The Soaperie Gardens

Ten members of the group visited The Soaperie Gardens, a small park in the centre of Kirkcudbright on Monday 26th August.

The gardens contain 64 trees, comprised of 36 different species and varieties. An informative free guide has recently been produced by Kirkcudbright Rotary, in association with Stewartry U3A.

I emailed the address on the Soaperie Gardens leaflet and have received this interesting reply:

Thank you for your email and you kind comments. The Soaperie Gardens derive their name from their historic use as a laundry area by the residents of the High Street, which was originally the whole of the town!. There had been a muddy creek running through the area towards the harbour and there is an old well visible in the northern part.

Some of the older trees (Maples and Limes) around the edges of the gardens appear to have been planted at the time the church was built (1836)(they are shown on the early OS maps). the age of the large Oak tree T12 is uncertain but I estimate that it is likely to be over 200 years and so it predates the church.

Most of the younger trees are the remains of a large planting of memorial trees arranged by the then minister Douglas Irving in 1999, the trees coming from a nursery in Tongland run by a gentleman called Kenny Tucker. Many of these trees did not survive due to various circumstances including vandalism which sadly continues to this day (T50 has recently been destroyed) but we still have a good variety remaining (we have 36 species/varieties present).

The ownership of the gardens is divided between the Council and the church but it is maintained by the Council

Two errors I know of - T8 should read Corylus corluna, and T18 is actually a Lebanon Cedar Cedrus libani var pendula.


Chris Ingram

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.