setting gives Lip na Cloiche whimsical appeal, but it is in fact underpinned by practical solutions to the challenges thrown up by the site. The damp area around the tumbling burn has been filled with Gunnera, Rheum and Candelabra primulas, while the handrail of the bridge that crosses it is formed by a fallen branch.

An old bothy that once stood on the site has been recycled to create walls and terraces and the decorative, step-over apples are a solution to the salt-laden winds.

Despite the high moisture levels, Lucy’s innate understanding of the garden means that Mediterranean plants flourish here, growing surprisingly large because they are mostly untroubled by frost.



The garden is open daily, dawn to dusk.

Entrance is free but donations are welcomed and 25% of these go towards supporting local charities.

Tel: 01688 500257