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The Scottish Rhododendron Festival 2017: a blooming lovely way to embrace spring!

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

It’s one of the most vivid signs of spring. Swathes of bright blues, yellows, purples, pinks and reds spread their way across Scotland, brightening up the dullest of days. That’s right folks, its rhododendron time!

In 2017, the Scottish Rhododendron Festival will take place at several gardens, venues and properties across Scotland as these lovely flowers burst into bloom. Organised by Discover Scottish Gardens, the festival runs from 1 April – 31 May, and can be entered for a small ticket price, a donation or for free. Over half of the gardens taking part are opening to support the charity Scotland’s Gardens.

Rhododendrons at Glengorm Castle, Isle of Mull

Glengorm Castle, Isle of Mull

Fun fact: Rhododendrons require acidic soil to thrive and some of their natural habitats include the Himalayas, Japan and China. Lucky for us, most soil in Scotland is naturally acidic, making it a great place for these beautiful flowers to flourish.

See all Scottish Rhododendron Festival events now. Here are a few highlights:

Castle Kennedy Gardens

Castle Kennedy Gardens, Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway

Castle Kennedy Gardens, Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway

With a ruined castle overlooking a beautiful walled garden, two lochs and an abundance of resident wildlife, the grounds at Castle Kennedy are a very special place indeed. They’ve been planting an impressive collection of trees and plants here for over 300 years, and their displays of rhodos and azaleas are not to be missed this season.

Benmore Botanic Garden

Hidden within a magnificent mountainside setting on the Cowal Peninsula, the Benmore Botanic Garden will welcome you through a fine entrance of towering, ancient redwoods. This spring, take some beautiful photographs here with the spectacular display of rhododendrons on show, or head up to the dramatic viewpoint at 140 m where you can look over the Holy Loch and the tips of neighbouring mountain peaks.

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

On a cheerful spring day in the capital, what could beat a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh? This iconic garden has studied the cultivation and conservation of rhododendrons in their natural habitats for many years. Take a stroll with a knowledgeable garden guide and admire the 260 exotic species which thrive inside the glasshouses.

Dawyck Botanic Garden

Another delightful place for flower fanatics, the ancient species of rhodedendrons that grow at Dawyck Botanic Garden in the Scottish Borders, are thought to be over 100 years old. Some highlights to behold include the picture-perfect Dutch Bridge, the blissful colours of spring along the Beech Walk and the vibrant Azalea Terrace.

Logan Botanic Garden

Logan Botanic Gardens © Dumfries & Galloway Council / Mark Geddes

Logan Botanic Gardens, Port Logan © Dumfries & Galloway Council / Mark Geddes

Thanks to a mild climate swept in by the Gulf Stream, an exotic collection of unusual and beautiful plants blossom brightly in this little pocket of south west Scotland. Relax with a cuppa and a cake in the award-winning Potting Shed Bistro.

Glendoick Gardens

The rhododendrons here are legendary! The garden, near Perth, was founded by the green-fingered Cox family, who built a specialist plant nursery here in the 1950s which has raised over 50 new hybrid rhododendrons and azaleas.

Inverewe Garden & Estate

Inverewe Gardens, Highlands

Inverewe Gardens, north west Highlands

An oasis of peace and quiet, escape the everyday with a trip to Inverewe, which is home to everything from Australian tree ferns to Chinese rhodos and more recently, a grove of Wollemi pines.

Branklyn Garden

Branklyn Garden, Perth

Branklyn Garden, Perth

For generations, Branklyn Garden has welcomed an explosion of colour from its exceptional setting on the side of Kinnoull Hill, overlooking Perth. This spring, keep an eye out for alpine flowers, dog’s tooth violets and the blue buttercup as you take an invigorating amble around the lush gardens.

How are you celebrating the springtime joys of #rhodofest? Share all your pictures with us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and visit Discover Scottish Gardens for more information about where to see rhododendrons this season.

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Annierose Knox

Originally from Castle Douglas, Annierose's favourite things include being by the seaside, road trips, jogging around Edinburgh, taking pictures and exploring the rest of Scotland.

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