Friends of Crarae
Friends of Crarae

Welcome to the Friends of Crarae website. I hope that it will inspire existing Friends and visitors alike to take an interest in what we do in support of the magnificent gardens at Crarae. I am sure that the site will prove a great forum for ideas and shared experiences, whether these are in the form of photos of their favourite rhododendron, ideas for raising funds for the Garden or offers of practical help in the Garden or the Visitors Centre – we are always looking for volunteers, experienced or unskilled, to assist under the National Trust for Scotland managers and gardeners.

We think this is a great website but we are humble enough to welcome suggestions and ideas for its improvement; don’t hesitate to get in touch.

David Sillar (Chairman)


Please remember the General Data Protection Regulation that comes into force on 25th May.  Please take a couple of minutes to fill in the form provided with your Newsletter and pop it in the stamped addressed envelope and post it. Thank you! If you have mislaid your form please email for a replacement.

Crarae Gardens are home to one of three National Collections of Nothofagus (the Southern or false beech) in the UK. They are planted throughout the gardens with a number of larger specimens in the upper Eucalyptery.

Crarae is one of Britains finest examples of a Himalayan-style woodland garden. The 50 acre site is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the banks of Loch Fyne in Argyll, Scotland.

The Friends of Crarae was established in April 1986 by Mrs Hersey Robertson and a small group of like-minded individuals concerned with the preservation and enhancement of the historically and botanically important Garden of Crarae.


Nothofagus is a genus of around 35 species of trees and shrubs. The continents of South America, Africa, Antarctica and Australasia were at one time one great landmass called Gondwanaland. At this time, forest of southern beech extended right across the continent. Today, southern beeches occur as remnants of this former range in Australia, New Zealand and South America.

  1. Pick up a Friends of Crarae membership form during your next visit to the gardens or request one be posted to you using the form on the Contact Us page;
  2. Complete the membership form and elect to pay your annual £15 membership fee via cheque or standing order and you will be provided with a membership card;
  3. Remember to bring your card with you each time you visit the gardens for free entry to Crarae Gardens.


Membership, towards the end of 2017, was around 200 dedicated Friends of Crarae.


Remember to check out the Monthly Gallery to follow progress of the gardens through the seasons, see if you can spot your favourite in full bloom!








From the National Trust "Box" The Hill House, Helensburgh Appeal

The Box, will be a shield of of steel mesh over the house specially designed to stop the driving rain from reaching the house whilst also allowing the wind to dry out the building. This innovative conservation plan will give NT expert conservators time to research a solution to this century-old problem, whilst stopping any further degradation of the house itself. The Box will also mean that the beautiful architecture will not be hidden away by an eyesore of scaffolding and tarpaulins, but instead will allow the Hill House to remain open, and create a completely unique visitor experience, with raised walkways around the house providing a bird’s eye view on our conservators in action.  


Friends interested in reading more and supporting this important appeal can find a link to the relevant NTS pages HERE

Gardens open in Argyll and Bute

Please click on the link to view a list and interactive map of the 'Glorious Gardens of Argyll and Bute'.

The website includes information on Benmore and Linn Botanic Gardens, other National Trust Properties such as Arduaine and gardens at local attractions such as Inveraray Castle as well as private gardens which only open by appointment or for the Scottish Open Gardens Scheme or the Festival of Rhododendrons (1st April - 31st May).

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© Friends of Crarae All photographs are ©Friends of Crarae unless otherwise attributed.