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Garden of the Season – House of Dun & Montrose Basin Nature Reserve – NTS

February 4th 2020

House of Dun & Montrose Basin Nature Reserve

Dun, Montrose DD10 9LQ

William Adam’s 18th century mansion house backed by its avenue of wellingtonias forms the centrepiece of a designed landscape overlooking the Montrose Basin.

The main flower garden lies to the east of the house, a rectangular walled garden with an open curved leafy shelter towards the centre. Lady Augusta laid out the garden in the mid-1800s in what had been an exercise ground for horses. The Trust’s restorations were based on a photograph from the 1890s which showed a rose-covered shelter set in grass with flowerbeds in circular and teardrop designs.

A path runs around the perimeter inside tall borders filled with an array of perennial, annual and climbing plants, dotted with shrub roses. A small Mediterranean style garden lurks in the corner surrounded by box hedges.

To the south of the mansion house is a formal terrace with views of the nature reserve, with walls covered in espalier trained pear and apple trees of Scottish origin. In front of the house is a formal garden of semi-circular box hedging.

To the west lies the hidden treasure of a less formal den garden, with various paths snaking through dense laurel to open woodland. The mown grass paths follow the original layout.

The House of Dun has much to offer visitors throughout the year. One of the great glories at the garden are the snowdrops which carpet the grounds at the start of the year, and we take part in Visit Scotland’s snowdrop festival, which is running now.

In the late spring the lower part of The Den is a riot of colour with rhododendrons and azaleas. Ferns, hostas and other leafy plants enjoy the shade provided by the canopy of mixed broadleaf trees. Then from early June until August, rose blooms fill the air with fragrant perfumes, along with peonies, violas, and early clematis.


Telephone: 01674 810264

Opening times: Open all year, daily 9am until dusk

Admission costs: Garden is free; for Mansion costs please visit the website