PICTURE the scene: Edinburgh on a typical August day. A simmering hubbub where crowds throng the streets and posters for festival shows are plastered to almost every lamp post.

Only a stone's throw from the bustling heart of the city lies a hidden oasis of calm: Dr Neil's Garden. Situated off a narrow lane in the historic village of Duddingston, this secluded – whisper it – secret garden is an enchanting place to spend time.

It sits nestled beside the 12th-century Duddingston Kirk, where the lower slopes of Arthur's Seat meet Duddingston Loch. The charming grounds were the brainchild of the late doctors Andrew and Nancy Neil who, in 1963, set to work transforming church land, formerly grazed by cattle and geese.

HeraldScotland: Dr Neil's Garden in Duddingston, Edinburgh. Picture: Gordon Terris/The HeraldDr Neil's Garden in Duddingston, Edinburgh. Picture: Gordon Terris/The Herald

I only discovered it a few years ago thanks to the Rebus author Ian Rankin. We had arranged to meet for an interview at the nearby Sheep Heid Inn, when he suggested a quick detour via Dr Neil's Garden to see a tapestry exhibition featuring work by his wife and the Meadows Tapestry Weavers.

The exhibition was held in Thomson's Tower, an octagonal building designed by William Henry Playfair and built in 1825 for the Duddingston Curling Society to store its stones.

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While the tapestries on show that day were lovely, it was the exquisite gardens that captured my imagination. The meandering paths and lochside views feel magical. There's a pretty arched bridge over a pond and the fairy tale-esque tower looks like somewhere Rapunzel might let down her hair.

Conifers, heather, alpines, primulas, magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas abound. There is a monkey puzzle tree – only 18 inches tall when it was gifted to the Neils in 1973; it is somewhat taller than that today – as well as species such as redwood and white fir.

HeraldScotland: Dr Neil's Garden in Duddingston, Edinburgh. Picture: Gordon Terris/The HeraldDr Neil's Garden in Duddingston, Edinburgh. Picture: Gordon Terris/The Herald

The Physic Garden, with its delightful daisy-shaped design, was devised by resident gardener Claudia Pottier as a memorial to the founders, who both died in 2005.

It takes a few visits to Dr Neil's Garden to fully appreciate all its horticultural gems. Through the changing of the seasons, there is always something new to see.

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These beautiful images by our staff photographer Gordon Terris were taken only a handful of days ago.

The Garden of Delight, an ecological-themed promenade play aimed at children aged four to 10, takes place at Dr Neil's Garden from Friday until August 20. Visit edfringe.com for tickets. Festival By The Loch is on August 21. For more information, visit drneilsgarden.co.uk