Ever wanted to find that special spot within Edinburgh to find solace, where one can just bask in the greenery and avoid the crowds? Well, there is a secret hidden garden just behind Arthur’s Seat that not even some locals are aware of filled with some unique plant species – Dr Neil’s Garden.
Located between Dudingston Kirk and Dudingston Loch, Dr Neil’s Garden was founded by Drs. Nancy and Andrew Neil from pure wilderness in 1963. While they both passed away in 2005, the legacy still lives on within the serene garden filled with hundreds of plants and trees collected from the couple’s travels around Europe.
Since the doctors have started nurturing the garden, they also would bring on some of their patients to take up gardening to encourage healthy outdoor hobbies. By 1997 Dr Neil’s Garden Trust was born in order to protect its future as well as take off some of the hard work off the doctors who were getting older.
What is more, after Dr Neil’s Garden’s founders died, The Physic Garden was created in memory of the two doctors, including medicinal plants with their use explained on a large coloured panel.
Another noteworthy structure of the garden is Thomson’s Tower: a structure built in 1825 for the Duddingston Curling Society where they could safely store the stones. Plus, the top floor was both a meeting room and a studio for the well-known artist Rev. John Thomson.
Now, Thomson’s Tower is a Curling Museum on the bottom floor as well as an exhibitions and events space on the top floor. Dr Neil’s Garden also has their very own resident artist, Brigid Collins, who uses the tower for “inspiration in her work carry out workshops in the Tower and hold an exhibition next May”.
Finally, visitors are also welcome to visit the Garden Room Cafe for a wee cuppa, which is run mainly by volunteers and is open Thursday to Sunday from March 31.