From expansive landscapes to classic walled gardens, Britain is a paradise for keen gardeners. And those simply looking to spend a moment among lush greenery will feel right at home, too.
In Midlothian and the Scottish Borders, horticultural history and impressive plant collections meet outstanding creativity. Some of them may be hidden gems but want to bring them to the fore to share with you. Plan a day out and lose yourself in the region’s colourful gardens.
Please note: In light of the coronavirus pandemic, health and safety are of paramount importance. Stay safe and adhere to current government guidance. If you are going for walks or exercise, always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and stay close to home. Closures and access restrictions may apply and will be lifted in line with government guidance. Always check with places directly and avoid all non-essential travel.
Here is a secret we love to share: Nestle at the foot of the Pentland Hills, the Secret Herb Garden is a specialist herb nursery that offers something for everyone. Wander among the flowerbeds that supply the on-site gin distillery, enjoy a cup of tea amongst the vines in the greenhouse and embrace nature. And if you feel inspired by the surroundings, take home some herbs and start your own little garden!
From snowdrops to bluebells, from rhododendrons to autumn foliage, there is always something to see at Dawyck Botanic Garden. The sister site to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh provides a sanctuary for plant lovers as well as those looking to spend a moment in peaceful surroundings. So, take some time out and immerse yourself in nature. Meander along the woodland paths and marvel at some of Britain’s oldest and tallest trees. Discover some of the rare and endangered plants that thrive in these parts. And breathe in the scent of the colourful azalea terrace. A visit to Dawyck is a trip around the world in plants.
If you are looking for stunning plant displays, the gardens at Floors Castle are well worth a visit. See the magnificent Millenium Garden, where box hedges and perfectly shaped lawns form the intertwining initials of the 10th Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe. A charming wisteria-covered summerhouse invites visitors to rest for a moment. And in the Walled Garden, the manicured style gives way to a riot of colour and fragrance. Take a walk along the meandering paths, past rainbow coloured borders, fruit trees and vegetable beds. To top it all off, enjoy afternoon tea at the Terrace Cafe.
While away a few hours and take in these fabulous gardens near Peebles. Visitors are greeted by a vibrant display of colour throughout the season, from fields of snowdrops to daffodils and bluebells. A separate rose garden bursts into bloom during the summer months. And in the autumn, a variety of trees take centre stage displaying seasonal shades. Make sure to explore the original Victorian glasshouses and see if you can spot the butterflies.
The home of the Marquis of Lothian is a must-visit for passionate gardeners. Visitors will find a stunning variety of gardens spilling out across 30 acres and along the River Tweed. Classic features such as the Rose Garden mix with modern displays in the Garden of Persistent Imagination. Perfectly framed views of the scenery, the distinct atmosphere and design in each garden as well as the impressive plant collection all provide a feast for the eyes.
Set in the rolling Roxburghshire countryside, Woodside is the former walled fruit garden for nearby Monteviot House. Though now extended to create a vibrant plant nursery, the layout of the original garden has been retained. With original apple and pear trees, vibrant floral borders and new additions such as ferns, Woodside is a local haven for inspiration. And a wonderfully secluded spot to sit back and relax.
No visit to Mellerstain is complete without a relaxed amble through the gardens and parklands. Take a moment to admire the views. A vast, perfectly trimmed lawn stretches down to the small lake, and on clear days, the Cheviot hills are visible in the distance. Manicured terraces accentuate the symmetry of the Georgian house, while an enchanting thatched cottage hidden among the trees invites visitors to explore even further.
Stobo Castle is well known for its luxurious health facilities. Yet nestled in the grounds of this destination spa you will also find a beautiful Japanese water garden. Specially designed to provide a moment of calm, visitors will find original features such as lanterns, a tea house and humpback bridges. And along the gentle streams and ponds, a variety of Japanese trees and shrubs provide a stunning display. Follow the paths to the striking 60-foot waterfall or simply enjoy the atmosphere of this tranquil oasis.
The home of Sir Walter Scott is known for its whimsical interior and exterior design. The novelist’s creativity, however, extended beyond the walls and into his gardens and estate. With the help of artist friends, Scott created a formal Regency garden made up of three distinct rooms. Each of them has a unique character, framing the fairytale turrets of the house in a different way. From a greenhouse based on a medieval jousting tent to a cloister archway with fragrant roses, visitors will feel inspired to dream up their own Romantic story.
At the heart of the picturesque town of Melrose sits Melrose Abbey, and, just next to it, Priorwood Garden. The rustic walled garden offers a perfect picnic spot. Sheltered by a variety of apple, plum and pear trees, enjoy outstanding views of the abbey ruins. Take in the atmosphere as you soak up the vibrant colours of the herbaceous borders in the dried flower garden or seek shade in the woodland area.
In times gone by, it was considered a necessity for grand houses to have a kitchen garden. And Cringletie has continued this tradition with their walled garden, adding to the hotel’s outstanding offer. Transformed into a peaceful and rich oasis, the 19th-century structure invites guests and visitors alike for a stroll. Wander among the floral displays or listen to the bees buzzing around the fruit trees. And why not stay on and taste some of the homegrown produce in the restaurant.
These are just some of the fantastic gardens you can discover in Midlothian and the Borders. What other places do you enjoy visiting?