Although Scotland lies in the far northern reaches of this island, where winter temperatures regularly drop below 0 and snow covers the mountains for long periods. There are many areas that are protected by steep valleys, and others near the coastline, where the warm Gulf Stream creates a unique microclimate that can sustain a range of tender and exotic plants from around the world, including palms, tree ferns, eucalyptus and rhododendrons.
Broughton Gardens © David Hawgood (CC2)
Enchanting garden with Japanese influences, developed behind the 18th-c. house of Scottish painter E. A. Hornel. Features include an art gallery, studio, library, exhibition room and gift shop, overlooking the picturesque and peaceful garden.
gallery, gift shop
Open: February to March
Address: 12 High Street, Kirkcudbright DG6 4JX
Tel: 08444 932246 - National Trust for Scotland
A lovely three-acre walled garden surrounding an 18th-c country house, currently run as a hotel. The garden hosts an extensive collection of rare perennials and grasses. The working kitchen garden and greenhouses still provide fruit and vegetables for the house. The nearby Cally oak woods provide excellent forest trails. Onsite Nursery.
Facilities: hotel, restaurant,
Open: Easter to September
Address: Castle Douglas DG7 2DL
Tel: 01557 815029
Long Double Border © Humphrey Bolton (CC2)
Magnificent historic gardens set alongside the romantic ruins of a 16th-c. Castle. Landscaped on a grand scale with lily ponds, terraces and long avenues. Seasonal treats include massed snowdrops, banks of spring flowers, rhododendron and magnolia displays. Contains many rare and unusual plants, mature trees and a fine walled garden that is glorious mid summer.
gift shop, plant centre
Open: all year: 10am-5pm
Address: Castle Kennedy, Stranraer DG9 8SJ
Tel: 01776 702024
Walled Garden © Dr Richard Murray (CC2)
Traditional Victorian gardens, with vibrant spring and summer colour leading on to rich autumn textures with ornamental grasses. Naturalistic plantings with a good collection of lilacs, roses, spring bulbs and early flowering perennials. Snowdrop Festival in February, with over 350 varieties on display. Other regular events held throughout the year.
plant sales, dogs welcome
Open: all year
Address: Kingsbarns, St Andrews KY16 8QD
Tel: 01333 450 313
Blue Meconopsis - by fotshot (CC0)
Charming garden hidden away in the Moffat Hills. The garden is packed with an extraordinary range of prized plants that thrive in the local microclimate, from blue poppies to giant lilies. Enjoy the spectacular waterfall walk that leads out to spectacular views over the garden.
Open: Easter to October
Address: Craigieburn House, DG10 9LF
Tel: 01683 221250
Crathes Formal Gardens - by Wolfblur (CC0)
Over 90 lavishly planted acres surround this romantic turreted house. A modern 20th century garden, with influences of Hidcote. Created on a much older site (circa 1700). Walled gardens and themed gardens with densely planted herbaceous borders. Several with single colour themes. Many rare and unusual plants. Wild gardens and woodland walks.
gift shop, play area
Open: January to December
Address: Crathes, Banchory AB31 5QH
Tel: 0845 0949273 National Trust for Scotland
Ornamental gardens © Martin Addison (CC2)
Magnificent 19th-c. castle with spectacular views over some of the most impressive formal gardens. Laid out in the 1830s by lord and lady Willoughby de Eresby. Statues, urns and sculptures reside among symmetrically hedged parterres, interplanted with gravel, flowering shrubs & seasonal flowers that add structure and texture throughout the year.
Facilities: parking, refreshments
Open: May to October
Address: Muthill, Crieff PH7 4HZ
Tel: 01764 681433
Circular Parterre - by fotshot (CC0)
Romantic early 19th-c. fantasy style castle, overlooking magnificently laid out terraced gardens, with long borders of bold mixed plantings. Below these are formal gardens with a circular box-edged parterre, planted with clipped yew, old roses and geraniums. June onwards is a good time to see the traditional 18th-c. potager, featuring vegetables and flowers of the period.
Address: Golspie KW10 6SF
Tel: 01408 633177
Water Lilies (FM)
Twelve acre naturally landscaped site with beautiful views across Luce Bay and the Mull of Galloway. Centred around a lochan adorned with water lilies and lush waterside vegetation, bordered by a vast array of imaginative planting. Highlights include an arboretum and wilderness area with unstructured habitats and natural planting that encourages wildlife.
tearooms, plant sales
Open: Easter to September
Address: Glenwhan, Stranraer DG9 8PH
Tel: 01581 400222
Inveraray Mixed Borders - by Hex_patrick (CC0)
There is always something to see at Inveraray, which rewards a visit at any time of year. With drifts of yellow daffodils in spring, followed in April by the vibrant reds, pinks and whites of azaleas and rhododendrons. The ancient woodland walks are laced with bluebells in May and the long double 'Flag-Borders' bloom from early summer to late autumn, with a wide variety of shrubs and herbaceous perennials.
shop, picnic areas
Open: 1st April to 31st October
Address: Inveraray PA32 8XFL
Tel: 01499 302203
Rhododendron 'English Roseum' © SG
The garden's protected location and the warm currents of the Gulf Stream create a unique mild microclimate, enabling the growth of many tender plants from around the world, such as Australia, China, New Zealand and South America. Including palms, tree ferns, eucalyptus and many large rhododendrons. 50 acre woodland, with Birches, Barbatum and other trees with ornamental bark.
Open: April to December
Address: Poolewe, Achnasheen IV22 2LG
Tel: 01445 712952 - National Trust for Scotland
Cordyline australis - by janeb13 (CC0)
An idyllic paradise set amidst some of the most majestic scenery in Scotland. Part of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Its mild westerly microclimate supports an amazing collection of Southern Hemisphere plants, including tree ferns and cabbage palms (cordyline australis). The focal point of the garden is a large fish pond carpeted in summer with water lilies.
refreshments, gift shop
Open: February to October
Address: Dumfries and Galloway
Tel: 01776 860231
Giant Water Lilies (ASP)
Over 70 acres of peaceful and beautiful gardens, just a short distance from Edinburgh city centre. Britain's tallest Palm House, sequoias, and a native Highlands Heath garden. Multiple glasshouses with a huge range of exotic plants. Fine woodland garden and arboretum. The world-famous alpine rock garden is particularly good in spring/early summer.
Facilities: cafe, restaurant, shop
Open: daily from 10am (exc. Xmas)
Address: Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR
Tel: 0131 248 2909
Peacock Butterfly © Seasonal Gardening
Large estate gardens with over 100 acres of grounds and green open space. The informal garden areas are filled with plants beneficial to butterflies, bees and insects. Painted ladies, Peacocks, Red Admirals and small Tortoise Shells are just some of the butterflies you might see here. Adventure playground and Star Maze for the children.
gift shop, cafe,
Open: April to October
Address: Perth PH2 6BD
Tel: 01738 552300
Narcissus ‘King Alfred’ © Seasonal Gardening
Spectacular vast estate with good variety and interest throughout the seasons. Well known for its displays of daffodils and spring flowering bulbs. Impressive walled gardens. Stunning herbaceous borders. Ornamental gardens, fruit, vegetables and glasshouses. The garden's educational layout, provides plenty of inspirational advice for keen gardeners.
gift shop, plant centre
Open: all year, daily (exc. Xmas)
Address: Castle Douglas DG7 1RX
Tel: 01556 502575 - National Trust for Scotland