Susan Worner Tours

Scotland – The Gardens of the Borders and East Lothian

The Scottish Borders are one of the most glorious regions of Scotland with wild uplands, fertile lowlands, historic towns and famous salmon rivers. We will be based at Melrose a small town nestling between the Eildon Hills and the river Tweed famous for its abbey. We will also explore East Lothian with its beautiful Lammermuir hills and coastal villages which are renowned for their golf courses.

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After a morning arrival in Edinburgh we will have lunch in the city centre and then proceed to Shepherd House in Inveresk an attractive village close by the city. This very cleverly planted walled garden created by the owners is truly spectacular. Without doubt it is one of the best urban gardens in Scotland and is constantly featured in garden publications.

After touring the garden we will proceed to Melrose passing over the Lammermuirs at Soutra, then through Lauderdale and on to the Tweed valley.


We start today by visiting the gardens at Merton the seat of the Duke of Sutherland situated in beautiful surroundings by the river Tweed. Here we find one of the oldest Borders gardens with a walled garden dating back to 1567. Today the walled garden produces fruit, vegetables and flowers in profusion for the house all amazingly maintained. Elsewhere there are herbaceous borders, lawns, a woodland garden etc.

From Merton we continue eastwards to Anton’s Hill and the Walled Garden. Once all one property these two gardens are now separated. Anton’s Hill has some very well planted borders around the house and island beds in the extensive lawns that lead down to the pond with shrub and perennial borders. There is also a stumpery and woodland garden. The Walled Garden contains one of the most important fruit collections in Scotland with over two hundred varieties of apples and pears all maintained perfectly.

After lunch at Anton’s Hill we proceed to the nearby garden of Bughtrig. We will visit the interesting hedged garden with its herbaceous borders, fruit and vegetables and the memorial garden created in memory of the present owner’s grandfather who was killed in World War II.


Our first visit will be to Lanton Tower where we find a garden which is very much architectural in style with beech, holly and yew hedges along with stone walls dividing it into separate “rooms” and with marvellous views of the Eildon Hills. A fine parterre by the tower, herbaceous borders, shrub borders, an herb garden, roses and bog garden all make this a garden of high interest.

We will proceed on to Monteviot House the seat of the Marquis of Lothian situated near Jedburgh overlooking the river Teviot. A good parterre, roses, an herb garden, well planted terraces, extensive water and woodland gardens enable one to enjoy a wide variety of plantings in most attractive surroundings.

We end the day by visiting Carolside a late 18th century mansion beautifully situated by the river Leader. The garden here is a rose lover’s paradise with the National Collection of pre 1900 Gallica roses and a marvellous collection of Damask, Moss, Alba, Bourbon, Hybrid Perpetual and Musk roses. Along with the roses the oval walled garden has a fine Delphinium border and extensive herbaceous borders. Outside the walled garden there is a secret garden along with cleverly planted borders. This is one of Scotland’s best gardens.


We leave Melrose and follow the Tweed Valley westwards to Peebles where we arrive at Haystoun. Set in beautiful surroundings the gardens here consist of a walled garden alongside the house in which we will see well planted herbaceous borders and a traditional fruit and vegetable garden maintained to a very high standard. To the west of the house there is a glorious glen garden with a burn that leads up to a loch planted with a wide selection of shrubs and interesting flowers.

We then go on to neighbouring Kailzie situated to the east of Peebles on the river Tweed. The house was demolished after World War II but the gardens have been extremely well maintained. A large walled garden featuring herbaceous, rose and shrub gardens is of a very high standard. Outside the walled garden there is a burnside garden and woodland walks through some very impressive trees including a massive larch planted in 1725.

Finally we travel north of Peebles to Portmore where the current owners have re-created the truly magnificent gardens surrounding the fine David Bryce mansion house with wonderful views of the hills to the south. The large walled garden is divided into separate “rooms”. Stunning herbaceous borders lead up to the restored greenhouses containing a wide selection of plants and fruit along with an Italianate grotto. Other features within the “rooms” include a rose garden, a potager, ornamental fruit cages and a pleached lime walk. In addition outside there is a glorious water garden planted with a wide selection of plants and shrubs and woodland walks.


We leave the Borders and first go to Broadwoodside nearby the attractive village of Gifford that lies close by the Lammermuir hills. This garden is generally considered one of Scotland’s most exciting contemporary gardens. Built around the beautifully restored farm steading the garden consists of several distinct parts each leading cleverly on to the next. The planting is of the very highest quality and is supported by carefully placed statuary, stonework, trees and props.

We then proceed to Tyninghame where we visit the remarkable four acre Walled Garden. Here we find lawns, sculptures, hedges, an apple walk, extensive herbaceous borders, and a glorious peony bed, along with a variety of other interesting plantings. This is another of Scotland’s best gardens.

From Tyninghame we follow the coastline until we come to the famous golfing village of Gullane where our final garden at Greywalls is found. Greywalls was built by Sir Edward Lutyens in 1901 and with the help of Gertrude Jekyll he laid out the extensive gardens. These consist of terraces, various “rooms” and very well planted herbaceous borders all surrounded by beautifully built soft coloured walls.

We then return to Edinburgh either to leave or to stay and enjoy.

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