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9 stunning gardens to explore during the Scottish Summer Garden Festival

Breathing in the heady scents of jasmine, lavender and rose wafting on the wind, 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 sites, during the second Scottish Summer Garden Festival.

Running from Sunday 13 June to Sunday 15 August, alongside a few virtual events, you’ll find many in-person events taking place in selected gardens. Enjoy garden tours, talks, tutorials and more. There’s even a photography workshop for grown-ups and a Teddy Bears Picnic Trail for wee ones.

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. Teasses Estate, Ceres, Fife

11, 12, 21 and 27 June

Colourful blooms at Teasses Estate in Fife

Colourful blooms at Teasses Estate in Fife © Teasses Estate

Teasses is an historic working estate that also includes some amazing, and sensitively restored gardens, which are full of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Join a self-guided or guided tour of their stunning walled garden and along a network of paths through the Millennium Wood where you’ll find their Silent Space.

A number of events are planned at Teasses Estate this summer. On 11 June, join botanical photographer, David Purvis, for a guest talk on a fantastic Rhododendron project he is working on. On 12 June, David will also host a photography workshop to teach you how to capture a stunning floral photograph, using Teasses Gardens as a backdrop.

Celebrate the Summer Solstice on the 21 June with an evening walk through the gardens, led by Head Gardener, Craig. And don’t miss the Teasses Estate Summer Open Day on 27 June, for a fantastic family day out.

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

11 June – 15 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 conditions for the many outstanding trees and shrubs that grow here.

The Armadale team have some great events planned as part of the Festival. Each Thursday during the school holidays, they’ll be running craft sessions, games and other activities for families, linked to themes in their museum and gardens.

On 10 July and 14 August, head for their free Monthly Marketplace outside the Stables Café, and browse stalls selling plants, produce and crafts.

And finally, from 13 July – 15 August, travel the world at Armadale Castle Gardens without leaving Scotland. You’ll hunt for some of the exotic plants that thrive here, following a family-friendly, self-guided trail.

3. Attadale Gardens, Strathcarron, Highlands

11 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 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 here. Entrance charge applies, please pay by contactless card where possible.

4. Cambo Gardens, Kingsbarns, Fife

16 June – 28 July

Cambo Gardens nestle peacefully in a wonderful coastal setting near the popular Fife town of St Andrews. Explore their lovely 2.5 acre Georgian walled garden. Enjoy something tasty from the café or let the kids run wild in the Lost Elf Village or along the Glingbobs and Tootflits Trail.

The team here will be running a number of virtual live events via Facebook, including straw bale gardening sessions (16 June and 28 July), a broadcast on no-dig gardening (30 June) and how to make a homemade flower crown (14 July). On 1 July, head along to the gardens in-person and join their Lamas Tea Party.

5. Hidden Gardens of St Andrews, Fife

27 June

One of the ten Hidden Gardens of St Andrews, Fife

One of the ten Hidden Gardens of St Andrews, Fife © St Andrews Preservation Trust

Co-ordinated by St Andrews Preservation Trust, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Hidden Gardens of St Andrews, between 11am and 5pm. Starting at 12 North Street, in the famous Fife town, nine of the ten gardens are only open to the public during the Hidden Gardens event.

Whether you’d like to spend time admiring the 18th century doocot in June’s garden, or the Franklinia tree in Greyfriars Garden, this once a year event brings St Andrews’ less discovered side to light. With plenty of space for social distancing, as well as plant and textile sales, why not mark 27 June in your diary and enjoy a day of fresh air and secret beauty.

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

1 July – 15 August

Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer

Logan Botanic Garden, near Stranraer

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.

Alongside a number of summer-themed guided walks and other events, Logan Botanic Garden will also host an exhibition by local acrylics artist, Peter Lamb. For this, his first exhibition, he will produce local landscape and botanical works, alongside his usual local wildlife paintings.

7. 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 are much more than just another 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 regular presenter of BBC TV’s The Beechgrove Garden.

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

8. University of Dundee Botanic Garden, Dundee 

11 & 17 July and 21 August

University of Dundee Botanic Garden

University of Dundee Botanic Garden © University of Dundee

Beautifully located, offering breath-taking views over the River Tay to the Kingdom of Fife, you’ll find an abundance of trees and shrubs flourishing across the University of Dundee Botanic Garden’s nine and a half acre site.

Alongside the stunning summer horticultural displays, as part of the Scottish Summer Garden Festival, enjoy some splendid summer outdoor theatre with Illyria. They will perform Much Ado About Nothing (11 July), Dr Doolittle (17 July) and HMS Pinafore (21 August) in this spectacular setting. Find out more and book your tickets at www.illyria.co.uk.

9. Geilston Garden, by Cardross, Argyll & Bute

14 – 15 August

Delightful Geilston Garden near Cardross, Argyll & Bute

Delightful Geilston Garden near Cardross, Argyll & Bute © National Trust for Scotland

Nestling quietly on the River Clyde, this 200-year-old National Trust for Scotland garden is awash with blazing colour during the summer months. The walled garden is a sight to behold, and the kids will love the play area, mini-maze and exploring the wilder woodland beside the Geilston Burn.

As part of the Scottish Summer Garden Festival, between 11am and 3pm, Geilston Garden are encouraging visitors to follow the Teddy Bears Picnic Trail and look for clues that will lead to their Teddy Bears Picnic! Dress for the weather, pack a tasty picnic and remember to bring along your best dressed Teddy as you explore Geilston Garden’s Teddy Bears Picnic Trail!

Getting to Geilston Garden by public transport is easy, as the garden is only a 20-minute walk from Cardross station and there’s also a bus stop next to the garden’s entrance.

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. There are plenty of other events taking place at Gordon Castle Walled Garden near Fochabers, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Dawyck Botanic Garden and Abbotsford – The Home of Sir Walter Scott in the Scottish Borders.

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