Ar­gyll is the per­fect place to en­joy ‘rose tree’ splen­dour

The Oban Times - - Districts -

GAR­DENS through­out Ar­gyll are tak­ing part in a na­tion­wide cel­e­bra­tion of a bloom some de­scribe as Scot­land’s sec­ond na­tional flower – the rhodo­den­dron.

Or­gan­ised by Dis­cover Scot­tish Gar­dens and sup­ported for the first time this year by VisitS­cot­land, the Scot­tish Rhodo­den­dron Fes­ti­val will run un­til May 31.

Com­ing hot on the heels of the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar Scot­tish Snow­drop Fes­ti­val, the Scot­tish Rhodo­den­dron Fes­ti­val will in­clude pub­lic gar­dens and cas­tle grounds all over the coun­try.

A host of gar­dens that make up the Glo­ri­ous Gar­dens of Ar­gyll and Bute, in­clud­ing Crarae Gar­den, Ben­more Botanic Gar­den, Ar­d­u­aine, In­ver­aray Cas­tle and Ard­kin­glas Gar­dens, are tak­ing part.

The fes­ti­val was launched by Glo­ri­ous Gar­dens of Ar­gyll and Bute in 2015.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful first year, Dis­cover Scot­tish Gar­dens ex­tended the fes­ti­val across the coun­try and, in 2017, nearly 60 Scot­tish sites, in­clud­ing pub­lic and pri­vate gar­dens, are tak­ing part. They will be of­fer­ing hor­ti­cul­tural events, guided tours and ex­clu­sive open­ings in cel­e­bra­tion of this ex­otic Asian spring shrub that thrives so well in Scot­land.

From the an­cient Greek for ‘rose’ and ‘tree’, there are more than 1,000 species of rhodo­den­dron, which are fa­mous for their vi­brant colours. More than half of the par­tic­i­pants are open­ing their gar­dens to raise money for na­tional char­ity or­gan­i­sa­tion Scot­land’s Gar­dens.

David Adams McGilp, re­gional di­rec­tor at VisitS­cot­land, said: ‘ We hope peo­ple of all ages will be in­spired to get out and about to en­joy these colour­ful, vi­brant flow­ers around some of Ar­gyll’s most stun­ning gar­dens.’

Peter Bax­ter, cu­ra­tor of Ben­more Botanic Gar­den and chair­man of Glo­ri­ous Gar­dens of Ar­gyll and Bute, said: ‘The rhodo­den­dron sea­son is al­ready well un­der way but many more will still flower in April and May. It is not only a sight to be­hold as aro­matic fo­liage is an­other bonus in rhodo­den­drons which can come as some­thing of a pleas­ant sur­prise to the unini­ti­ated.

‘The west of Scot­land has a par­tic­u­larly good cli­mate for grow­ing this spec­tac­u­lar group of plants, which prompted the Glo­ri­ous Gar­dens of Ar­gyll to in­sti­gate the ini­tial fes­ti­val in Scot­land in 2015.’

To see the full list of par­tic­i­pat­ing gar­dens in the Scot­tish Rhodo­den­dron Fes­ti­val, go to www.visits­cot­land.com/ bloom.

Rhodo­den­drons, like this ex­am­ple in Crarae Gar­den, are com­ing into full mag­nif­i­cent bloom.

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