Groundskeepers at Blair Castle are celebrating an historic team-up with Britain’s biggest gardening charity.
The grounds and garden of the historic Blair Atholl visitor attraction are being formally recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society.
From next year, they will be included in the organisation’s partner gardens scheme.
The recognition, which puts the gardens on a tourist trail of nearly 200 global locations, is expected to lead to a bumper crop of new visitors.
The announcement coincides with the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Blair Castle’s nine-acre Hercules Garden. The original dates back to the 18th century.
Scott Robertson, tourism sales and business development manager at Blair Castle, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised in this way.
“We are joining a scheme which has as its members 176 different independent gardens around the UK, with a further 19 overseas, which offer members free entry at selected times of the year.”
He said: “When our membership commences in January, we will be able to take advantage of the RHS network of horticulture experts to further benefit our own garden.”
Scott paid tribute to head gardener Andrew Fairlye and his team who look after the castle grounds throughout the year.
“The success of our gardens, which year on year attract more paying visitors, is testament to the enormous amount of hard work they put in year round,” he said.
“Hercules Garden has its own full-time gardener who does nothing else but maintain the garden. The feedback we get from visitors more than justifies the manpower we put in.”
The grounds also include Diana’s Grove, which is home to some of the UK’s tallest trees, as well as a deer park, sculpture trail and adventure playground.
Helen Feary, spokeswoman for the RHS Partner Garden Scheme, said: “Blair Castle is a most welcome addition to the RHS network of partner gardens, which include 28 beautiful Scottish gardens in 2017.
“The location of Blair Castle, near Pitlochry, means that RHS members now have two gardens that they can visit free of charge in this area, not to mention the many other partner gardens around Perth and Dundee.
“Visiting gardens is the most popular benefit to joining the RHS, a charity whose vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants.”