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Glendoick House has an early-20th-century woodland garden set in a ravine. This hosts a world-famous rhododendron collection and many other rare trees and shrubs, established from plants and seeds gathered by three generations of the Cox family and other plant collectors in China and the Himalayas. There is also a scree garden and an 18th-century walled garden, which is devoted to raising plants for the nursery and garden centre.

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Location and Setting

Glendoick House is situated about 1 mile (1.5km) off the A85, some 7 miles (llkm) east of Perth and some 13 miles (21km) east of Dundee. It lies at the foot of the escarpment of the Sidlaw Hills above the Carse of Gowrie, just north-east of Glen Carse. The soil is a light to medium loam, low in organic matter, well drained yet moist because of the underlying bed of clay. Woodland, planted along most of the escarpment, protects the gardens from the strong winds and its canopy also protects the plants from the effects of the hard frosts. Arable crops are grown in the flat lands of the Carse, known as the 'Garden of Scotland'. From the upper parts of the garden there are long views across the River Tay towards Fife.

The house lies just below the escarpment overlooking the plain of the Carse. To the north-west, woodland frames the rear of the house while in front of it, to the south-east, lies the open park and policies. A Woodland Garden is situated in the ravine of Rocky Burn about half a mile to the west of the house. The 1st edition OS plan, dated 1861, shows the extent of the 19th century designed landscape. It has remained unaltered and today extends to an area of some 356 acres (144ha).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Glendoick House, listed category A, was built between 1746 and 1748 for Robert Craigie. It is a medium-sized Scottish country house with white harled walls and sandstone dressings. It has a tall hipped roof with two central chimneys and remains remarkably complete, including magnificent plaster ceilings and other 18th century details. It was modernised by A. G. Heiton in 1910. The Walled Garden, listed category C, is quadrant in plan, and the lower sections of the walls are made from stone which is thought to be part of the retaining wall of the old Dundee to Perth road. The upper sections are built of brick probably in the mid 18th century. Within the garden lies the Sundial Chair, listed category B, and dated 1776. It has been partly renewed since it was first built. The Doocot, listed category B, was built in the 18th century and lies half way between the house and the main road. It has a pyramid roof with a horse weather-vane. Craigie Burial Enclosure, listed category C, is the burial ground of the Craigie family. South Lodge, listed category C, lies on the main road and is an early 19th century, gothic single storey building. West Lodge is situated on the west side of Rocky Burn.


The park lies in a semi-circle to the south of the house and its original informal layout can be clearly seen in the 1st edition OS plan, dated 1861. By the 2nd edition, the gardens to the front of the house had been enclosed from the park by iron railings. A photograph, illustrating one of E.H.M. Cox's books, shows an enormous gean (wild cherry) which could have been planted in the late 18th century when it is probable that the policies were laid out. Two old trees remain which probably date from that time but the majority of trees, mostly ash, lime, oak and beech, were planted in about 1850. The park has now been reduced to one field which is grazed by livestock. Along the entrance drive there are several huge Wellingtonias, thought to have been planted in 1860.


The main woodland plantations run along the escarpment and were planted with elm, beech, oak and ash in about 1830. Recently they have been extended up the Rocky Burn and above the escarpment which has been planted with conifers. The other block of woodland lies between Glendoick School, the Doocot and Rocky Burn, about half way down the drive towards the main road. Some deciduous hardwoods remain from the early planting but most of the woodland was planted by the Cox's in the 1930s with a mixture of broadleaved trees. (In the last seven years a mixture of hardwoods has been planted to replace the elms that have died from Dutch Elm disease.)

Woodland Garden

Sometimes known as the Wild Garden, the Woodland Garden lies along a ravine made by the Rocky Burn. A shrubbery was described here in an article in 1855, but most of the garden was planted up in the 1920's with plants, mostly Rhododendrons, collected by E.H.M. Cox from his expedition to the Himalayas. After World War II, it was added to with part of the collection of the Kingdon Ward expeditions, including Meconopsis species and Primula varieties. Following Peter Cox's own visit to China with Roy Lancaster in 1981 he introduced more plants. Apart from collecting plants themselves, the Cox family have also received wild seed or plant material from many other sources and have built up an outstanding collection. Under their skilled care, most of these rare plants have flourished. In 1970, Alan Mitchell visited Glendoick and measured over 37 trees including three Betula utilis raised by Joseph Rock.

The Gardens

Just to the west of the house, several lines of scree have been built to grow the smaller ericaceous plants. They contain many low growing Rhododendrons and Azaleas and other rare species especially alpines. In the 19th century there were several colourful flower beds in the centre of the lawn, which can be seen in old photographs. To the east is the orchard, described in the 1855 article and shown in the 1st edition OS plan as almost double its present size. Today there are still several apple and other fruit trees, and other small trees and shrubs including some Snakebark maples have also been planted here.

Walled Garden

The walls made from stone and brick, curve around the road which was formerly the main road to Perth until 1790. Late 19th century photographs show the garden filled with flowers and growing vegetables in the centre of the compartments. The path layout can still be seen today but now the borders are used for raising plants for the nursery and garden centre. On the west side is a shrubbery where there are several interesting trees including an upright form of Tsuga mertensiana.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The gardens have a number of open days in the spring. The garden centre is open daily.


The Cox family


The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Reason for Inclusion

This 18th century designed landscape hosts a world famous Rhododendron collection within the gardens and also provides the setting for a Category A listed building. Three generations of the Cox family, all internationally respected horticulturalists and plant hunters, have been involved in building the plant collections.

Site History

Robert Craigie (1685-1760) bought part of Glendoick in 1726, from the Butter family who had owned it since the 13th century, and the house was built between 1746-48. Craigie was Lord Advocate during the Uprising of 1745. Later in 1754, he became Lord President of the Court of Session and was created Lord Glendoick. In 1773, his son David bought the bulk of the estate. A survey by Stobie in 1783 shows the road from Dundee to Perth running close to the house and around the walled Kitchen Garden.

This road was moved in about 1790 and after that the policies were laid out. The gardens and policies were described in an article printed in 1855 in the 'Scottish Gardener', which concludes by noting that 'the flower garden at Glendoick communicates with a picturesque wooded ravine, enlivened by running water and beautified by wild flowers in their season'.

The Craigie family continued to live at Glendoick until the later part of the 19th century, when the property was leased to Alfred W. Cox, who then bought it in 1900. Three generations of the Cox family have been passionately interested in plants, especially trees, shrubs and Rhododendrons. A.W. Cox's son, Euan H.M. Cox was a noted plant collector and in 1919 went with Reginald Farrer to the Himalayas. The Juniper, Juniperus recurva var. Coxii., is named after him. On his return, he began writing and, in 1938 published, the authoritative 'History of Gardening in Scotland'. His son Peter, who inherited Glendoick, has also written books and articles, particularly about Rhododendrons. Today, he and his wife run a nursery specialising in the propagation of Rhododendrons and other ericaceous plants which are for sale at their garden centre. In 1981, Peter Cox took part in a plant hunting expedition to China with Roy Lancaster and brought back many new plants. (Since the survey, Peter Cox has undertaken further expeditions to Nepal and China. He continues to introduce further plants to the Gardens.)


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland

Plant Environment

  • Environment
  • Woodland Garden


  • Dovecote
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
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  • Waterfall
Key Information





Plant Environment


Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


20th Century (1901 to 1932)





Open to the public





  • Historic Scotland