Places to Visit in Scotland
- Scottish Plant Hunters Garden, Pitlochry, Perthshire

Scottish Plant Hunters Garden, Pitlochry Gardening is a popular hobby in Scotland - the temperate climate (and all that lovely rain) makes it easy for us to either create a riot of colour or a garden full of pastel shades (or a bit of both). Few Scottish gardeners, however, appreciate that it was frequently intrepid Scottish explorers who first introduced many of the plants we take for granted here and in Europe. The Scottish Plant Hunters Garden beside the Festival Theatre in Pitlochry, in the heart of rural Perthshire, aims to show in a natural setting many of these plants - and tell the stories of a number of these Scottish plant collectors, who risked their lives travelling to remote parts of the world to bring back thousands of amazing specimens.

The Garden
Scottish Plant Hunters Garden, PitlochryBuilt on a wooded hillside above the Pitlochry Festival Theatre on a 6.5 acre site, this is not just "a garden" but a whole series of gardens, illustrating the contribution that a selection of eighteen Scottish plant hunters have made over the centuries. Many of the original trees growing in the garden were there long before the project began but lots of the shrubs and smaller trees which have been planted have a lot of growing still to do to fill up all the spaces. But already there is a lot to see and, with the experts from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, giving advice, there is a colourful and interesting display from spring through summer to the autumn/fall.

Billed as "Scotland's newest garden" it has taken many years to raise the finance for this project and bring it to fruition. A large part of the funding has come from the European Regional Development Fund and one of their conditions was that there should be a policy of "access for all". Creating footpaths on a steeply sloping site which were suitable for wheel-chair access proved to be quite a task - but has been largely achieved.

Scottish Plant Hunters Garden, Pitlochry Every so often, through breaks in the trees, the garden provides magnificent views of the hills beyond Pitlochry. In particular, Ben Vrackie, beyond the river Tummel, rises in the distance.

David Douglas Pavilion, Scottish Plant Hunters Garden, Pitlochry In addition to display boards giving biographies of the Scottish plant hunters included in the garden, there are specially commissioned buildings which have been created in which delve more deeply into the lives and discoveries of David Douglas and George Forrest. The Douglas Pavilion with an 80-seat amphitheatre, is designed to look like a ship and is constructed from trees that he discovered.

From time to time during the summer, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre uses the garden as a live performance area so, if you're lucky, you will be able to enjoy some free entertainment.

The Explorers
While celebrating the achievements of more than 120 plant collectors who have made a contribution to our gardens in some shape or form, the Scottish Plant Hunters Garden has focused on a number of the better known exponents, including:

Pitlochry Festival Theatre and River Tummel
Pitlochry Festival Theatre The Scottish Plant Hunters Garden has been created in part to add to the attraction of the Pitlochry Festival Theatre but the garden benefits greatly from having the catering and other facilities of the theatre close by. In particular, since the theatre is open in the evenings for performances, its restaurants and bars are available to visitors to the garden. That can be a great advantage in a country where eating facilities often close down at 5pm - if not before!

The Festival Theatre is located overlooking the river Tummel and a short distance up-river is a hydro-electric dam. This includes a "fish ladder" which has viewing windows to allow visitors to see the salmon and other fish passing up-river to spawn.

How to Get There
Pitlochry is in the heart of Perthshire and although the main Perth to Inverness A9 road now by-passes the town, there are good sign-posts from that road to the Festival Theatre. See also the Location Map (you can enlarge the scale of this map, if required).

Return to Index of Places to Visit

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line