Take some time to unwind and enjoy the tranquility of the many and varied gardens and parks in Scotland’s cities and countryside. With their clear air, the gardens include both native species and exotic plants from all over the world, especially on the west coast where the gardens are influenced by the Gulf Stream.
The Royal Botanic Garden has four gardens across Scotland (Edinburgh, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck): The gardens are world renowned scientific centres ‘to explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future’. Each garden has its own specialist collection of exotic and native plants as well as greenhouses, exhibits, information centres and restaurants. Guided tours run twice daily in the Edinburgh garden during the summer season. Group tours can be arranged in advance.
Entry is free to the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh and to the lovely botanical gardens in Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews. The Scottish cities have wonderful parklands too.
The National Trust for Scotland has many diverse gardens, including the wonderful garden of Inverewe in Rosshire.
Many Scottish castles have diverse and interesting gardens, such as those at Dunvegan, Dunrobin, Cawdor, Crathes, Blair, Culzean,Dirleton and Drummond pictured above.
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme offers visits to 92 private gardens on special opening days for charity, and some can be visited by appointment.
Some gardens have self-guided tours and some run guided tours for individuals or for groups. Check the garden websites for special events, lectures, conferences and musical performances.
Several gardens are open all year – how about a snowdrop walk in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic garden, Dawyck or at Cambo in Fife in January or February? Come and see the profuse colours of the spring flowers – camellias, azaleas, and from May look out for carpets of bluebells and a wide variety of rhododendrons across the country.
Watch out too for wild orchids in the summer. August sees the Scottish hills purple with heather, followed by lovely autumn colours across the land.