This exotic splash of wilderness in the gentle hills of Argyll is a Himalayan-style glen. The sparkling waters of the Crarae Burn form the centrepiece for a paradise of rocky gorges, wooden bridges and thickets of maple, birch and evergreens, blending with colourful sprays of flowers.
Crarae Garden was created in 1912 by Lady Grace Campbell, the aunt of intrepid plant hunter Reginald Farrer, who sourced trees and shrubs from China, Nepal and Tibet. The garden is a magical spot at any time of year, with the earlier flowers of countless rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and magnolias being replaced later in autumn by the rich tints of foliage and fruit.
This tranquil garden, which stretches to around 25 hectares, hosts an amazingly varied collection of trees, some champions of their species, and a National Collection of southern beech. It also features one of the most significant groups of rhododendrons in Scotland.
You may spot a variety of wildlife, including deer with fawns, treecreepers, ravens, woodpeckers, dippers and birds of prey such as buzzards, sparrowhawks and peregrine falcons, which nest nearby.
There is a visitor centre (open seasonally) at the entrance to the garden, which includes a gift shop and small café. The plant sales area offers a superb range and is well worth a visit.