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Scotland in bloom as Rhododendron Festival returns

April 3rd 2018

The wonderfully diverse world of the rhododendron is about to be celebrated with the Scottish Rhododendron Festival which returns for its fourth year.

Flowering across the country from 1 April to 31 May 2018, the Festival comprises of more than 90 events displaying swathes of colour in gardens, estates and woodlands nationwide.

Thirty-one new venues are set to participate in this year’s Festival, each hosting activities and walks for all the family and demonstrating why this genus attracts such an avid following in Scotland and beyond.

The annual Festival, which launched in 2015, is organised by national garden tourism group Discover Scottish Gardens, supported by VisitScotland, Glorious Gardens of Argyll & Bute and open garden charity Scotland’s Gardens Scheme which has organised open days at private gardens across the country to raise money for a selection of nominated charities.

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

Some of the most stunning rhododendron displays can be seen in the west of Scotland at gardens including Achamore, Glenarn and Benmore Botanic Garden. Elsewhere, Inverewe, Gordon Castle and Attadale Gardens in the north provide beautiful displays, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Glendoick Gardens in central Scotland and Dawyck, Glenwhan and Logan in the south.

The rhododendron is a huge family of around 1,000 species, from small mountain shrubs to magnificent tree-like specimens. A world centre for rhododendron studies is the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Curator, David Knott, said: “Rhododendrons make such a significant contribution and provide fantastic displays in many Scottish gardens. They range in height from large tree-like plants, to dwarf alpine shrubs, and depending on the weather there will be rhododendrons in flower from February right through to August.

“Many will have already begun to bloom in gardens across the country, despite the recent bad weather we have experienced this spring. You will also find early flowering rhododendrons in garden glasshouses across Scotland.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “We’re delighted that the Rhododendron Festival is continuing to grow, with our magnificent public gardens around Scotland sharing their passion for these beautiful flowers. Scotland’s wonderful scenery and landscapes remain as popular as ever with visitors. Now is the perfect time of year to get out and about to explore our great outdoors, and what better way than to visit the many stunning gardens and estates to see the rhododendrons in bloom.”

The gardens featured in the short film are:  Gordon Castle, Scone Palace, Ardkinglas, Glendoick, Benmore and Logan Botanic Gardens and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.