ROSS-shire gardens have a starring role in a festival celebrating the wonderfully diverse world of the rhododendron.
The Scottish Rhododendron Festival has returned for its fourth year, throwing the spotlight on gardens and estates across the country.
Amongst those opening for the event, which runs until May 31, are Attadale Gardens at Strathcarron, the National Trust for Scotland’s Inverewe Garden and Dundonnell House.
Joanna MacPherson of Attadale Gardens said: "There is something special about the spectacular nature of the Highlands, where the mountains and water provide a wonderful backdrop to the dramatic colours of the many kinds of rhododendrons that flourish here.
"From the little dwarf rhododendrons that bring small splashes of colour, to the dramatically large-leaved sinogrande, or the towering tree-like barbatum with its profusion of red flowers.
"Wherever you choose to visit, ask them which rhododendron in their garden are they most proud? You can learn so much about them."
The annual festival, launched in 2015, is organised by national garden tourism group Discover Scottish Gardens, supported by VisitScotland and Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.
It has organised open days at private gardens across the country to raise money for a selection of charities.
It aims to encourage local people and tourists to enjoy the wonders of Scotland’s gardens during the rhododendron flowering period and highlight the diversity and plethora of rhododendron collections that can be found in Scotland.
Participating venues will be hosting activities and rhododendron walks for all the family.
The rhododendron is a huge family of around 1000 species, from small mountain shrubs to magnificent tree-like specimens.
Chris Taylor of VisitScotland said: "Now is the perfect time of year to get out and about to explore our great outdoors."
More on the festival at visitscotland.com/blog/scotland/rhododendron-festival