The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has plants of interest throughout the seasons from early-flowering rhododendrons in spring to displays of specialist snowdrops in late winter.
The Alpine House provides some real gems during late winter and it is here that the first flowers of the year will burst into life. Nearby, witch hazels Hammamelis mollis from China and Hammamelis japonica from Japan produce their lemon-peel flowers and perfume the mild days with an intense scent. Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) and other species form a carpet beneath the trees from early January.
In late spring the Japanese magnolia (Magnolia kobus) blooms throughout the Garden and the related Michelia figo in the Temperate Palm House fills the air with its exotic perfume. The rhododendron collection is also spectacular at this time of year, from the dwarf alpine species in the Rock Garden to the larger species growing in the Woodland Garden and Copse.
Wake robbins (trilliums) bloom in abundance throughout the Woodland Garden, Peat Walls and Copse - look for Trillium grandiflorum and Trillium chloropetalum. Also look out for hellebores as they make a welcome appearance.
The Herbaceous Border is a mass of colour in the height of summer. The striking Rosa 'Golden Jubilee' can be found in the Queen Mother's Memorial Garden, while the many bulbs of Cardiocrinum giganteum can throw up statuesque flower spikes every five to seven years to ensure there will always be a fine display in early summer. Swathes of the Himalayan blue poppies (Meconopsis Slieve Donard) enjoy the cool woodland while Sutherlandia frutescens from southern Africa displays its strikiing red flowers at the Alpine House.
The scarlet apples on Malus pumila 'Dartmouth' are some of the vibrantly coloured fruits to be found on the Chinese Hillside - roses, Pyrocantha, Malus and Sorbus abound. Bright pink Nerine bowdenii enjoys the autumn sun by the Glasshouses, while Schizstylus coccinea cultivars can be seen displaying their flowers in the Rock Garden. Flowers of colchicums, so-called the autumn crocus, make a brief but exuberant appearance around the Garden. Cercidiphyllum japonicum fills the air with the smell of burnt sugar by the Pond lawns and other areas of the Garden.
Bright red and green stems of Cornus stolonifera 'Faviramea' and Salix alba 'Britzensis' glow in the clear light. The Herbaceous Border is a favourite for seed-eating birds, and seed heads glisten in the early sun of a frosty morning. On the coldest days you can escape to the Glasshouses where you can breathe in the warm fragrance of faraway places. But outside, on the Birch Lawn, pale yellow catkins of Corylus avellana are a hint that spring is on its way.
- Specialist Snowdrop displays
- World-leading Rhododendron Collection
- Spectacular Azalea Terrace
- Swathes of Meconopsis
- Stunning Autumn Colour