There has always been something quite magical about gardens. From a young age, children are intrigued by the idea of a secret garden and that aura of mystery that enchants them doesn't have to leave you as you grow older.
Perthshire boasts some of Scotland's most rare and wonderful horticultural jewels. From the stunningly tended grounds of Drummond Castle to the ancient trees of Scone Palace's arboretum there are so many beautiful gardens to enjoy.
Visitors and locals alike marvel at the exquisite topiary, native blooms and towering conifers that adorn the gardens from Perth city centre up to the Highlands of our beautiful county.
A visit to Scone Palace would be incomplete without enjoying the wider estate and Palace grounds including the stunning open gardens, they are as splendid as the Palace itself and together form a great day out in Perthshire.
Distance from Perth city centre: 2 miles
The grounds and open gardens at Scone Palace are home to a variety of wildlife. The red squirrel is attracted to the great woodlands, as are roe deer. The estate grounds provide a sanctuary for birdwatchers with the rare hawfinch which can be spotted in Lime Avenue. Oystercatchers and swallows also make their debuts. On a warm and sunny day look out for an array of butterflies in the colourful Butterfly Garden. Sightings of the rare “comma” butterfly have been recorded. Also, look out for the peacocks who roam freely around the Palace grounds.
David Douglas was born in the village of Scone in 1799 and worked as a gardener at Scone Palace for seven years. Douglas went on to become an explorer and a great plant hunter. To discover more about David Douglas, some of his fellow Scottish tree planters, and the Pinetum, visit the David Douglas Pavilion.
Constructed from Douglas fir, the structure is erected within sight of the towering conifers at Scone and features other timbers sourced from the Estate. Scottish slate, recycled from the Estate, was also used in the construction. Stroll at your leisure through the magnificent Pinetum where, amongst others, giant redwoods and noble firs tower over you then onto the New Pinetum of less hardy and decorative conifers.
Whilst the gardens and grounds are beautiful throughout the year, there are a number of seasonal highlights. Early spring is heralded by the arrival of snowdrops followed by the drifts of daffodils throughout the grounds. The primulas and bluebells bloom in the woodland areas throughout April and May. In May and June, the grounds explode with colour from the rhododendrons and azaleas, while the Laburnum Walkway will also dazzle you with its distinctive bright yellow flowers.
Reinstated in 2014, the Kitchen Garden offers their visitors the opportunity to view the gardens where they are sourcing produce for the Palace kitchens. Pathways have been made through the various vegetable and cut flower beds for our visitors' enjoyment.
Branklyn Garden’s origins date back to the 1920s and ever since it has been one of the country’s most famous and most revered gardens. Regarded as one of the finest private gardens in the whole of Scotland and just a short walk from the city centre, it is the perfect place to take a walk and get some fresh air!
Distance from Perth city centre: 1 mile
Branklyn Garden was developed in the 1920s by John and Dorothy Renton, with the couple keen to create a garden with some of the most unusual and rare species from around the globe. It regularly attracts gardeners and botanists from all over the world, who come to the garden to admire the wide collection of plants.
The couple collected seeds from renowned plant hunters including Frank Ludlow and George Forrest, and that coupled with Dorothy’s expert talents led to the creation of this incredible garden.
The two-acre hillside garden offers garden-lovers the chance to see some different species throughout the year. In spring, you can admire the alpine flowers, dog’s tooth violet and the blue buttercup. In summer, you do not want to miss the magnolias and feathery purple Japanese maple.
Later in the year when autumn arrives, inhale the incredible aroma of the katsura tree. The tree produces a delicious burnt sugar scent when its leaves begin to turn.
The garden is renowned for its huge collection of plant species, particularly rhododendrons, alpine, herbaceous and peat-loving plants. It is little surprise that it remains so popular with avid gardeners and botanists alike!
Branklyn Garden is a must-see when visiting Perthshire, and is just a short walk across the bridge from the city centre.
The Walled Garden (PKAVS) is based in the grounds of the Murray Royal Hospital. It is a tranquil haven for people recovering from mental illness and members of the public alike, just a short walk from Perth city centre.
Distance from Perth city centre: Less than 1 mile
The garden is beautifully maintained and is a peaceful place to unwind coming from the bustling city centre. The garden helps to support those recovering from mental illness by getting them in a working environment – be that in the garden itself or in the garden’s creative studio or Café. There is also a great bank of volunteers who help build service users' confidence and skills while they recover.
The Walled Garden regularly do plant sales as well as seasonal fruit and vegetables. The Garden is open Monday to Friday with a seasonal, outdoor self-service tea and coffee shack. The Café remains closed but will be reopening for monthly events soon – updated on The Walled Garden and Wisecraft’s Facebook page.
There is also an art studio and shop on site where beautiful items crafted by PKAVS clients are sold. You can even commission an item like a picnic bench or bird table – it’s all made with care and built to last!
Situated within the stunning grounds of Blair Castle – Hercules Garden is a magnificent spot in Highland Perthshire. With an impressive Walled Garden among other great features, it has been recently restored to its 18th century form and sits perfectly with the stunning castle backdrop.
Distance from Perth city centre: 34 miles
Within the stunning grounds of Blair Castle, the magnificent Hercules Garden is the ideal place for garden lovers and members of the public to enjoy incredible scenery and a colourful display of plants and trees!
The impressive Walled Garden has recently been restored to its 18th century form, featuring landscaped ponds, a Chinese bridge, plantings, vegetables and an orchard of more than 100 fruit trees. You will also notice the very impressive life-size statue of Hercules himself overlooking the garden. The Hercules Walled Garden is around nine acres in size and boasts a herbaceous border which runs along the 275 metre south-facing wall.
You will spot some of the best of Scottish wildlife too – with Highland cattle often seen grazing in the nearby fields and red squirrels often spotted among the branches of the trees.
You can also enjoy the sculpture trail at Blair Castle’s Hercules Garden, which features contemporary and 18th century sculpture as well as eight new works, letter-carving on stone from the Memorial Arts Charity’s Art and Memory Collection. There is also the tranquil wooded area of Diana’s Grove – which sits adjacent to the castle and boasts a magnificent stand of tall trees including grand fir, Douglas fir, larch and wellingtonia in just two acres.
For an incredible day out where you can see some of Perthshire’s most scenic views and some of Scotland’s best wildlife, make sure you head to Blair Castle’s Hercules Garden.
The enchanting Explorers Garden tells the story of Scottish plant hunters – who risked their lives in order to discover rare and exciting new plant species. Open to the public from 7th Juky and set in the beautiful Highland Perthshire countryside, you can choose to wander the garden with a guided tour or on your own accord!
Distance from Perth city centre: 26 miles
Many Scottish plant hunters risked their lives years ago in an attempt to discover new, rare and exciting plant species. The Explorers Garden showcases many of the different plants discovered across the globe – and celebrates the plant hunter's contributions with great exhibitions and tours!
The Explorers Garden is set into glades, so you know where each species originates from. So you can be strolling through the North American glade one minute, and the next you are trekking through Nepal and the Himalayas!
Experienced tour guides provide great insight into each of the plants, trees, wildlife and history of each glade and the Scottish plant hunters who went there. There are also great exhibitions and workshops for everyone to enjoy.
The American Dream exhibition opened in 2017, sponsored by the Scottish Rock Garden Club. The display is on in the magnificent Douglas Pavilion and features images captured by Julia Corden, a modern day plant hunter. Julia studied the plant species in the Rocky Mountains in the USA, and in the exhibition you can view her work as well as close up images of the plants and the spectacular North American landscape.
The Explorers Garden is renowned for its meconopsis collection, stunning vistas and interesting sculptures and structures. It’s a unique experience to understand different species and the lives of the plant hunters who discovered them.
With a collection of rare and unusual plants, the gardens at Bolfracks are a beautiful and peaceful oasis and the perfect place to unwind. The gardens provide excellent views over the Tay Valley, and is open for the public to come and enjoy.
Distance from Perth city centre: 32 miles
Bolfracks Gardens are renowned for their rare and unusual plants – including a fine collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, acers, old-fashioned roses, and an array of herbaceous perennials.
Boasting spectacular views of the Tay Valley, Bolfracks Gardens have been in existence since the mid-18th century, although much of today’s gardens originate from the 1970s.
The gardens have undergone some major renovations in recent years in order to keep them fresh and in the pristine condition they are in today. Two large old beds have been removed and replaced by four smaller, more manageable beds. There are also brand new peony beds and a new short and wide herbaceous border at the East End of the lawn.
The beautiful Bolfracks Gardens are an inspiration to many aspiring gardeners as well as those who just appreciate taking a wander around, absorbing the scenery. The gardens are open to the public from the beginning of April through to the end of October, and children under 16 can enter free of charge!
Along with the Walled Garden, there is also a wooded garden with a burn which is less formal. There is also a beautiful summerhouse in the garden built in the 1930s.
Depending on when you visit, you will come across a wide range of plant species. Visit in the high summer and you will see and smell wonderful and fragrant roses, whereas a visit in September or October will provide a magnificent splash of autumn colour!
Please note: Bolfracks Garden is currently closed due to major renovations at the castle. Check out their website for updates.
Set in a stunning woodland garden in Highland Perthshire, Cluny House Gardens are home to exotic plants and trees originating from the Himalayas and North America. The gardens overlook the scenic Strathtay Valley and are home to red squirrels and a variety of different bird species.
Distance from Perth city centre: 30 miles
With a garden originating from the 1950s, Cluny House Gardens in Aberfeldy are breathtakingly beautiful. The garden is home to some of Scotland’s best wildlife, so it’s ideal for birdwatchers!
The garden was created in the 1950s by Bobby and Betty Masterton – who had a specific interest in exotic Himalayan plants which thrive in the gardens' conditions. One of the most striking of these is the Tibetan cherry tree, a large tree notable for its mahogany peeling bark. Other species that flourish in Cluny House Gardens include lilies – some of which reach a staggering 4m height – and meconopsis, also known as the blue poppy.
In early spring Cluny is renowned for carpets of Dog Tooth Violets and large clumps of Trilliums. One of June's highlights is a splendid Handkerchief Tree with beautiful white bracts trembling in the breeze. Autumn colour from late September through October is spectacular emphasised by the many Japanese maples within the garden.
Cluny is one of the sites included in the Perthshire Big Tree Country Heritage and Access project, celebrating the amazing woodland heritage in the area and coordinated by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust.
The gardens origins date back to the 1600s and are within the grounds of Drummond Castle. In the gardens, you will find an abundance of beautiful flowers and hedges with amazing views of the surrounding scenery and the castle – which is not open to the public but provides an incredible backdrop.
Distance from Perth city centre: 20 miles
Regarded as not only one of Scotland’s but one of Europe’s most impressive formal gardens, Drummond Castle Gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting the Crieff area!
It is little wonder the gardens have featured many times on television – most notably in the film Rob Roy and the series Outlander.
Although the gardens date back to the 17th century, they were transformed, redesigned and terraced in the 19th century. The formal gardens that you see today were replanted in the 1950s but maintain the same original features as before. This includes the ancient yew trees and the remaining commemoration of Queen Victoria’s 1842 visit – a beech tree.
Although entry is permitted to the gardens, the castle itself is not open to the public. The castle and gardens are set on part of a prominent spine of rock known as the Gask Ridge. The castle’s gardens are described as “the best example of formal terraced gardens in the country” by Historic Scotland.
Open Season is from 1st May – 31st October, with a Charity Open Day Event held on the first Sunday of August each year.
Nestled amidst the picturesque Perthshire countryside just 4 miles from Perth, The Bield Gardens at Blackruthven offer a delightful escape from the daily grind. Set within 30 acres of glorious countryside, the serene landscapes, vibrant blooms and enchanting features of this hidden gem promise a memorable experience for all who visit.
Distance from Perth city centre: 4 miles
Meander through a labyrinth of well-maintained paths that wind through various themed gardens. From the calming fragrance of the Rose Garden to the vibrant colours of the Herbaceous Borders, each section is a treat for the senses.
Discover an array of rare plant species, richly stocked borders, all creating a captivating display of nature's beauty within the secluded Walled Garden.
Throughout the gardens are plentiful spots for relaxation and reflection, with benches and charming spots to sit, relax and absorb the tranquil ambiance. Perfect for taking in the beauty of your surroundings.
Explore the beautiful cut-flower garden, Healing Garden, glasshouse, trained fruit trees and organic vegetable plot.
The Bield are members of the Quiet Garden Movement and you are welcome to walk around their gardens and grounds. Pre-booking is essential.
More Info: www.bieldatblackruthven.org.uk
With captivating views of the Ochil Hills, Braco Castle Gardens are absolutely delightful! Their origins date back to the 19th century and the castle gardens boast a huge range of stunning plant and tree species! The gardens open from February to October – opening earlier than most other local gardens for the Snowdrop Festival!
Distance from Perth city centre: 26 miles
A 19th-century landscaped garden with a plethora of wonderful and interesting trees, shrubs, bulbs and plants.
An old garden for all seasons that has been extensively expanded over the last 33 years.
The partly walled garden is approached on a rhododendron and tree-lined path featuring an ornamental pond.
Spectacular spring bulbs, exuberant shrub and herbaceous borders and many ornamental trees are all enhanced by the spectacular views across the park to the Ochils. From snowdrops through to vibrant autumn colour, this garden is a gem.
Look out for the embothrium in June, hoheria in August, eucryphia in September and an interesting collection of rhododendrons and azaleas with long flowering season.
Nestled alongside the River Ericht, Glenericht House Gardens are a beautiful woodland spot boasting 92 tree varieties! With beautiful beech trees that span the entire driveway on the entrance to the gardens, the setting is spectacular and it’s the perfect place for a walk in amongst some of Perthshire’s finest woodland!
Distance from Perth city centre: 21 miles
Close to Bridge of Cally, you will find Glenericht House Gardens – a beautiful and scenic woodland garden with an array of enormous trees in many different varieties. Crane your neck skywards as you look up to the top of the trees in one of Perthshire’s most magnificent woodlands!
With a stunning grade ‘A’ listed suspension bridge spanning the river, the scenery is awe-inspiring and quite unique. In the gardens, you will find an abundance of impressive trees.
The woodland walk is absolutely lovely and you will be able to spot the Victorian planted trees and shrubs along the way. It is tucked away covered by the tall trees meaning you will find a peaceful and tranquil spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Of the 92 different tree varieties, most are conifers and you will be astounded by the height of the top Douglas fir – which stands at 171 feet and still growing! It truly is a sight to behold!
In May, just before the summer gets into full swing, you will be able to view the bright and colourful daffodils and the rhododendrons in flower. A peaceful woodland getaway, the Glenericht House Gardens are ideal for keen gardeners and members of the public alike.