We are truly blessed in this part of south-west Scotland when it comes to beautiful gardens. With shores warmed by the Gulf Stream, gardens in Dumfries and Galloway are home to countless tropical and exotic plant species.
My favourite has to be Logan Botanic Garden – the southerly outpost of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which features rare and wonderful gems from South and Central America, South Africa and Australasia. The cabbage palms, Chusan palms and tree ferns give the Logan a particularly tropical accent, while the pre-historic looking Gunnera bog adds a touch of quirkiness to this enchanting place.
I always mention the Potting Shed Bistro in my ramblings on Logan and today is no exception – it’s a must-eat destination in Galloway. Don’t forget to leave room for the cheese cake, especially if it’s the raspberry one.
Designed and created from scratch on moorland 35 years ago, Glenwhan at Dunragit is perhaps the most impressive of the gardens close to Corsewall Estate Holiday Cottages. At 300 feet, with beautiful views overlooking Luce Bay, on a clear day you can see the Isle of Man from Glenwhan. The gardens have magnificent collections of plants from across the globe. Enjoy the pretty paths that wind through the banks of azaleas, rhododendrons and exotic plants from the southern hemisphere. Later in the year, a 17-acre wild flower trail with 120 species of flowers, grasses and ferns comes into its own.
Ardwell House on the south Rhins has a wonderful spring garden with carpets of daffodils and bluebells and pretty woodland walks. It is also home to an impressively wide range of azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons – all which flourish in this exotic corner of Scotland. Spring and early summer is definitely the time to visit this colourful spot.
Logan House Gardens, which is separate to Logan Botanic Garden, is a Victorian woodland garden, which boasts champion trees, sweeping lawns and pretty pathways through shrubberies and a grand monkey puzzle tree avenue.
In May and June, Castle Kennedy Gardens, which are laid out on a peninsula of 75 acres of terraced lawns and majestic avenues of trees set between two lochs are bursting with rhododendrons and azaleas and features a 2-acre lily pond. There are lots of lovely walks through the avenues and beside the lochs to enjoy and in the summer, the herbaceous borders in the walled garden will not disappoint. There’s also a tea room here to refuel afterwards.
Dunskey Garden, which is within easy walking distance of our four-star Portpatrick self- catering holiday house, Cedar Lodge, (sleeps 8) has lovely woodland walks, a beautifully restored walled garden, a tea room and a wonderful maze, that’ll fox even the wiliest of children. At this time of year, the woods are carpeted in bluebells, which makes walks through the estate magical.
There are also several glorious gardens that are open by arrangement through Scotland’s Garden Scheme – from Craichlaw at Kirkcowan and Balker Farmhouse at Castle Kennedy to Claymoddie Garden near Whithorn.
Also, well worth a visit, a little further up the coast in Ayrshire is Dumfries House, one of Britain’s most beautiful stately homes. Bought by HRH Prince Charles in 2007, he set about restoring and creating wonderful gardens and landscapes in the grounds. The Arboretum is home to over 500 tree specimens and a wide range of shrubs and woodland flowers, while the magnificent five-acre walled garden is one of the largest and most impressive in Scotland. We enjoyed a hot sunny day here last August and I was so inspired by the beautiful floral planting schemes in the herbaceous borders – all immaculately tended of course. Maybe when life is not quite so busy I’ll have time to focus on creating my own garden and cultivating my green fingers!
Whether you are looking for a family holiday in Dumfries and Galloway, a short break with your other half or with an annual trip with a regular group of gardening friends, Corsewall Estate Holiday Cottages are all well located to take in lots of wonderful gardens across south west Scotland. It’s also the perfect time to stay with the gardens around Garden Cottage and Stables Cottage awash with colour from the magnolias, rhododendrons, azaleas and carpets of bluebells and the giant gunnera emerging at the end of the lawns. We still have some availability in May and June at Cedar Lodge in Portpatrick or Stables Cottage and High Clachan Farmhouse on Corsewall Estate.