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Issue 41 - 10 Best Gardens

Scotland Magazine Issue 41
October 2008


This article is 10 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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10 Best Gardens

Scotland has some of the most beautiful gardens in the British Isles. Here's our pick of the bunch.

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
Just one mile from the city centre in 70 acre grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden, the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh seems like a million miles away.

Just about every sort of growing environment has been created, sometimes with great difficulty. From the woodland areas, to the alpine house, rock garden, herbaceous borders, arboretum, ecological garden, Chinese hillside and peat walls, the botanic garden is a wonder to behold. And that’s before you’ve even stepped inside the famous glasshouses that give home to some spectacular tropical plants. Tel: +44 (0)131 552 7171 Open daily,10am-4pm (November-February), 10am- 6pm (March), 10am-7pm (April-September), 10am-6pm (October);Glasshouses close 3.30pm (November-February), 5pm (March-October); Garden admission: free; Glasshouse admission: adults £3.50, concessions £3, children £1, families £8 Dunrobin Castle & Garden, Golspie, Highlands Situated on the east coast of the northern Highlands, Dunrobin Castle and its magnificent formal gardens look out across the Moray Firth.

The garden was laid out by Sir Charles Barry in 1850, who also designed the Houses of Parliament in London.

To match the castle, the garden has a strong French influence, with circular pools and fountains surrounded by two formal beds.

The garden holds to its original vision but has been enhanced by recent features like the reintroduction of an old-fashioned method of tree culture and a vegetable garden and orchard of a French style. Tel: +44 (0)1408 633 177 Open daily, 10.30am-4.30pm (March-May and September-October), til 12 noon on Sundays, 10.30am-5.30pm (June-August); Admission: adults £7.50, children £6.50, students £6.50, families £20 Inverewe Garden, Poolewe, Ross-shire Inverewe Garden is world renowned, both for its vast collections of plants and trees from around the world, and for the determination and vision of its creator, Osgood Mackenzie.

Back in 1862 the steep land on the edge of Loch Ewe was barren, and the only thing to recommend it was its climate; surprisingly warm due to the proximity of the Gulf Stream.

Mackenzie imported good quality soil, planted trees as a screen against wind and salt spray, and created a haven for a vast collection of temperate plants.

The garden is a major visitor attraction but never feels crowded.

From its famous walled garden to its circular Pinewood Trail and stunning views across the estate, the loch and the Highlands, there is enough here to occupy visitors for several hours.

An unforgettable experience. Tel: +44 (0)1445 781 200 Open daily, 10am-3pm (November-March), 9.30- 8pm (end March-October); Admission: adults £8, concession £5.25, families £20 Dawyck Botanic Garden, near Peebles, Scottish Borders Amagical experience at any time of year, Dawyck Botanic Garden contains an internationally recognised arboretum, with walks and water features set amid scenery that is both wild and tranquil.

What you see will depend on the season of your visit. In spring the garden is bursting with new growth, acid-green buds on the beech trees above carpets of wild flowers. In May and June the Azalea Terrace is a riot of colour, while the reds and golds of autumn are truly exquisite.

The conkers produced by the horse chestnut trees bring out a childish delight in any visitor, and see if you can catch the caramel scent of the Japanese katsura tree that overhangs Scrape Glen. Tel: +44 (0)1721 760 254 Open daily from 10am-4pm (February and November), 10am-5pm (March and October), 10am-6pm (April-September); Admission: adults £4, concessions £3.50, children £1, families £9 Scone Palace Gardens, Perth, Perthshire Scone Palace is steeped in royal Scottish history, having been the crowning place of kings and once the home of the famous Stone of Scone. The grounds of the palace are just as impressive, with formal lawns, a maze, wild garden and a striking pinetum.

During the 19th century Scottish planthunters searched far and wide for the most exotic and interesting plants to bring home and cultivate, and in keeping with its great sense of history, Scone Palace has a notable specimen from that time; the Douglas Fir grown from the original seed sent home to Scone from America by David Douglas in 1826. Tel: +44 (0)1738 552 300 Open Sunday-Friday, 9.30am-5.30pm (March- October), Saturday 9.30am-4.30pm (March-October); Admission: adults £4.50, children £3, senior citizens and students £4 Scotland has some of the most beautiful gardens in the British Isles.

Here’s our pick of the bunch

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