Scotland’s Gardens Scheme Marks 90th Anniversary

Visitors are now able to tour beautiful open gardens large and small, whilst raising money for charity, as over 400 gardens open their gates for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme in its 90th anniversary year, including 70 new gardens open for the first time. 

As Covid restrictions ease over the next few months, eye-catching gardens of all shapes and sizes across the country are hoping to start opening to the public including 70 opening for the very first time. Horti highlights include gardens in the highest village in Lanarkshire, at a lofty 1,500 feet; a tiny ‘jungle’ garden near Ayr; the colourful private gardens at Bonnington House in Edinburgh, surrounded by the award-winning sculpture park Jupiter Artland; and a traditional walled garden, with potager and large greenhouse at Southwick House in Kirkcudbrightshire.

Angus and Dundee Trail

Other highlights will include:

  • The Angus & Dundee Garden Trail, running in June, includes 15 mostly private gardens which have never been open to the public before. 
  • 38 village and group openings in many areas of Scotland offering locals a great day out such as Lower Earn Small Gardens Trail in Perth & Kinross, Gattonside Village Gardens in Peeblesshire & Tweeddale, Bridge of Allan Gardens in Stirlingshire, and Smailholm Village Gardens in Roxburghshire.
  • 9 allotments, 10 therapeutic, 15 community, and several urban gardens.
  • 5 plant sales – Kilmacolm, Huntly, Kirriemuir, Helensburgh, and Cupar.
  • For visitors wishing a quieter visit, many hidden garden gems are open by arrangement, just contact the owner in advance. 

From large estates to urban wildlife havens, to allotments, contemporary and cottage gardens, to farmhouse gardens, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme has a garden for every interest. Growing conditions widely differ across Scotland with wonderful variations in planting, inspiring visitors with the plant possibilities in a wide range of settings; between Scotland’s coastal gardens and those at higher altitudes, from West Coast Gulf Stream gardens, with their tree ferns and echiums, to woodland and shade gardens where meconopsis and primula flourish. There is something for everyone, and the garden openers are even willing to answer gardening questions. 

Amulree, Wigtownshire

Fundraising Beneficiaries

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme was launched in 1931 to help fund district nurses and since then openings have taken place every year. In a normal year, thanks to 44,000 visitors, around 250 charities benefit from around £250,000 raised from the Scheme’s garden admissions, plant sales, and teas.

Liz Stewart, National Organiser at Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, said: “Thanks to garden owners and volunteers rallying together, there is an outstanding collection of beautiful gardens to visit this year, our 90th. Green spaces that will delight the eye and feed the soul, something we all so need at the moment.”

“We are incredibly grateful to our gardeners and volunteers, willing to share their gardens, their time, and their gardening know-how, making a difference to many charities.”

Online Tours

It might not be possible for everyone to attend in person and Scotland’s Gardens Scheme’s has got it covered. Its YouTube channel currently hosts 150 videos created by the garden openers themselves, including garden tours, ‘how-to’ videos, and informative talks.

Before setting off to any of the gardens, visitors should check the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme website for details and visitor guidance, as there may be some changes to the published dates, times, and booking limits due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Fehmarn © Camelia Hudema

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