Summer highlights at Dawyck Botanic Garden

Summer is one of the nicest times of year to visit Dawyck. Its cool climate with frosty winters and late springs suits many montane trees and shrubs. With all the new leaves unfurled but still fresh and herbaceous perennials at their best, it is a colourful time of year.

The planting of perennials on the banks of the stream, and also as an understorey for the trees and shrubs, began in 1987 and continues as new areas are cleared.

The Scrape Burn in summer

The plantings consist mainly of species and bold foliage - astilbes, bergenias , hostas, rodgersias and herbaceous saxifrages - providing a contrast to the woody plants and large expanses of grass. Hardy ferns are well-represented too, notably along Rhododendron Walk where there are some fine colonies of the oak fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris).

There are also spectacular beds of the Himalayan blue poppy (Meconopsis x sheldonii) which form pools of sky blue beside the stream and beneath the trees.

Visitors will be pleased to see some trees and shrubs still flowering in summer. These include rhododendrons such as R. brachyanthum and R. maximum, as well as the azalea R. occidentale, whose spring-like blooms often come as a surprise to visitors in July.

More familiar as summer-flowering subjects are the cotoneasters which in most cases produce their tiny but numerous white or pink flowers in June, and the spiraeas which vary their flowering time from late spring to September, according to the species.

Conifers are Dawyck's crowning glory, with a number of outstanding specimens in terms of size, history and rarity, which few other gardens in Britain can rival.

The Garden's champion conifers include two Japanese species - Nikko fir and Maries fir. Britain's largest specimen of the Austrian black pine, which measures 131ft, can be seen near the path leading up Policy Bank to Shaw Brae.

Read more about Spring | Autumn and Winter highlights at Dawyck  

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)