Enjoy the Tranquility of St Andrews Botanic Garden
The St Andrews Botanic Garden, located at the west end of South Street in St Andrews, Fife, has been created as a peaceful haven for visitors to enjoy, as well as providing a venue for education and research. The garden has been designed with boundary vegetation, a coniferous wind-break and shrub borders to create micro-climatic conditions similar to those found in the wild, allowing plants to thrive in their natural habitat.
The Heath Garden section of the St Andrews Botanic Garden has been planted with a wide variety of heaths and heathers ensuring that there are flowers all year round. Smaller species have been planted with larger species as a backdrop, with the tallest of the heaths growing to a height of seven feet and flowering in the winter months. The Heath Garden also features conifers, Irish juniper and dwarf rhododendrons. The gardens are a special treat from midsummer through to autumn as the island and herbaceous borders, filled with species of salvia, paeonia, aster, geranium, delphinium and Gillenia, are in colourful full bloom.
An interesting facet of the gardens is the order beds which follow the Cronquist taxonomic system of grouping families together to display likely evolutionary trends, with an illustrated display board providing an explanation of the principles involved. Laid out on a terraced bank, the Woodland and Rhododendron Gardens include up to eighty dwarf rhododendron species. With the various species flowering at different times, visitors are assured of a colorful display from February through to November each year. Larger rhododendron species have been planted to the north of the terraced bank, and Asiatic calcifuges are also featured in this section of the garden.
An impressive collection of alpine plants are featured in the Rock Garden, with more than 2,500 on the St Andrews Botanic Garden database. Most are from high-altitude locations around the world, with a good number being native to Scotland. A series of pools, ponds and waterfalls lead down from the Rock Garden and visitors can enjoy the sound of splashing water as they view the range of delicate and colorful water-loving plants. The glasshouses of the gardens provide the perfect climate for plants that could not otherwise be grown in the Scottish climate. These include the Orchid House, Alpine House, Succulents House and Temperate House, with the latter displaying exotic fuchsias, jasmine, tibouchina, ferns and camellias.
In addition to the ornamental displays, there is the 17th Century Garden featuring plants used to create dyes, medicinal plants and culinary plants, as well as a Town Garden and Vegetable Garden. St Andrews Botanic Garden Education Trust works with local schools to encourage awareness of conservation and environmental issues, and offers demonstrations of various gardening techniques for adults. A plant sales area near the entrance to the gardens gives visitors the opportunity to buy some living souvenirs to take home and plant in their own gardens.