Benmore Botanic Garden
Benmore, a regional garden of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, is a magnificent woodland garden set in the stunning Cowal Peninsula. Its 140 acres, entered via a Giant Redwood Avenue forming one of the finest entrances to any botanic garden in the world, contain a wide collection of flowering trees and shrubs including over 300 species of rhododendron and over one third of the world's winter hardy conifer species.
Way marked walks lead to a pond, formal garden and viewpoint at 450 feet (140m) and access to the recently restored Victorian Fernery. Fine collections from North and South America, the Orient and the Himalaya are interpreted through guided and audio tours and a guidebook. Exhibitions are shown at the Courtyard Gallery. Refreshments, plants, books and gifts are available.
Guided tours every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 2.00pm.
Facilities, including wheelchairs, are provided for the less able.
A spectacular 50-acre woodland garden in a dramatic setting. Crarae has a wonderful collection of woody plants centred on the Crarae Burn, which is spanned by several bridges and tumbles through a rocky gorge in a series of cascades. A wide variety of shrubs and trees chosen for spring flowering and autumn colour grow in the shelter of towering conifers, and the lush, naturalistic planting and rushing water gives the feel of a Himalayan valley.
Since acquiring the garden in 2001, the National Trust for Scotland has restored the infrastructure, replacing bridges, steps and paths, and new plantings include many recently collected, wild-origin Rhododendrons. The National Collection of Nothofagus is to be found at Crarae.
There are a fantastic array of gardens in the surrounding area, The Gardens of Argyll website provides a fabulous resource for discovering them all.
The group comprises 20 gardens varying in size, style and maturity, dating from the 13th to the 20th century. They are spread throughout the mainland of Argyll, often in dramatic scenery, and to the islands of Bute, Colonsay, Gigha, Jura, Mull and Seil.
There are many outstanding plants to be discovered including species rhododendrons, magnolias and fine specimens of conifer, some of which are the largest trees in Britain.