Richard Baines with Gardener’s World presenter Carol Klein.

There are few horticultural spectacles that can compete with the beauty and splendour of gardens along the West Coast of Scotland in early Summer. 

Gardens along the western seaboard are famous for their impressive displays of Himalayan plants such as Rhododendrons, Magnolias, Blue Poppies and Camellias and May will be the ideal period for viewing them at their very best. 

Most of the gardens are located very close to the coast and have idyllic views across the western seaboard. This has the advantage of not being hit by late frosts and also having an earlier growing season than gardens inland.

Inverewe in Wester Ross has a wonderful collection of tender Rhododendrons such as Rhododendron Edgeworthii and some magnificent Asiatic Magnolias such as Magnolia Wilsonii with its pure white petals and clusters of red stamens. The view from the walled garden across Loch Ewe is to die for!


Spring fragrance is an integral part of visiting Attadale Gardens which have numerous specimens of the Yellow Azalea, Rhododendron Luteum. It also has an oriental garden from Japan plus a sunken fern garden.

Dundonnell Estate Garden hosts a fine collection of Camellias, Magnolias and Rhododendrons and has an impressive laburnum walk in this ancient walled garden.  Exciting planting in new borders provides all year colour centred around one of the oldest yew trees in Scotland.

Durnamuck Garden situated on the edge of Loch Broom with stunning views is a real plantsman’s garden. With a rich mix of herbaceous borders, trees and shrubs, Mediterranean plants and plants originating from South Africa one will observe plants that are seldom seen in the U.K.

Dunvegan Castle and Gardens has over five acres of formal gardens which will be at their prime in mid – May. Included in the garden is a water garden with its ornate bridges and islands complemented by its rich plant collection. The castle’s former vegetable garden is now elegantly landscaped and houses a diverse range of plants and features such as a glasshouse, garden museum, pond and larch pergola. A lot of restoration work has been carried out in the last thirty years to restore the garden.

Lip na Cloiche Garden is beautifully situated close to the shoreline on the Isle of Mull, and has stunning views of Loch Tuath and the Isle of Ulva. For the avant collector you will be delighted to hear that the garden has an unusual range of plants for sale!

One of Scotland’s national treasures are its castles. Glengorm Castle is an impressive 19th century country house commanding fine views across the surrounding landscapes.

Many of the gardens that we will visit have developed as a result of personal passion for plants and hard work and Ard Daraich Garden is no exception. here a rock garden has been created on a granite hillside creating small pockets in the thin peat layer for planting.

Scottish gardens host some of the finest displays of Himalayan Blue Poppies on the planet and this will be the ideal time of year to view them at Ardtornish Estate Gardens. Why not take this opportunity to view some of Scotland’s finest gardens in the comfort and homeliness of this fabulous cruise ship.

Himalayan Blue Poppies

Richard Baines will accompany our Secret Gardens of the Western Seaboard cruise commencing 15th May 2018 for 7 nights.