‘Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind (…)’. The lyrics from this popular 1972 Seals and Crofts song, perfectly embodies the long, warm, lazy days of summer in Scotland’s gardens.
Breathing in the heady scents of jasmine, lavender and rose wafting on the wind, as you explore wonderfully maintained plots, is one of the season’s joys. And in normal times, we’d be encouraging you to visit one of our horticultural havens as part of your break.
Discover Scottish Gardens have recognised that it won’t be possible for many to visit one of their lovely gardens this summer. So, they’ve decided to bring summer blooms to your smart device instead, with their first (and we believe it’s also a Scottish first) virtual Summer Garden Festival.
Running from Saturday 13 June to 15 August, selected gardens will offer virtual events and experiences including garden tours, planting tutorials and workshops, arts and crafts experiences and much more, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
A full list of events can be found on the Discover Scottish Gardens website. Read on to find out more about some of what’s planned:
Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Fochabers, Moray Speyside
This stunning and wonderfully restored 8-acre walled garden is a sight to behold and definitely one to visit, when it’s safe to do so. Some botanicals grown here even make their way into Gordon Castle gin – the ideal accompaniment for those hot summer days! Join them for tours of their greenhouse, their beautiful cut flower beds and the four large vegetable beds here.
Fyvie Castle, Turiff, Aberdeenshire
Join Fyvie Castle gardener, Stuart Stockley, on a tour round the Walled Garden of Scottish Fruit – home to the largest collection of Scottish fruits and vegetables. Head Gardener, Gordon Thomson, will give a brief history of the garden and you’ll learn about the fruits and vegetables and how they are grown here.
Armadale Castle, Gardens & Museum of the Isles, Isle of Skye
The Armadale team on Skye are planning to broadcast three virtual tours from these amazing gardens, which offer stunning views over the Sound of Sleat towards Loch Nevis on the mainland. Travel back in time and learn about the history of these splendid gardens laid by Lord MacDonald in the 19th century. Take a virtual stroll through the terrace walks, borders, and by the ponds or follow your guide virtually, through the remarkable woodland garden.
Glamis Castle, by Forfar, Angus
Over on the east coast, set amidst the rolling countryside of Angus, you’ll find magnificent Glamis Castle. Renowned for its connections with Macbeth, the grounds staff here will be sharing videos about how they keep the gardens looking their best; growing, drying and storing herbs, pruning and training apple trees, and even how they maintain the historic grapevines they have here.
Branklyn Gardens, Perth
You’ll find these glorious gardens not far from Perth city centre. On 13 June join Head Gardener, Jim Jermyn, on a short tour around this stunning 2-acre hillside site. Basking in (we hope) glorious sunshine, you’ll see the stunning exhibition bed with meconopsis and primulas, the acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ across the rock garden as well as many other beautiful and rare species.
Drummond Castle Gardens, Crieff, Perthshire
On 21 June, take a virtual tour of the obelisk sundial at Drummond Castle Gardens. One of the dials only fully illuminates at sunrise and sunset on the summer solstice, making this a not-to-be-missed virtual experience. The sundial has been keeping time since 1620 and these wonderful gardens have featured in the 1995 movie Rob Roy and more recently in Outlander.
Benmore Botanic Garden, by Dunoon, Argyll
Our next virtual horticultural highlight takes us to the hillside slopes of Benmore Botanic Garden. Tune in as the team here shares some short films showing bursts of blooming colour, as summer unfolds across their 120-acre site on the Cowal Peninsula.
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
The history of this site dates back almost 350 years and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is also a globally renowned horticultural research institute. Enjoy the sights of the season from your favourite armchair as short films show colourful summer highlights unfolding throughout the season across this amazing 70-acre site.
Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park, Isle of Arran
Enjoy a quiet virtual stroll through Brodick Castle’s stunning walled garden on the Isle of Arran. This sheltered garden features a new border design and is full of exotic and delicate plants, some of which are rarely seen growing outdoors in Scotland. Built in 1710, the walled garden offers stunning views over Brodick Bay and out into the Firth of Clyde.
Dawyck Botanic Garden, Stobo, Scottish Borders
You’ll find one of the finest tree collections in Scotland here at Dawyck, with some dating back as far as 1680. However, if it’s vibrant summer colour you’re after, then look no further than their stunning Azalea Terrace. You’ll also find a colourful collection of mountain plants here that originate from Europe, China, Nepal, Japan and North America. Sit back, relax and enjoy summer from home as spectacular seasonal colour unfurls in their short films.
Abbotsford, near Melrose, Scottish Borders
Abbotsford was the home of renowned 19th century Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott, and the beloved and well-tended gardens here were his pride and joy. Take digital tours of the Regency Garden with Collections & Interpretation Manager, Kirsty, join a session with Head Gardener Tim and learn how to keep pests off your plants organically, or take a closer look at the beautiful roses in Sir Walter’s Regency Garden.
Threave Garden & Estate, Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway
Created and maintained by students from the National Trust for Scotland’s School of Heritage Gardening based here, Threave Garden is split into a number of smaller gardens to showcase different planting styles and schemes. The magnificent views across the Galloway Hills are pretty special too! On this tour, you’ll see many incredible planting displays, before heading into the Victorian walled garden. You’ll also see a wonderful yew-lined central avenue leading to a beautiful replica of the original Victorian glasshouse.
Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway
Palm trees? In Scotland? Gently warmed by the Gulf Stream in the south-west of Scotland lies Scotland’s most exotic garden, where you will indeed find thriving palm trees and other incredible tropical plants. Whilst it may not be possible to stroll amongst these striking shrubs at present, relax with a long, cooling drink at home and enjoy short films about this 5-star garden – it’s the next best thing to being here.
These are just some of the virtual events that are taking place at our gardens this summer. There are plenty of other virtual events taking place at Brodie Castle in Moray Speyside, Cambo Estate in Fife, and Cringletie House Hotel near Peebles to name just a few. You’ll also not want to miss the gin garden and cocktail-making experience hosted by The Torridon on 18 July at 1pm too!
Keep checking the Discover Scottish Gardens website for the latest updates, #staysafe and we look forward to welcoming you in person to a Scottish garden when it’s safe to visit.