Broadwoodside, Gifford, East Lothian

If you’re able to visit Broadwoodside garden at Gifford in East Lothian you’re a/ extremely lucky and b/ unlikely to forget it. Broadwoodside is a private garden. It only opens around once year for Scotland’s Garden scheme but Anna and Robert Dalrymple will host groups of discerning horticulturists and on this occasion made our small party wonderfully welcome. The history of this special site goes back 500 years, but in 1998 it was little more than a pile of stones. Since then the investment of ambition; creativity; eccentricity; hard work and funding has produced what my hard-to-impress sister Laura...

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Dawyck Botanic Garden

The Dawyck experience starts a little before you actually reach the garden.  That’s because it lies in the pretty Scottish Borders 28 miles south of Edinburgh. Rolling hills, low stone walls and the babbling River Tweed get you fully in the mood for this great woodland garden which has a devoted following. You see, Dawyck is more of a walk with benefits. It’s the sort of place you go if you want to enjoy trees, learn about woodland biodiversity or to discuss that ‘very difficult topic’ one-to-one and have a decently long stomp in a public-but-private environment while you...

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Lindisfarne Castle Gardens, Northumberland

If you like your garden visiting to be a little magical, a little bit mysterious, to be something you want to go back to, to see if it was really real, go to Lindisfarne on Holy Island. Designed by the legendary Gertrude Jekyll over a century ago, it is no more than 30 x 50 metres inside a wall on a bare, North Sea headland. Owned by the National Trust the path to it across grassland is wholly unpromising. You may imagine it’s a broken down sheep fank until you go through its small gate. But I’m getting ahead...

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Alnwick Castle Gardens, Northumberland

You know that Alnwick Castle featured as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, right? (gulp, me neither) but in fact the most amazing thing about Alnwick is how absolutely wizard its gardens are. I know, I know, the heart of a keen gardener might sink a little at the prospect of a garden attached to such a global tourist attraction and in truth the frankly amazing water feature, zany mazes, talking trees and vast treehouse restaurant are a little as though Disneyworld had a baby with the Palace of Versailles, but believe me, it’s high calibre fun. Alnwick crouches just...

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