12 Colourful Gardens in the South of Scotland

by Scotland Starts Here, 14th June 2020
Floors Castle and Gardens | Kelso
12 Colourful Gardens in the South of Scotland

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 the South of Scotland, horticultural history and impressive plant collections meet outstanding creativity. Some of them may be hidden gems but we want to bring them to the fore to share with you. Plan a day out and lose yourself in the region’s colourful gardens. 

Rich Rowe
Dawyck Botanic Garden | Stobo

Where: Stobo

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. 

Castle Kennedy Gardens | Castle Kennedy

Where: Castle Kennedy

Regardless of the time of year, Castle Kennedy Gardens are always worth a visit – in late winter there are swathes of snowdrops followed by bluebells through the woodland walks. Then as spring starts to warm the air there are glorious blossoms on the rhododendrons and azaleas. In the summer the Walled Garden delights and in the dying days of autumn expect rustling leaves and autumnal colour. The gardens are the result of the hard work by the 2nd Earl of Stair in the 1730s with the men and horses of the Royal Scots Greys and the Inniskilling Fusiliers. Explore the more than 30 hectares and each visit will be different from the last.

Floors Castle and Gardens
Floors Castle | Kelso

Where: Kelso

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.

Cordyline Walk, Logan Botanic Garden
Logan Botanic Garden | Port Logan

Where: Port Logan

With the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, the gardens of south west Scotland burst with colour from colourful displays, rare trees and shrubs. Few gardens showcase this as well as Logan Botanic Garden. The outpost of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh on the Rhins of Galloway is known as Scotland’s most exotic Garden, and for good reason. Walk paths lined with palm trees and tree ferns. Get lost in eucalyptus groves. Admire the colourful showcase in the walled gardens. And soak up the views of the Galloways Hills in the distance.

Monteviot House and Gardens | Ancrum

Where: Ancrum

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. 

Woodside | Ancrum

Where: Ancrum

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. 

Mellerstain House & Gardens | Gordon

Where: Gordon

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. 

Spring at Glenwhan Gardens, Glenwhan Gardens
Glenwhan Gardens | Dunragit

Where: Dunragit

Discover one of the country’s most beautiful gardens near Stranraer. With breathtaking views over the Mull of Galloway and all the way across to the Isle of Man, family-run Glenwhan Gardens enjoy a truly spectacular location. Enchanting pathways along two small lakes as well as woodland walks take visitors on a journey to discover this 4-decade-long labour of love, which turned a rough hillside into a colourful oasis. Visitors will find surprises around every corner, from bluebells and azaleas, to over 120 varieties of wildflowers, to the peacocks and red squirrels calling the gardens home. 

Stobo Water Garden, 
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Eileen Henderson - geograph.org.uk/p/379564
Stobo Japanese Water Gardens | Stobo

Where: Stobo

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. 

Abbotsford | Melrose

Where: Melrose

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.

Priorwood Gardens
Priorwood Garden | Melrose

Where: Melrose

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. 

Threave Garden & Estate | Castle Douglas

Where: Castle Douglas 

Whether you’re a lover of gardens or wildlife, Threave Gardens should be on your list of must visit places. Divided into a series of smaller gardens, visitors will find a variety of gardening styles and planting schemes on show, with Threave House at the centre of the gardens. In the springtime, the house is surrounded by fields of daffodils, while in the summertime azaleas and rhododendrons spread colourful cheer. Still, make sure to not only take in the floral displays on the ground. Keep an eye on the sky as well. Threave is not only a garden for all seasons, it is also a haven for ospreys, red kites and bats, which all feel at home in this biodiverse nature reserve.

These are just some of the fantastic gardens you can discover in the South of Scotland. What other places do you enjoy visiting?