St. Andrews KY16 8QD
Why should we visit?
Cambo is one of Scotland’s most exciting gardens. It is on the east coast of Fife, seven miles south of St Andrews, and its classic layout contains vibrant contemporary plantings as well as traditional garden features.
As well as the gardens there are woodlands, rare birdlife, access to the Fife Coastal Path and a wide stretch of sandy beach to explore.
History of the garden
The estate has been in the Erskine family for over 300 years and is an important example of a designed landscape, complete with stables, shed, shed and walled garden.
Its history as a tourist attraction begins in the 1980s when Catherine Erskine recognizes that the snowdrops that grow profusely on the estate contain rare varieties. She then organizes open days and sells bulbs.
Other areas of the garden were later developed to exceptionally high standards and today Cambo is run as a charitable trust and social enterprise, providing skills and welfare opportunities to the local community.
Cambo’s two-and-a-half-acre walled garden, complete with slash and burn, dates back to the 1800s, and head gardener Katherine Taylor continually works on the planting to create interest throughout the seasons.
In summer, the historic rose collection fills the walled garden with color and fragrance before the herbaceous double borders reach their blooming peak in rich reds, purples and blues, clouds of asters giving an almost neon in autumn.
In June, the contemporary cut flower garden is filled with colorful annuals, while the one-and-a-half-acre edible garden provides produce for the Stables vegetarian cafe where chef Gillian Veal creates inventive dishes.
Anything else to watch out for?
Along the banks of the Cambo burn, the garden team is developing a wildflower meadow where species diversity is increasing. They introduced the yellow rail (Rhinanthus minor) which draws its nutrients from the grasses, and the long grass is cut in September using hand scythes.
There is also a vegetable garden where annual flowers grow among perennials and herbs.
This year the annuals have been chosen for the RHS Plants for Pollinators list, part of the aim to encourage wildlife in the garden.
Cambo is in its first season as beekeepers with Websters honey, so there should be honey for sale soon.
Best time to visit
Cambo is a year-round attraction and its plantation has been designed to unfold in waves as the seasons change. It also offers a regular program of activities and this year, as part of Discover Scottish Gardens’ Summer Garden Festival, Cambo is offering Babes in the Woods activities for children, as well as regular outdoor yoga and Pilates sessions. .
Recommendations in the region?
Near Cambo is an innocent-looking farmhouse that is part of Britain’s Cold War heritage.
This is actually the entrance to the Scottish Secret Bunker, an underground nuclear command center from which military operations would have been planned in the event of a strike.
Now turned into a museum, it offers a fascinating and decidedly chilling insight into recent history.
Cambo is on the A917 near the village of Kingsbarns.
Open daily, 10am-5pm Tickets: £6.50/free for accompanying persons and under 16s
St Andrews Botanic Gardens are undergoing profound change as they pursue an ambitious program of regeneration.
He has demolished his old greenhouses and is developing The Tangled Bank, an area of grassland and seaside habitats where he nurtures native species.
The garden has a new focus on sustainability, research and conservation and tomorrow there will be a chance to walk through the garden with curators Dr Harry Watkins and Beccy Middleton, while explaining the exciting developments.
The walk is part of an extensive program of activities throughout the summer, including a Garden Explorers’ Kids Club and, on July 30, a Family Fun Day.
The garden is a green oasis in the heart of St Andrews, with meadows, lawns, woodland, a huge pond and a large collection of rare and unusual plants.
As well as a team of professional horticulturists, the garden is also supported by volunteers and all money raised from ticket sales goes towards its upkeep, but admission is free on the first Friday of every month.
St Andrews Botanical Garden
Saint Andrews KY16 8RT