Festival in bloom for fourth year

Several Fife properties are celebrating the diversity of the rhododendron by taking part in this year's festival.
Several Fife properties are celebrating the diversity of the rhododendron by taking part in this year's festival.

Gardens and estates in Fife are opening to the public to celebrate the diverse world of the rhododendron.

Now in its fourth year, the Scottish Rhododendron Festival began on Saturday and will run until May 31 with several local properties taking part.

The annual event is organised by national garden tourism group Discover Scottish Gardens, supported by VisitScotland, Glorious Gardens of Argyll & Bute and Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, which has organised open days at private gardens across the country to raise money for a selection of nominated charities.

Its aim is to encourage local audiences and tourists to enjoy the wonders of Scotland’s gardens during the plants’ flowering period and highlight the diversity and plethora of rhododendron collections that can be found in Scotland.

Venues taking part this year are Kirklands House, Saline, where visitors can enjoy rhododendrons and azaleas from dwarf varieties of the rockery to big established bushes in the woodland garden, as well as bluebells, meconopsis and trilliums; Earlshall Castle near Leuchars, which features an extensive and interesting garden designed by Sir Robert Lorimer including its fascinating topiary lawn, for which it is renowned; Glassmount House, by Kirkcaldy, has a densely-planted walled garden with surrounding woodland, a stunning greenhouse and historical doocot; and Lindores House, by Newburgh, features a woodland walk beside the loch and stunning views from the garden.

Each property will be hosting activities and rhododendron walks for all the family and given there are around 1,000 species, there will be much diversity to enjoy.

David Knott, curator at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden, which includes a world centre for rhododendron studies, said: “Rhododendrons make such a significant contribution and provide fantastic displays in many Scottish gardens.

“Many will have already begun to bloom in gardens across the country, despite the recent bad weather we have experienced this spring.”

Further information about events being held across the country can be found online at discoverscottishgardens.org/events.