Let me start by saying that I know just as little as most people do about Jura House Gardens but recently I found out from people I met on Jura and Islay that they weren’t aware of the situation with the gardens at all. Fact is that the Jura House Gardens have been closed “until further notice”. So far I found out that this “further notice” means that the gardens will remain closed for the remainder of 2011. But what about next year? Let me try to explain what the situation is using information from an article in the Scotsman. The 12,000-acre Ardfin Estate, which includes Jura House Garden, was bought last November by London-based Australian hedge fund manager Greg Coffey. Not long after his purchase the Jura House Garden was closed. You can see how beautiful the gardens are in the Jura House Gardens Image Gallery
The Scotsman wrote in the before mentioned article “He is understood not to have visited the island since buying the estate, on which most of Jura’s 210 islanders live and five are employed, since its purchase six months ago. Elaine Campbell, the development officer at the Jura Development Trust, said there was concern that the closure of the garden, which attracts around 2,500 visitors every year, could impact on the island’s tourist economy. “Everybody has that fear, because the garden had a great number of visitors every year. They’re unique. It would be hard to say that it’s not going to impact us in some way. We’re all very uncertain about it at the moment.”
“The MSP for the area, Mike Russell, said tourism was the island’s lifeblood. “Jura needs as much help as possible to get to critical mass, and everything it loses diminishes from that,” he said. A spokesperson for Coffey said the gardens at Ardfin House were being renovated. He added: “However, it is Greg’s full intention that once all the renovation works are completed, which is probably going to be at the end of the year, Greg will look to re-open the gardens next year at some point.”
The last paragraph by the spokesperson for Mr Coffey sounds positive although the words “will look to re-open” don’t sound like a firm promise to me. Perhaps you as readers and visitors of the island would like to express the importance that these gardens to remain open for both the locals and tourists. If you do please feel free to leave a comment below and let’s hope it will help!