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Inshriach Nursery


Inshriach Nursery is set in a natural birch wood. It is an alpine nursery of international repute, specialising in Himalayan plants. The plants are laid out in beds and there is also a display garden which features scree, peat and bog habitats.

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:


Location and Setting

Inshriach Nursery stands on the south bank of the River Spey approximately 3 miles (5km) south-west of Aviemore and 3.5 miles (6km) north-east of the village of Kincraig. The B970 forms the eastern boundary of the site. The Cairngorm Mountains rise beyond the Spey Valley while the Monadhliath Mountains lie to the south. The site itself stands at approximately 760' (231m). Soil conditions are poor and gravelly, tending to acid pH values. The immediate surrounding landscape is largely afforested; the policy woodlands of Kinrara lie to the north and to the south is the Inshriach Forest. As a result, the woodland canopy, within which the Nursery is situated, is of little additional scenic significance within the surrounding landscape.

The Nursery extends over approximately 4.5 acres (1.8ha) in a westerly direction from the B970.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

There are no listed buildings on the site; the house which commands a central position in the site was built in 1957 to the design of Ian Lindsay, architect. The stone white-washed cottages were built earlier, in 1950.

The Gardens

The nursery garden is laid out amid a natural birch wood. A hedge of Lawson's Cypress was planted in 1951 to protect the site from westerly winds. The Nursery specialises in Himalayan plants, in particular, Meconopsis, Gentians and Primulas. All plant material here is hardy; inevitably since temperatures frequently fall to around 0ºF in winter. The majority of plants are laid out in beds on the north and east of the site as well as in the glasshouses. In the south-west corner, a garden has been created to display material being sold in the garden. In addition to the alpine species displayed in scree habitats, peat walls have been created and there is a bog garden. The extensive range of plants in the Nursery is detailed in their catalogue.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The nursey is open daily between February and November.


John and Gunnbjorg Borrowman


The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:


Reason for Inclusion

An alpine plant nursery of international renown.

Site History

The Nursery was established in 1939 within the grounds of Inshriach House and has been developed continuously since then.

Reference to the 1st edition OS map of c.1850 indicates that the present site was largely undeveloped land on the edge of the woodland of the South Kinrara estate. At that time a Bobbin Mill was on the site and a pond was situated nearby.

Jack Drake who established the Nursery worked in the family firm of sugar brokers prior to being apprenticed to W.G. Th. Ingwersen Ltd. He travelled extensively with Will Ingwersen on plant-hunting expeditions to the Canadian Rockies, Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains. In 1938 Jack & Stamford Drake purchased Inshriach House (formerly South Kinrara). Jack Drake established the Nursery at Inshriach in 1938 but, with the outbreak of World War II, the venture was inevitably neglected. By 1947, development had resumed and the first catalogues were issued. In 1949 John Lawson came to work in the Nursery. One year later, the two whitewashed cottages in the north-east corner of the site were built. In 1957 the house which stands in the centre of the site was built.

Excavations from the building were used to level off plunge bed areas. In 1970, Jack Drake retired. The estate was sold but the Nursery was retained by John Lawson. It maintains today its reputation for producing hardy specialist material which is distributed worldwide. The growth of the Aviemore Centre as a tourist attraction has brought more direct sales but the majority of trade today is still conducted on a mail order basis. The Nursery will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 1988.

Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland

Plant Environment

  • Environment
  • Alpine Garden


  • Nursery Garden (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information




Plant Nursery

Plant Environment

Alpine Garden

Principal Building

Nursery Garden





Open to the public




  • Historic Scotland, 'Inshriach Nursery', {Gardens and Designed Landscapes}, [accessed 5 January 2008]


  • Historic Scotland