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As we have explored in depth on this blog, Knockdow House is situated in a region of immense natural beauty. From outstanding wildlife to mysterious fairy pools, there is a wide variety to see and do here.

If you’re passionate about nature, be sure to check out some of the many glorious gardens of Argyll and Bute. Spread throughout the mainland of this region, there are approximately 20 gardens of differing sizes, styles and maturity, some of which date back as far as the 13th century.

Here we take a look at some of the many fascinating gardens to explore:

Achamore Gardens

Located in High Row on the Isle of Gigha, Achamore Gardens are a sight to behold. From ginormous plants to an impressive array of colour, the 54 acre gardens offer a great day out for the whole family.

Created in 1944 by Colonel Sir James Horlick, Achamore Gardens is particularly popular for its abundance of Rhododendron and Camellia. Further, there are countless rare and distinctive plant and tree species within the gardens, including some champion trees such as Nothofagus moorei (also known as the Antarctic Beech), and Abies Kawakamii, a tree indigenous to Taiwan.

An Cala

Established in 1930, An Cala was designed by Thomas Mawson, and took over a year to create. This five acre garden has been carefully tended to over the years, and features an array of horticultural charms include Japanese ornamental cherry trees, azaleas, roses and rhododendrons, to name but a few. There is also a waterfall and a number of stream beds. While small, the garden is certainly worth a visit for its peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.

Benmore Botanic Garden

No visit to Argyll & Bute is complete without a visit to Benmore Botanic Garden! Situated close to Knockdow House, this 120 acre garden offers seven miles of trails leading to beautiful locations, including the recently restored Victorian Fernery, as well as the Japanese Valley, offering dramatic views of the surrounding mountains and Holy Loch. 

Crarae Garden

Yet another spectacular garden is Crarae Garden, a 50 acre woodland garden with a vast collection of woody plants, as well as a number of bridges and rocky gorges. The trees planted here were carefully chosen for their colouring. For instance, there are a number of trees that feature autumn and spring colouring. The combination of rushing water, towering trees and spring/autumnal shades makes you feel as if you are immersed somewhere deep in the Himalayas.

Geilston Garden

This is a compelling garden renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and wide variety of flowers, plants and trees. The garden has a magical feel about it, particularly the woodland area, featuring a waterfall, bridges and mossy paths. In the springtime, the place comes alive with a sea of white wood anemones and bright bluebells. 

Recently, the garden became home to a new Hobbit Hole woodland play area, giving young explorers an opportunity to discover the Garden Trail.