Benmore Botanic Garden, formerly known as the Younger Botanic Garden, is a large botanic garden situated between Dunoon and Loch Eck, in Argyll, Scotland. It features a large square walled gardens, a waterfall, a fernery, ponds and walks up the hillside to where you can look out across the Holy Loch. A cafe can be found at the entrance as well as a shop.
Formerly part of James Duncan's estate (an extensive plant and painting collector, 1834-1905) between 1870-1890.
Benmore features many magnificent trees, some of which are over 150 years old. On first entering the garden you are greeted by an imposing avenue of Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) plus several Douglas-firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii). The impressive avenue was planted in 1863 and several of the trees exceed 45 metres (148 ft) in height. Benmore contains one of the finest collections of plants from Bhutan including numerous rhododendrons. Many of the garden's original plants were grown from seed collected by famous plantsmen such as Ernest Wilson and David Douglas from their travels to Asia and Pacific North America. Some of these plant collectors were sponsored by the garden's original owners, the Younger family, who largely made their wealth from brewing.
The high rainfall and mild winters suit many of the more unusual species of rhododendrons, magnolias and nothofagus grown. A river runs through the gardens from Loch Eck to the Holy Loch. Benmore is a satellite garden under the management of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, as is its sister garden Logan Botanic Garden.
The Fernery (constructed in the early 1870s) and then went to ruins after Mr Duncan lost his fortunes. In 1992, Historic Scotland then designated the fernery a category B listed building, describing it as "a rare structure and important as an integral part of the gardens at Benmore". It has since been restored and then re-opened to the public in September 2009.
Open daily 1 March to 31 October
March and October 10.00 to 17.00
April to September 10.00 to 18.00
The Fernery opens 11.00 and closes one hour before the Garden
Adult £6.50, Concession £5.50, Child (15 and under) Free. Includes voluntary donation - Standard Adult £5.85, Concession £4.95.
Group rates (11+ people) £4. Call 01369 706261 to pre-book.