All Rhododendrons Lead to Dumfries and Galloway – Festival celebrates Scotland’s ‘Second National Flower’

Gardens and horticultural businesses in Dumfries & Galloway are set to take part in a nationwide celebration of 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 begins this weekend and will run until 31 May. It will incorporate a number of existing festivals and events as well as highlight other public spaces where visitors can enjoy the spectacular blooms.

Coming hot on the heels of the increasingly popular Scottish Snowdrop Festival, the Scottish Rhododendron Festival will include public gardens, castle grounds and estates from Dumfries & Galloway up to the Highlands.

Logan Botanic Garden, Castle Kennedy Gardens, Drumpark, Galloway House Gardens, Dalswinton House, Glenwhan Gardens and Corsock House are all participating.

The festival was launched by the Glorious Gardens of Argyll & 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.

Doug Wilson, Regional Director at VisitScotland, said: “Given the enormous popularity of the Scottish Snowdrop Festival over the last decade, it is only natural that our magnificent public gardens should celebrate the rhododendron. We hope people of all ages will be inspired to get out and about to enjoy these colourful, vibrant flowers around some of Dumfries & Galloway’s most stunning gardens.
“Many of the Scottish Rhododendron Festival locations are within the grounds of some of Scotland’s most historic buildings. Such buildings are a perfect fit for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. From World Heritage sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, the year-long programme will shine the spotlight on our greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems.”
Kenneth Cox, gardener, plant hunter and rhododendron specialist at Glendoick Gardens in Perth, said: “This year’s rhododendron season is off to a great start with many gardens full of rhododendron colour already.
“Some might say the rhododendron is Scotland’s second National Flower. Although they don’t originate in Scotland, rhododendrons are very much at home here. In fact Scotland is one of the places where woodland gardening with rhododendrons was invented. Hundreds of spectacular species thrive here and create stunning displays.”

Many of the rhododendron sites across Scotland are members of Discover Scottish Gardens, which launched in 2015 with help from the VisitScotland Growth Fund. The organisation aims to put Scottish gardens, nurseries and garden related businesses on the tourism map and to showcase the nation’s outstanding horticulture and plant diversity.

For more information, visit www.discoverscottishgardens.org 

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

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