Luxury Scotland Stately Scotland



Scotland In Bloom - Unique & Inspiring Gardens

Whether Scottish National Trust gardens or private gardens, grand or intimate, walled or wooded,
traditional or botanical ... Scotland has a treat in store for every garden lover.

Written by Linda Jackson


First, set the scene... drifts of delicate snowdrops, carpets of bluebells and colonies of daffodils. There is a spectacular avenue of giant Redwoods, a line of stately trees, and towering palms in elegant 19th century glasshouses. A bank of rhododendrons and azaleas are bursting into colour, pastel magnolias vying for attention.

To this flowery picture of Scotland, mentally add thousands of plant varieties and hundreds of gardens... formal gardens, wild gardens, landscaped terraces and avenues, parterres, rose gardens and walled gardens.

Four separate botanic gardens in Scotland collectively represent the second richest collection of plant species in the world

Now the idea of exploring Scotland's gardens is firmly planted in mind let's take a look at some of the best gardens in Scotland, where visitors can take pleasure in seeing the country in bloom.

Four separate botanic gardens in Scotland collectively represent the second richest collection of plant species in the world. Around 700 acres under extensive cultivation are owned by the National Trust for Scotland, the country’s largest garden owner. Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, a registered charity, facilitates the opening every year of around 400 mostly privately-owned gardens of horticultural interest throughout Scotland. These are impressive garden statistics by any standard.

Inverewe Garden

Overlooking Loch Ewe in the far north-west Highlands sits one of the most beautiful garden venues in Scotland, Inverewe Garden, created in 1862 by Osgood Mackenzie covering some 50 acres. Warm Gulf Stream currents are to be thanked for the oasis of exotic plants (more than 2,500 species) that grow here: Himalayan rhododendrons, Tasmanian eucalypts, Olearia from New Zealand.

Spring is the time to catch the walled garden at its best; autumn to see the trees in all their glory. Enjoy free guided garden walks Monday to Friday, May-September.

This year, for the first time in its history, Inverewe House,  has opened to the public,  revealing a completely renovated, visionary and immersive 1930s house and visitor attraction, as well as The Bothy, which provides visitors with a welcome light refreshments stop in the heart of the spectacular gardens.  The Bothy is stocked with locally sourced Scottish produce, making this must visit destination more inviting than ever.

Recommended accommodation: Torridon is located an hour's drive from the Gardens.

Pitmedden Garden

Thousands of annual bedding plants recreate the original parterre (highly formalised symmetrical garden, featuring clipped hedges) designs of the 17th century in the ‘Great Garden’ set within spectacular Pitmedden Garden, Aberdeenshire.

Apart from this stunning formal garden originally laid out in 1675 by Sir Alexander Seton, there are also extensive herbaceous borders, over 40,000 summer-flowering plants, broad lawns, finely sculptured trees, and five miles of closely trimmed box hedging.

Recommended accommodation: The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa is 18 miles away.

St Andrews Botanic Garden

An intimate gem of a garden located close to St Andrews town centre, surrounded by houses, is St Andrews Botanic Garden, Fife.

It is worth the search. With pools and waterfalls, inter-connecting gardens and sheltered paths, this 18-acre garden proves a peaceful haven.

Herbaceous borders splash into colour during summer months, there is a rock garden and scree (soil with a high proportion of rocky material), large tree plantings and shrubs, and glasshouses containing cacti, succulents, and alpines.

Recommended accommodation: just one mile away is The Old Course Hotel.

Drummond Castle Gardens

With the attributes of a Scottish-Italian Renaissance style garden, set on a rocky outcrop in Crieff, Perthshire, Drummond Castle Gardens are breathtaking. One of the finest formal gardens in Scotland, they were laid out from 1828-1838 by Charles Barry, restructured in early-Victorian times then renewed once more in the 20th century.

With the attributes of a Scottish-Italian Renaissance style garden, set on a rocky outcrop in Crieff, Perthshire, Drummond Castle Gardens are breathtaking.

Approach to the beautiful gardens is along a one-mile narrow drive lined with more than 300 towering beech trees on each side. Wander into the inner courtyard and climb the steps to the top of the terracing to fully appreciate the splendour of the gardens.

With fountains, terracing, urns, statuary and far-reaching views these are “must visit” gardens. Recommended accommodation: the renowned Gleneagles Hotel only six miles away.

Arduaine Garden

Late spring/early summer is a good time to visit Arduaine Garden in Argyll, a moist and mossy coastal garden featuring such favourites as camellia, pieris, azalea and magnolia, and a major rhododendron species collection.

There is a coastal viewpoint too if you wander through the woodland. Recommended accommodation: Crinan Hotel is 17 miles away. Crinan Hotel boasts its own delightful secret garden clinging to the hillside behind the hotel, with azaleas, rhododendrons, and herbaceous beds.

It’s a small garden with enormous views of scenic Crinan loch and canal. Open to hotel guests, and on Open Days with Scotland’s Garden Scheme, to the public.

Crinan's Secret Garden

Crinan's Secret Garden

Plant trials are conducted for ‘Gardening Which?’ at Greenbank House near Glasgow, an ‘educational’ garden for visitors who want to learn about growing unusual plants. There is a walled garden divided into 30 themed, coloured and seasoned gardens; over 3,700 different plants, and the National Collection of Bergenia. In the heart of Glasgow lies Glasgow Botanic Gardens.

Famous for its splendid Victorian Glasshouses it remains one of the city's most popular attractions for visitors and residents alike. Recommended accommodation: One Devonshire Gardens at Hotel du Vin in Glasgow.

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

A fine Arboreta in the Scottish Borders, Dawyck Botanic Garden, also puts on a colourful show of blooms on the Azalea Terrace in late spring. Italian stonework attractively links garden terraces to woodland paths, and the Beech Walk must be walked.



Dawyck Botanic Garden

Just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh's bustling city centre, nestles the 70-acre Royal Botanic Garden, home to the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside China. In the centre of the garden stands the elegant Victorian Temperate Palm House, the tallest of its kind in Britain. The glasshouses ‘experience’ is a must.

In the collection of huge glasshouses there are tropical palms, orchids and cycads, ferns and fossils, and rainforest riches. Recommended accommodation: The Edinburgh Sheraton.

Royal Botanic Garden

Royal Botanic Garden

Dirleton, a quaint village in East Lothian 25 miles east of Edinburgh is worthy of a visit. Dirleton Castle Garden is mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records certifying it is home to the world’s longest herbaceous border at 705ft (215m). First laid out in the 16th century but with many changes since, the garden is overlooked by a castellated gazebo and enclosed by a 19th century wall.

There is a splendid 16th century stone-built doocot (pigeon house) in the castle ruins grounds; it stands 25ft high (7.6m) and contains around 1,000 nesting boxes for pigeons (a tasty dinner ingredient for the castle’s inhabitants). Recommended accommodation two miles away: Greywalls is an intimate country house hotel with a quintessential Edwardian garden and delightful walled gardens attributed to Gertrude Jekyll.

Logan Botanic Garden

Logan Botanic Garden

Tucked away near Stranraer on the southern peninsula of Dumfries & Galloway, warmed by the Gulf Stream, is Logan Botanic Garden. The Walled Garden is a kaleidoscope of colour from spring to autumn; the fishpond is adorned with water lilies, and the Woodland Garden a haven for eucalypts and a gunnera bog.

Also near Stranraer, on an isthmus surrounded by two lochs, sits Castle Kennedy Gardens. Features of the garden are: mature rare trees, rhododendrons and exotic shrubs, snowdrops walks, magnolia displays; tree trails and a stunning herbaceous walled garden. Recommended accommodation: Knockinaam Lodge is a peaceful haven 10-12 miles from the gardens.

I think you will agree that grand or intimate, walled or wooded,
traditional or botanical ... Scotland has a treat in store for every garden lover.


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