The Scotland Road Trip: Inverness Botanic Gardens

Small but perfectly formed

Hidden on the outskirts of Inverness you can find a botanical garden. However even with a satnav it was hard to navigate. This is because of the new roads that have been built surrounding it and you have to follow a road around a swimming pool and sports complex to get to its car park. It feels out of place and as a first impression you can’t see how the garden is going to work as a tranquil space given its surroundings. It seems too small. Nevertheless, it definitely did work and we spent our morning wandering in its sanctuary.

Opened in 1993, the gardens were previously known as Floral Hall and Gardens, and are free to enter. Meander around the largest glasshouse and you will find an array of plants from calathea’s to palms and pools of koi fish; who’s bright intensive colour clash boldly against the natural green and stone colours of the rest of the glasshouse. Adding narrative to the specimens of the glasshouse are the classical statues, which stand amongst the tallest of the plants, giving the nod to more ancient civilisations. I am always intrigued by them, and the relationship between the smooth white forms and textures of the bust, and the sometimes craggy edges of leaves and the rough intensity of repitition that the patterns of the plants create.

The other glasshouse shows a more dry and desert-like climate, lots of cactuses and plants that have adapted to survive without much water. It’s a light space, and much less densely planted than the other glasshouse. It is also smaller in size. But outside is where it sets itself apart from other greenhouses I have visited. There is lots for the eyes to explore and feast on, colours textures and forms.

The outside gardens encourage the community to work with gardening, and has its own allotment space where charities and groups come and work; learning about gardening in a practical way. The wildflower beds at the back of the garden and its soft array of colours is really pleasing to the eye. A perfect sight for a morning, especially after a terrible night’s sleep that we had after having nowhere to stay and roughing it in the car.

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