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4 Jul 2022

Summer in our gardens

Written by Nicola Todd-Macnaughton
A circular pool is surrounded by a low box hedge in a pretty walled garden. Behind the pool are roses trained against a wall and trellises with climbing plants.
The garden at Drum Castle
Our gardens are a feast for all the senses in the summer months – from the heady scent of roses to the spectacular rainbow of lilies and poppies.

Brodick Castle

A Scottish summer would not be complete without a trip to Arran. The island’s microclimate and proximity to the warm currents of the Gulf Stream make Brodick Castle’s walled garden an ideal place to grow an enticing collection of tender plants that are rarely seen outdoors in Scotland. The hot-themed herbaceous borders in the walled garden are filled with standout architectural plants such as Melianthus major (honey flower), Eryngium pandanifolium ‘Physic Purple’ and a range of Kniphofia (red-hot pokers). Take some time to wander around the Silver Garden and admire the collection of outdoor art installations, including a life-size stag statue, windchimes and a giant xylophone, which are a nod to the castle’s extensive silver collection and Arran’s mythological history.

Plan your visit to Brodick Castle

A series of tall, rectangular mirror panels stand in woodland garden, reflecting trees and blue sky.
The Silver Garden at Brodick Castle

Harmony Garden

Dating back to the 19th century, this productive garden is a hidden gem, just a stone’s throw from Melrose Abbey and a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of Melrose town centre. The traditional kitchen garden is a feast for all the senses, brimming with an array of colours and culinary delights during the summer months. Apples, pears and plums are trained against the inner walls of the garden, maximising use of its edges. A ‘Brown Turkey’ fig fruits beautifully, sheltered against the wall of the shed. Take a tranquil stroll through 3 acres of manicured lawns where four-legged friends are welcome.

Plan your visit to Harmony Garden

A paved path runs through a walled garden, with colourful flower beds either side. The ruins of Melrose Abbey can be seen just behind the stone garden wall.
Harmony Garden in summer

Culzean Castle

At 120m in length, the size and scale of the double herbaceous borders at Culzean are impressive and breathtaking. Each pair contains around 1,000 plants and more than 70 varieties, including Gillenia trifoliata, Thalictrum ‘Elin’ and Crocosmia pottsii ‘Culzean Peach’. Be sure to visit the Fountain Court, a sunken garden next to the castle, boasting exotic-looking plants such as Eriobotrya japonica (Japanese loquat). This section has its own orangery, complete with flourishing citrus trees. Look out for our wicker sculptures – a large onion arbour, a pear and a life-size gardener working the ground in the vegetable garden.

Plan your visit to Culzean Castle

A large willow sculpture of a pear stands beneath a pear tree in a walled garden.
The giant pear in Culzean’s walled garden | Image: Dougie Cunningham

Drum Castle

The rich petals and heady scents from the Garden of Historic Roses are best enjoyed during June and July. Divided into four areas, each part of this garden features a different design based on one of the past four centuries, complete with roses from the same period. There are hundreds of cultivars of old and modern roses – a feast for all the senses in midsummer. You can also explore the rich biodiversity of the Old Wood of Drum, an expansive area of oak woodland pasture on land that was gifted to the Irvines of Drum by Robert the Bruce. Bring your binoculars to see if you can catch a glimpse of jays and red kites.

Plan your visit to Drum Castle

Peach-coloured roses in the gardens at Drum Castle. A stone garden house can be seen in the background.
The Garden of Historic Roses at Drum Castle

Branklyn Garden

Spectacular lilies bred by the late Dr Christopher North are a sight to behold in this summer garden, alongside monocarpic Meconopsis in shades of yellow, pink, purple and red. Groups of Cardiocrinum giganteum (giant Himalayan lily) cannot be missed, growing to a height of 3.5m. The herbaceous borders are brimming with colourful flowering plants, including Digitalis (foxgloves) and roses. The rock gardens are awash with colour from Rhodohypoxis, Campanula and Dianthus. No garden is complete without scented plants, so be sure to track down the rare Philadelphus purpurascens (mock orange) from south-west China – one of the most evocative fragrances of them all.

Plan your visit to Branklyn Garden

A wooden garden bench stands in a garden surrounded by beds filled with a wide variety of shrubs.
Early summer at Branklyn Garden

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