Care should be taken on any of these paths as they can be wet and slippery.
The Estate has an important collection of hybrid rhododendrons from the 50s and 60s which would have been planted by Viola Stirling and her companion Miss Farlie. Most of these hybrid rhododendrons flower in May and June avoiding the late frosts which could spoil the show of flowers.
However if the weather is mild, some of the rhododendrons flower in December and although these can be frosted many will flower again just a few weeks later. These are the nobleanum series of early hybrid rhododendrons in whites, pinks and very dark reds. The aptly named rhododendron “Christmas Cheer” actually flowers in February and March on a good year, with nice pink frilled flowers. Another very early and extremely rare rhododendron is “Lady Linlithgow” a very early pink hybrid bred by the RBG in Edinburgh.
These hybrid rhododendrons are all superb in flower, with huge trusses and very reliable year after year. Some, such as rhododendron loderi “King George” is very scented and will make huge tree specimens.
Many species rhododendrons have been grown from seed collected in China, Vietnam, Nepal, Tibet and India for the last 12 years and are starting to flower. Although rhododendrons and azaleas can take a long time to flower they usually have interesting foliage or leaf shape or colourful new growth. The current collection of rhododendrons, catalogued on the estate, is around a 1000 plants.
The Woodland Walk is signposted about half way along the drive and the path diverts you through the rhododendrons, with specimen trees, magnolias and other interesting shrubs.
As you descend to the bridge over the burn you arrive on the south drive and from here it’s a short distance to the signposted Azalea Walk. The walk leads you up a small hill and you wander through lots of newly planted trees of sorbus, prunus and a liquidamber. Then you reach the massed planting of azaleas, mainly the yellow highly scented luteum along with many other newly planted decidous azaleas. More specimen trees and some large leafed rhododendrons have also recently been planted. These can be seen before you descend to the rear of the main house garden.