Summer has officially arrived, with a heatwave sweeping Scotland, and for many of us that will mean spending more time outdoors.

And while sitting in your own garden is always enjoyable in the sunshine, there is something to be said for visiting a formal, landscaped garden and seeing a range of flora and fauna at their very best. There’s certainly no shortage of gardens to visit across Scotland – here's six of the best.

The Japanese Garden at Cowden, Dollar
Described in 1925 by professor Jijo Suzuki as “the most important Japanese garden in the Western world”, this is surely one of Clackmannanshire’s most underrated visitor attractions. It was the brainchild of Scottish adventurer Ella Christie, who returned home from a trip to the Far East in 1908 inspired to build her own Japanese Garden. She chose a female designer, Taki Handa, to create the seven-acre site, making it the first and only garden of its size and scale to be designed by a woman. 
Restored over the past ten years after being closed since the 1960s due to vandalism, the garden encircles a large pond, with beautiful shrubs and trees planted according to Japanese custom. It offers a wonderfully peaceful place to sit and watch the world go by – especially as only a limited number of tickets are released for each time slot to ensure tranquillity is maintained. 
Open every day except Tuesday, 
10.30am to 5pm, £8.50

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Located just a mile from Princes Street, The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh provides the perfect escape from the commotion of Scotland’s capital city. There are 72 acres to explore – with no entry fee – and the gardens also offer an excellent vantage point over the city to the castle and beyond. Highlights include the rock garden and the rhododendron collection as well as the ‘living collection’ of plants, some more than 350 years old. As well as being a lovely spot for some peace and quiet amid Edinburgh’s summer tourist surge, the gardens also play an important role on the global stage. Work being done there has made Edinburgh Botanic Gardens a leader in botanical science, climate change, conservation and biodiversity loss. You can find out more about this important work on one of the daily guided tours, taking place between 11am and 2pm.
Open daily, 10am to 6pm, free

The Herald:
Inverewe Gardens and Estate, Poolewe, near Ullapool
Inverewe Gardens is a natural phenomenon. The warm currents of the Gulf Stream mean this garden is home to some fabulous species that simply wouldn’t be expected to grow in a northern corner of Scotland. From rare Wollemi pines to Himalayan blue poppies, huge Californian redwoods to Indian rhododendrons, ingenious planting makes this a must-visit for budding botanists.
With an enviable position on the banks of Loch Ewe, the gardens also provide a great place to spot Scotland’s ‘Big 5’ animal species: red squirrels, red deer, otters, seals and golden eagles. 

Gardens and estate open daily,
9.30am to 4pm, £15

Culzean Castle Gardens, Ayrshire
One of the best visitor attractions in Ayrshire, Culzean Castle is a wonderfully extravagant show of wealth. It was built for David Kennedy, 10th Earl of Cassillis, who demonstrated his status through the magnificent castle, complete with dramatic oval staircase, Swan Pond, icehouse, sandy beach and walled gardens. While the castle is well worth a trip, you can pay a smaller fee to access the gardens and park.
Built in the Eighteenth Century, the Walled Garden at Culzean is one of the largest in Scotland and has cultivated some notable fruit and vegetables over the years, including the Ailsa Craig onion. Volunteers and staff have recently worked hard to restore the gardens, blending both Victorian and 21st-Century horticultural techniques.
Open daily, 10am to 5pm, £14 
(£20 if you include the castle)

The Herald:
Threave Garden, Dumfries and Galloway
The south of Scotland is currently undergoing a major tourism drive, as local businesses try to discourage visitors from going straight up to the Highlands on arrival into Scotland. And the area around Kirkcudbrightshire is certainly more than worth a visit – marrying truly wonderful scenery with an altogether quieter atmosphere than further north. 
Threave Garden, located just a mile from Castle Douglas, is a horticultural haven and a blissful place to spend a summer’s afternoon. It has been home to the School of Heritage Gardening since 1960 and has been added to over the years by various students of the Trust, with a unique design where each ‘garden room’ showcases a different gardening style and planting scheme. 
Open daily, 10am to 5pm, £8.50

Logan Botanic Garden
Located on the Rhins of Galloway, near Scotland’s south-western tip, Logan Botanic Garden may be further from the traditional tourist trail but don’t imagine for a moment that it is in any way impoverished as a result. Blessed with the mildest conditions of any garden in Scotland thanks to being flanked on two sides by the Gulf Stream, the garden is home to plants from Australia, New Zealand, South and Central America and southern Africa which would struggle to thrive elsewhere in Scotland. Where else could you stroll through a grove of eucalyptus trees – there are 35 species in total – or marvel at the huge, rhubarb-like gunnera plants, which come from Brazil and can grow three metres tall? Among the other highlights of the garden’s Living Collection are 150-year-old ferns from New Zealand, vivid, purple-blue flowers known as Pride of Madeira which are native to that temperate Atlantic island and, in the magnificent glass-roofed Logan Conservator, a collection of plants from South Africa which are rarely seen growing in the UK. 
Elsewhere there’s a Walled Garden which dates from before 1860. Today it is home to a fishpond and an Antipodean forest.
Open daily, 10am to 5pm, from £7.20 (concession £6.30) per adult, or free for 
RBGE members