Welcome to the first Scottish Gardener of 2018. Easter is almost upon us so it is time to get out into the garden and start enjoying the buds and flowers that herald the arrival of spring.

At Dumfries House near Cumnock the team, led by Head Gardener Brian Corr, has been working hard throughout the winter to undertake essential work. In this issue we explore this historic garden, which has been brilliantly restored, and find out what it takes to keep it looking good for the thousands of visitors that it now attracts.

Gardens never stand still and nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the Clyde Valley. Once famous for glasshouses and tomatoes, it has reinvented itself to cater for changing times, but remnants of its past still remain amongst the orchards, estates and garden centres that line its slopes and there are new gardens to explore too.

Take a trip along the Clyde Valley in spring and you'll find apple blossom frothing in the branches of ancient trees and this issue of Scottish Gardener we celebrate blossom season in all its forms by selecting the best flowering trees to plant and enjoy.

Amongst the greatest joys of spring are the rhododendrons that fill our gardens and woodlands with glorious colour. We profile the Scottish Rhododendron Society whose members share a love of these beautiful plants in all their many forms.

In this issue too we have a preview of Gardening Scotland 2018. Preparations are well underway for this year's national festival of gardening and as well as highlighting some of this year's features we also have an exclusive ticket offer for readers of Scottish Gardener.

Before you plan a day out in the spring sunshine, check out our 'What's On' guide to gardening events over the coming months and for good advice on growing fruit read Alison Swanson's allotment diary.

We also have all the usual features, including news, wildlife developments and updates from community gardens and in Me & My Garden, Scottish portrait artist Rosemary Beaton shares her love of her own garden and reveals how it steals its way into her work.

So before you dash outdoors to continue sowing and weeding, take some time out to enjoy Scottish Gardener and start planning your gardening year ahead.

Agnes Stevenson,
Scottish Gardener Editor

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