Scotland should be more famous for its beautiful Gardens. Most visitors come to Scotland to enjoy the wild landscapes and rugged mountain scenes. Many are surprised if they also take time to visit one or two of the wide and varied stunning gardens which are open to the public.
These may be old walled gardens in the grounds of an ancient castle such as the amazing gardens of historic Blair Castle in Perthshire. Visitors are delighted to see the red painted Chinese Bridge and the sculpted lake with masses of beautiful lilies in the middle of the garden walkway.
Do you want a peaceful sanctuary perhaps? Do you want to hear the story of the woman who created Branklyn Gardens in the 1920's from seeds collected by plant hunters. This two acre site on a hillside on the outskirts of the city of Perth is a really special surprise. Enjoy strolling through the flowers, pathways and shrubs, then sample a delicious tea and cake in the Tearoom.
Further east, near the small rural town of Dollar, enjoy a quite different Scottish garden. Visit the historic Japanese Garden of Cowden. This was created by Ella Christie who returned home to Scotland inspired by the magnificent gardens she had enjoyed on her trip to Japan.
She chose a female designer, the gifted Taki Handa, to create the seven acre sight, in the grounds of Cowden Castle. She was very proud that it was the first and is the only one of such a size to be designed by a woman. The garden has been brought back to life and is loved by locals and visitors from across the globe.
It is special in the way the carefully sculpted pathways and stones all tell a story. The newly restored Garden Pavilion, with it's perfectly thatched new roof, is a wonderful centre to this bridge between Scottish and Japanese culture. It is based on the Katsura Palace in Kyoto and will enjoy life as a meeting place with the Garden.
One of the features of this Japanese Scottish Garden is the concept of the "Borrowed Landscape" which takes the distant Ochil Hills mountains and allows it to be a beautiful backdrop to the Japanese garden.
The stunning herbaceous borders of many of Scotland's castles or country mansions are the prize feature which many visitors love to admire. From early spring until later autumn the flowers change and the busy gardeners make sure there is plenty to see, smell and admire. Queen Anne's Garden with the medieval Stirling castle is a great example of this. Set beneath the Royal Palace the gardens are used for ceremonial occasions today.