Perth PH2 7BB
Why We Should Visit
Branklyn Garden, which sits on a south-facing slope above the River Tay, is renowned as one of the best spring gardens in Scotland, thanks to its collection of primulas, rhododendrons and snowdrops.
However many of the Asiatic and American species that are crammed into this two-acre plot also produce exceptional autumn colour and there is just time to catch the show before the garden closes for the season on 31 October.
Story of the Garden
John and Dorothy Renton, who created Branklyn in the 1920s on the site of an old orchard, weren’t just exceptional gardeners, they were also very well-connected within the world of botany and they received seed of new species from plant hunters including Frank Ludlow and George Sherriff.
These thrived at Branklyn and within a matter of years the garden had one of the best plant collections in Scotland.
Over the last decade Branklyn has been restored under the guidance of Jim Jermyn, one of Scotland’s leading experts on Alpine plants, and its season has also been extended so that the autumn show now rivals the spring display.
Acers provide some of the best autumn colour at Branklyn and they grow here alongside beech trees and hornbeams. Many of the garden’s perennials also produce foliage that changes colour as the seasons progress, adding scarlet and yellow tones from ground-level upwards.
Perthshire’s climate of cool night time temperatures and sunny days, is ideal for producing exceptional autumn leaf colours and the woodlands around Perth produce some of the finest seasonal displays.
Winding paths lead visitors through densely-planted flower beds and shrubberies, adding to the sensation that the garden is much bigger than it really is, and these routes also offer a chance to enjoy the plants up close.
A wall, made from peat blocks from a sustainable source in Sweden, is home to many unusual acid-loving plants.
Anything Else to Look Out For?
Follow the scent of burnt sugar and you will discover the garden’s Katsura tree (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), which takes on the smell of candyfloss as its leaves change colour. More sweet flavours are also available in the cafe, which is renowned for its home-made cakes.
Best Time to Visit
Branklyn opens from April until October and it is spectacular in May when the Himalayan poppies are in flower. Look out too for special snowdrop days in late winter, when visitors can enjoy the garden’s large collection of rare species of Galanthus nivalis.
Any Recommendations in the Area?
The garden sits on the slope of Kinnoull Hill and paths lead through the woods to the summit, from where there are spectacular views of the River Tay and the Kingdom of Fife.
Branklyn Garden is on Dundee Road, on the eastern edge of Perth.
The garden is open daily until 31 October – 10am-5pm.
Tel: 01738 625535
There has been a garden at Bolfracks since the 18th century, but the planting and layout that exists today was begun in the 1970s by Douglas Hutchison who turned this sloping site, west of Aberfeldy, into one of Perthshire’s finest gardens.
The garden occupies a north-facing position and sits near to the bottom of the Tay valley, so it is cold in winter and slow to warm up in spring but despite that, rhododendrons, roses and peonies all flourish.
In summer, herbaceous perennials steal the show, but as autumn approaches the many sorbus trees produce coloured berries that contrast with their scarlet leaves, while acers also change colour and crab apple trees develop fruits that will stay on the branches until winter.
A stream garden, first developed in the 1920s, has recently been renovated and new owners, who have recently taken over from the Hutchison family, have plans to continue developing the garden and the wider estate, which includes a neolithic stone circle, in harmony with the environment.
The garden is open daily until 31 October.
Perthshire PH15 2EX