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22 Mar 2019

Scottish Rhododendron Festival 2019

Rhododendrons in bloom at Inverewe Garden
Discover spectacular rhododendron displays across the country during this year’s Scottish Rhododendron Festival.

The Scottish Rhododendron Festival is organised by Discover Scottish Gardens, and runs from 1 April to 31 May 2019. Each year, the festival promotes some of the best gardens and woodlands where you can enjoy the arrival of these gorgeous flowers.

Highlights of this year’s festival include displays in Argyll, Ayrshire, Perth and the Highlands.

Branklyn Garden, Perth

1 April–31 May

Rhododendron display at Branklyn Garden

Rhododendrons make up a large part of the total collection of plants grown at Branklyn, with many of the species introduced by the great plant collectors Forrest, Ludlow, Sherriff and Kingdon Ward. Early-flowering species include RR. piercei and racemosum while a form of macabeanum will also produce an early flush of flowers.

Highlights continue through the season with a large specimen of R. ‘Cynthia’, splendid foliage contrasting with flowers on R. bureavii. There are a number of sweetly scented azaleas, and vibrant orange flowers on R. coccinea var. speciosa. Branklyn holds a number of National Plant Collections (run by Plant Heritage) including the Rhododendron taliense section.

Culzean Castle & Country Park, South Ayrshire

18 March–31 May

Rhododendron display at Culzean Castle & Country Park

Culzean provides the perfect day out – whether you’re a keen walker, interested in architecture or happy just to soak up some history. Gardeners can take inspiration from the magnificent and productive double Walled Garden, with its huge herbaceous borders and beautifully restored Victorian vinery.

As you walk around, you can’t help but admire the colourful displays of rhododendrons, many of which are scented and have beautiful barks and leaves to enjoy. Out around the country park, miles of waymarked paths lead you on a voyage of discovery through majestic woodland and past secluded ponds.

Brodie Castle, Forres

18 March–31 May

Rhododendron display at Brodie Castle

Discover Brodie Castle’s colourful collection of rhododendrons in the beautiful shrubbery, and across the wider estate. Enjoy these vivid flowers with their delicate fragrance at their very best, set against the backdrop of the magnificent rose-coloured turreted castle.

While you explore one of our woodland walks, also keep your eyes peeled for red squirrels, or meander around the pond looking at the variety of wildfowl and dragonflies.

Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park, Arran

5 April–31 May

Rhododendron display at Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park

Begun in 1923 by Lady Mary Louise, 6th Duchess of Montrose, the Brodick Castle garden holds three national collections of rhododendron that flower in almost every month of the year. The rhododendron collection at Brodick Castle is known throughout the world. Many examples have been internationally recognised, including Fortune, a hybrid that has large yellow flowers and has won Best Hybrid in Show at the Scottish Rhododendron Society’s annual show.

The gardens have a huge variety of rhododendrons, particularly in the middle and lower Rhododendron Walks and the newly re-opened Plant Hunters Walk.

Arduaine Garden, Oban

30 March–31 May

Rhododendron display at Arduaine Garden

Arduaine Garden is well-known in international rhododendron circles for the number of wonderful species grown here. Our wonderful collection is extensive, containing close to 400 distinct species of differing sizes with a variety of foliage shapes and an astonishing range of colour and form.

Begun in 1898, Arduaine Garden lies on a rocky promontory at the head of the Sound of Jura and enjoys not only breathtaking views over the strait but also the warming benefits of the North Atlantic Drift, allowing for a wider range of plants than is usual in this part of the world.

Inverewe, Poolewe

1 April–30 May

Rhododendron display at Inverewe Garden

Discover Inverewe’s magnificent collection of rhododendrons during April and May. Inverewe has a national heritage collection of over 400 different varieties that colour and give fragrance to the garden all year round.

The collection was cultivated originally by Osgood Mackenzie in the 19th century to ensure a rhododendron was in flower for every month of the year - even on Christmas Day.

The event features guided walks and specialist talks.

Crarae Garden, Inveraray

30 March–31 May

Rhododendron display at Crarae Garden

Crarae is a spectacular 50-acre woodland garden in a dramatic setting with a wonderful collection of woody plants centred on the Crarae Burn, which tumbles through a rocky gorge in a series of cascades, creating the feel of a Himalayan valley. Since acquiring the garden in 2001, the National Trust for Scotland has restored the infrastructure (dating from 1912) and added new plantings, including many recently collected, wild-origin rhododendrons.

Geilston Garden, Cardross

18 May

Rhododendron display at Crarae Garden

Join local artist Carol Moore for a pastel workshop taking inspiration from the rhododendrons in the award-winning garden. Twice awarded at the Pastel Society in London, Carol will encourage participants to explore their surroundings and create preparatory sketches in a variety of drawing media with a view to developing this to soft pastel colour, stepping across the boundary between drawing into painting for impactful results. The workshop will take place during the Scottish Rhododendron Festival.