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Stunning gardens to explore during the Scottish Summer Garden Festival

Breathing in the heady scents of jasmine, lavender and rose wafting on the breeze, as you explore wonderfully maintained gardens, is one of the joys of summer. And you can experience these joys at a number of Discover Scottish Gardens and Scotland’s Gardens Scheme sites, during the third Scottish Summer Garden Festival.

Running from Saturday 11 June to 15 August, you’ll find many events ranging from garden tours, talks, tutorials and workshops, taking place and a full list of festival events can be found on the Discover Scottish Gardens website. Read on to find out more about some of what’s planned:

1. Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles, Isle of Skye

11 June – 11 August

Stunning views over Armadale Castle gardens, Isle of Skye

Stunning views over Armadale Castle gardens, Isle of Skye © Clan Donald Lands Trust

Once an imposing Victorian mansion of the Clan Donald, the romantic ruins of Armadale Castle lie at the heart of 40 stunning acres of woodland gardens, which are warmed by the Gulf Stream. This milder airstream provides ideal growing conditions for the outstanding trees and shrubs here.

The Armadale team have some great events lined up, for this year’s festival. Each Thursday during the school holidays, they’re running brilliant summer family activity sessions from 2 – 3.30pm, featuring pond-dipping, craft-making, outdoor games and more. Or why not book on to their half day Floristry Workshop on 16 July and learn how to select, cut and arrange your own display?

Finally, browse a tempting array of plant, craft and produce stalls at their Monthly Marketplace events on 11 June and 9 July.

2. Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish Borders

11 June – 15 August

A vivid display of meconopsis - Himalayan blue poppies at Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish Borders

A vivid display of meconopsis – Himalayan blue poppies at Dawyck Botanic Garden, Scottish Borders

Dawyck Botanic Garden is a five-star garden, near Stobo in the Scottish Borders that’s renowned for its seasonal displays of bluebells, azaleas and blue poppies.

During the Summer Garden Festival, stroll along Dawyck’s new sculpture trail featuring 20 works created by Scottish Borders sculptor Susheila Jamieson. Start your day with a relaxing yoga session, followed by an energising breakfast in the café, and enjoy guided walks and wonderful exhibitions

3. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

11 June – 15 August

A stunning rhododendron display at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

A stunning rhododendron display at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh © RBGE

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a 72-acre oasis of tranquillity in the heart of the capital city and a place for all the family to enjoy. Here you’ll find one of the finest botanic collections in the world and summer is the ideal time to discover it.

Starting at the John Hope Gateway Centre, join one of their daily tours and discover botanical highlights, plant treasures and tales of intrepid adventurers.

Immerse yourself in Yan Wang Preston’s audio-visual installation ‘With Love. From an Invader’ which explores our love-hate relationship with the notorious rhododendron ponticum.

And featuring 13 augmented reality works of art, enjoy ‘Seeing the Invisible’ – the first exhibition of its kind, which brings together botanical gardens and art institutions from around the world.

4. Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, various gardens across Scotland

11 June – 15 August

With over 350 member gardens, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme has been doing good things, as a Scottish charity, for over 90 years. A number of their gardens are planning to hold open days throughout the Scottish Summer Garden Festival, so please check their website to see which gardens are open today and open this weekend.

5. Attadale Gardens, Strathcarron, Highlands

13 June – 15 August

Attadale Gardens on the shores of Loch Carron, Highlands

Attadale Gardens on the shores of Loch Carron, Highlands © Attadale Gardens

Located opposite the pretty Highland village of Lochcarron, Attadale is a long-established privately-owned garden that stretches to over 20 acres, set amidst stunning Wester Ross scenery.

Take a self-guided tour – pick up a printed guide of Summer Gardens Festival highlights at the gatehouse – of Attadale’s stunning summer flower and plant displays. A stroll along the Old Rhododendron Walk is particularly recommended as it leads to The Viewpoint, which offers lovely views over the house, the gardens and on to the Isle of Skye beyond.

Don’t miss the many, lovingly tended colourful flower beds and the wonderful woodlands and enjoy something tasty from the Midge Bite at Attadale.

6. Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway

14 June – 11 August

Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer

Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer

Palm trees? In Scotland? Gently warmed by the Gulf Stream in south-west of Scotland lies our most exotic garden, where you will indeed find thriving palm trees and other incredible tropical plants.

There are loads of events going on at Logan Botanic Garden this summer. Choose from themed guided walks and exhibitions and a host of children’s activities. Learn about the important role bees play in horticulture and hear African drummers and musicians play in the lovely Walled Garden.

Don’t forget to pop into the Potting Shed Bistro for something tasty or visit the Logan Shop for a wee memento.

7. Drumlanrig Castle Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway

16 June – 15 August

Drumlanrig Castle Gardens, near Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway

Drumlanrig Castle Gardens, near Thornhill, Dumfries & Galloway © Drumlanrig Castle

Ancestral home of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry, spectacular 17th century Drumlanrig Castle, near Thornhill, is one of Scotland’s finest Renaissance buildings, set amidst 40 stunning and lovingly maintained acres of gardens.

During the Summer Garden Festival, enjoy the manicured lawns and the mixed shrub and herbaceous borders of the Castle Gardens. Explore the formal gardens and the 183-metre Long Terrace Walk and marvel at the restored Victorian glasshouses and the Victorian Rock Garden.

After all that, retreat to the Larchwood Cabin Café for a cuppa and homemade cake or a light lunch. There’s also an Adventure Playground for the kids.

8. New Hopetoun Garden Centre, South Queensferry

1 July – 15 August

n intriguing art installation at New Hopetoun Garden Centre, South Queensferry

An intriguing art installation at New Hopetoun Garden Centre, South Queensferry © Dougal Philip

New Hopetoun Gardens is much more than just a garden centre. Established over 40 years ago near South Queensferry, there are 18 individually themed gardens to explore here, and friendly staff are always on hand to offer advice and information. You might also recognise New Hopetoun Gardens’ co-founder Lesley Watson, as a presenter of BBC TV’s The Beechgrove Garden.

Get along to New Hopetoun during the Scottish Summer Garden Festival and browse the original outdoor art installations in their Demonstration Gardens. The gardens, Orangery Tearoom and award-winning Gift Shop are open from 10am to 5pm daily.

9. Kirklands Garden, Fife

2 – 3 July

When the owners, Peter and Gill Hart, first arrived at Kirklands House and Garden near Dunfermline in 1977, the garden had suffered many years of neglect. Over the last 40 years they have lovingly restored the garden spread over two acres, transforming them to what you see today.

Visit Kirklands and stroll amongst colourful summer herbaceous borders and see candelabra primulas. There’s a productive walled vegetable garden, with strawberry beds, espalier apple trees and much more. There’s also 20-acres of woodland to explore too.

The garden is part of the family home and not a commercial venture, with entry fees re-invested in the upkeep of the garden. Entry tickets are available online or pay via the honesty box on the way in.

10. Archerfield Walled Garden, East Lothian

5 July and 2 August, 11am – 12noon

Archerfield Walled Garden near Dirleton is a magical place for all the family. Alongside the Rose Garden, Potager, Perennial Meadow and Wildlife Area, there’s also a fabulous Fairy Trail for the kids to enjoy. You’ll find plants, pots, tools and more in their well-stocked Garden Shop and don’t miss the spacious Garden Café.

On 5 July, join gardener Veronica for a guided tour of Archerfield’s vibrant cut flower beds. See what flowers they grow and pick up tips to help you produce beautiful blooms at home.

Then on 2 August, Head Gardener Erica will talk about their Perennial Meadow, explaining how it has developed and some of the challenges they have encountered. The tour will also include a visit to the labyrinth where a new meadow is being created.

These are just some of the events that are taking place at Discover Scottish Gardens this summer – keep checking their website for the latest updates and any new events.

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