Grigadale is a garden and arboretum in the southeast of the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, founded in 1992 by Bridget and Duncan Cameron.
Bridget and Duncan Cameron created Grigadale upon receiving, as a result of the division of the family property, a portion of unimproved land. After living more than three decades in the homestead of the original property, they took on the challenge of establishing a park and homestead in a bare field, using as a focal point a small natural depression where they imagined a small lagoon could be created.
The original farm, “Maori”, was acquired in 1916 by Duncan’s grandfather, Alexander A. Cameron, who gave it that name in memory of the people of New Zealand, his country of birth. "Grigadale" was named after the place of origin of the Cameron family on the western coast of Scotland. The Camerons emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand around 1860 and Alexander Cameron in turn emigrated in 1892 to Patagonia, where he worked 22 years with the Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego, a sheep company, eventually as general manager supervising the shearing of 1.3 million sheep. "Grigadale" (Griogadal in Gaelic) is of Norse origin and may mean ‘gravelly valley’ or ‘valley of heather’.
The park, initially intended to cover 4 hectares, was designed in 1991 and a large part was planted the following year. A windbreak of evergreens was planted in 1993.
Bridget propagated and transplanted as many plants and trees as she could from her garden in Maori and her aunt and uncle, landscape designers Doreen and John Blackburn, helped lay out the park. The house was built between September 1993 and September 1994 and was designed by architect Jerónimo Pernías.
The division of Maori coincided with Duncan’s retirement as manager. Having administered the property for more than 30 years, he was now able to devote his time to the creation of a new homestead and share in Bridget's passion for gardening and collecting plant species from around the world.
They received a great deal of support in this endeavour from the gardening group Grupo Jardín Necochea-Quequén, of which Bridget had been a founding member, and particularly from the group’s advisers Eduardo Stafforini and Elsita Schulte.
Following the sudden death of Bridget and Duncan in 2008, we are developing a project to maintain what they created and make Grigadale a center of horticultural and dendrological interest, organizing guided tours and gardening workshops. The house has been prepared to accommodate participants of these and other events.
We offer guided tours, in spring and autumn, led by landscape designers who were involved with Grigadale’s development. For further detail, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Accommodation is available in the main house and the guest house, for those who participate in our events or others who wish to visit the garden and arboretum on other occasions.
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Continuing in the tradition established by Bridget and Duncan Cameron of making Grigadale a place to share knowledge related to the cultivation of ornamental plants and trees, we are developing a program of workshops focusing on specific gardening tasks, such as pruning of roses and fruit trees. The workshops are run by experts in the field in question and the number of participants is limited.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grigadale is an ideal setting for seminars, workshops and lectures on any subject, particularly those related to nature or the arts. Send us an outline of your project and we’ll come up with a proposal: email@example.com
The garden at Grigadale evolved as Bridget Cameron tried out the ideas she had developed in her previous garden at Maori, combining also fresh concepts suggested by the new setting and her changed circumstances. This evolution came to favour shrubs and perennials over annuals and to seek low maintenance alternatives, while continuing to introduce new species found on her travels or exchanged with friends from abroad. Her objective was to create a garden that would hold some attraction in each season of the year.
The main feature of the garden is a large crescent-shaped border that contains a large variety of species and a small herb garden, fashioned after the knot gardens of the English Renaissance. Other borders surround the house and next to the windbreak there are numerous shrubs and rose bushes. Next to the pool an aquatic garden adjoins an octagonal greenhouse, behind which lies a large kitchen garden.
The plantation at Grigadale includes a large number of tree species and in particular one of the largest oak collections in Argentina. This collection was planted by Duncan Cameron, whose interest in the genus Quercus began when Bridget brought him as a gift five rare oaks she had obtained at the Chelsea Flower Show in London. His collection, in spite of the large number of losses suffered when seedlings did not survive the first few years, included over 120 taxa (i.e. oaks with a distinct name), including species, hybrids and cultivars. Currently his son Roderick maintains the collection and continues to acquire new seedlings and acorns.
For all questions related to the oak collection, write to
- Article in The Bulletin, magazine of the Argentine British Community Council: ‘My father’s oaks’ (August 2013)
- Article in La Nación: ‘A Farm with Scottish Roots’ (2006)
- Article in Revista Jardín: ‘Bridget Cameron, gardener’ (2005)
- Editorial in Revista Jardín (2013)
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