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The Scottish Spring Garden Festival: a blooming lovely way to embrace spring!

A stunning rhododendron display at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

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

It’s one of the most vivid signs that spring has sprung. Swathes of bright yellows, purples, pinks and reds, accompanied by a symphony of bird song and buzzing bees, spread their way across Scotland’s many gardens, brightening up even the dullest of days. That’s right folks, it’s time for the Scottish Spring Garden Festival!

Organised by Discover Scottish Gardens, the Scottish Spring Garden Festival will take place at gardens, venues and properties across Scotland from 1 April – 31 May. The festival programme features over 50 events and here are just a few of the highlights:

ASHBROOK NURSERY, ANGUS

1 – 30 April

Ashbrook, is a friendly, family-run nursery in the pretty coastal town of Arbroath. Drop into their garden centre and browse a wide range of plants and all things gardening-related and treat yourself to something tasty in The Café @ Ashbrook.

During the Scottish Spring Garden Festival, see their stunning display of Primula auriculas as an ‘Auricula Theatre’. On 7 April, celebrate spring and Easter by making a floral wreath for your door. And families will love hunting for the fairy doors around their Woodland Wander – there’s a lucky dip, if you can find out who lives behind each door!

THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN EDINBURGH

Various events, 1 April – 31 May

Flowers blooming in front of the John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Flowers blooming in front of the John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

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

As we emerge from the pandemic, ‘Seeing the Invisible’, running now until the end of July, is an important exhibition, which encourages people to get out and enjoy contemporary art and culture in this splendid setting. Another exhibition, Rhododendrons: Riddle, Obsession, Threat (9 April – 5 June), reveals the history of collecting, researching and cultivating this fascinating genus at the gardens.

See the first signs of spring appear along the Botanics Spring Trail between 9 – 24 April – find all the clues along the trail and receive a yummy treat from Mackie’s of Scotland. Learn about Nature Champions on 23-24 April and get to know how animals and plants survive and thrive.

SAUGHTON PARK, EDINBURGH

2 – 3 April

Saughton Park, Edinburgh

Saughton Park, Edinburgh © The Caley

Not far from the centre of Edinburgh, Saughton Park, with its wide-open spaces and playing fields, is a lovely green sanctuary to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Within the park you’ll also find 34 acres of wonderfully tended formal gardens.

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, or The Caley for short has long-standing connections with Saughton Park and as part of the Scottish Spring Garden Festival, they are  holding the Caley Spring Bulb Show here. You can find out more on The Caley website.

ABBOTSFORD, MELROSE, SCOTTISH BORDERS

Various events, 4 April – 31 May

A colourful display at Abbotsford House, Scottish Borders

A colourful spring display at Abbotsford House, Scottish Borders © Abbotsford House

Abbotsford was the home of Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland’s most influential writers. His most prized possession, Abbotsford, reflects his imagination and inventiveness and is a place that should feature on any literary pilgrimage. Scott’s imagination and creativity also extended into his beloved Regency Gardens.

Several events are planned here as part of the festival. From 4 – 17 April, solve the riddles and find Easter eggs on a walk around the estate to unlock a prize. Between 7 – 14 April there are free, Easter-themed drop-in craft activities with Ranger Anna, which are ideal for all the family.

Ranger Anne will also lead a guided walk to discover Abbotsford’s spring wildflowers on 19 May. And between 1 – 31 May see amazing colours as rhododendrons and azaleas burst into flower.

DAWYCK BOTANIC GARDEN, SCOTTISH BORDERS

Various events, 9 April – 31 May

Beautiful blue poppies at Dawyck Botanic Garden

Beautiful blue poppies at Dawyck Botanic Garden

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

There’s lots going on here during the festival too. Head for The Studio @ Dawyck between 9 April and 24 July to see the amazing Colours of Nature exhibition by Sharon Griggs. On the 16 and 17 April, experience the sights, sounds and smells of Dawyck at an Engaging Gardens drop in session. And between 7 – 8 May, discover the captivating biodiversity that thrives at Dawyck. Get to know the animals and plants that live here, find out how they survive and become Nature Champions.

LOGAN BOTANIC GARDEN, DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY

Various events, 9 April – 31 May

Tropical trees and plants at Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer

Tropical trees and plants at Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer © Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Gently warmed by the Gulf Stream in south-west Scotland, Logan is Scotland’s most exotic garden, where you will find thriving palm trees and other incredible tropical plants as well as a packed programme of festival events.

On 9 – 10 April and 14 – 15 May, discover the captivating biodiversity that thrives here and becomes Nature Champions. Running from 1 May – 30 June, visit Logan Studio and see the Meteorological Exhibition – an informative and educational display highlighting the effects of climate change. Then on 5 May, listen to the fabulous sounds of African Drummers in the colourful setting of the Walled Garden.

ARMADALE CASTLE, GARDENS & MUSEUM, ISLE OF SKYE

Various events, 13 April – 12 May

Stunning spring colours at Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye

Stunning spring colours at Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye © Armadale Castle

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 airstream provides ideal conditions for these beautiful coastal gardens.

This spring don’t miss their Easter Bunny Hunt between 13 – 17 April. Can you find the bunnies hiding around the grounds? Have fun searching and claim your Easter prize.

Or join the gardens team who will take you on a guided tour of the garden on 21 and 28 April, and 5 and 12 May. Experience colourful displays of daffodils, rhododendron, azaleas and bluebells. See magnificent trees burst into leaf and blossom, and learn about the challenges and pleasures of gardening on the west coast of Scotland.

TEASSES ESTATE, FIFE

17 April

Peach 'Peregrine' at Teasses Estate, Fife

Peach ‘Peregrine’ at Teasses Estate, Fife © Teasses Estate

Teasses is an historic working estate, near Ceres in Fife that also includes some amazing and beautifully restored gardens that have been sensitively renovated since the mid-1990s.

Visit the estate on Easter Sunday between 10am and 4pm for lots of family fun hunting Easter eggs, decorating your own egg and much more. And all of this amongst a fabulous spring setting – what could be better? Book your tickets now.

BENMORE BOTANIC GARDEN, ARGYLL & THE ISLANDS

 23 – 24 April

Beautiful colours at Benmore Botanic Garden, near Dunoon

Beautiful colours at Benmore Botanic Garden, near Dunoon © Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh/Sybil Balwin

Spread over 120 acres, Benmore Botanic Garden is spectacularly situated amidst mountains and lochs within Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Here you’ll find an amazing avenue of redwood trees and in spring and summer, Benmore is a riot of colour.

During the festival, drop in to their Engaging Gardens sessions on the 23 and 24 April – a fun and enchanting nature-based event for all the family. Then on 4 and 5 June, discover the captivating biodiversity that thrives at Benmore. Get to know the animals and plants in and around the garden that are Nature Champions.

How are you planning to celebrate the colours and joys of springtime? Share all your pictures with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Discover Scottish Gardens for more information about where to see Scotland’s stunning spring displays this season.

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