All rhododendrons will lead to Brechin Castle

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A stunning Angus garden will be taking part in a celebration of Scotland’s “second national flower” - the rhododendron.

The grounds of Brechin Castle will be just one venue of many across the country which is taking party in the Scottish Rhododendron Festival, which will run until May 31.

Organised by Discover Scottish Gardens and supported for the first time by VisitScotland, it will incorporate a number of existing festivals and events as well as highlight other public spaces where visitors can enjoy the spectacular blooms. It follows the increasingly popular Scottish Snowdrop Festival, the festival will include public gardens, castle grounds and estates over the length and breadth of the country.

The festival was launched by the Glorious Gardens of Argyll & Bute in 2015. After a successful first year, the event was extended across the country and, in 2017, around 60 sites are taking part. More than half of the participants are opening their gardens to raise money for national charity Scotland’s Gardens, offering horticultural events, guided tours and exclusive openings in celebration of this exotic Asian spring shrub that thrives so well in Scotland.

From the ancient Greek for “rose” and “tree”, there are more than 1,000 species of rhododendron, which are famous for their vibrant colours.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “Given the enormous popularity of the Scottish Snowdrop Festival over the last decade, it is only natural that our magnificent public gardens should celebrate the rhododendron. We hope people of all ages will be inspired to get out and about to enjoy these colourful, vibrant flowers around some of our most stunning gardens.

“Many of the Scottish Rhododendron Festival locations are within the grounds of some of Scotland’s most historic buildings, a perfect fit for Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. From World Heritage sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, the year-long programme will shine the spotlight on our greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems.”

Further information is available at www.discoverscottishgardens.org and a full list of participants can be found at www.visitscotland.com/bloom