Scotland’s Gardens Scheme launches virtual garden visits

Over two hundred Scottish gardens, mostly privately owned, would have been opened to the public in May, and more than four hundred throughout spring and summer months to raise money for numerous charities. Instead, due to Covid-19, the charity behind garden open days in Scotland has had to suspend all the events for the first time in its 89 years.

“Since 1931 our charity has been successfully running open days every single year, even during WWII, but this stopped in March this year,” said Terrill Dobson, the Director of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme. “And even though the gardens are looking splendid, as people seek solace in gardening, our Garden Openers will not be able to welcome visitors for the foreseeable future.”

To lift community spirit and continue raising money for charity, the Scheme reached out to Garden Openers asking them to video their gardens to share virtually. David Gallacher and Tom Williamson from Bonnyrigg, who have around 610 different plants, 200 containers and pots and 30 hanging baskets in a 30ft x 120ft area, were among the first contributors. They are raising money for Lyn’s Small Animal Rehoming and Forth Valley Sensory Centre. Other Openers followed with footage from their gardens, most of them recording for the first time.

“There’s been a very positive response, we receive new videos most days. Garden Openers genuinely want to share what’s happening in their gardens while hoping to support the charities that now need it even more than ever. We ask people who would have come to the gardens to watch the videos and consider a donation,” said Terrill.

Anyone can support the Scheme by subscribing to its newsletter and YouTube channel, watching videos on its website and making a donation through the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme website. “We are excited to share these videos with everyone and truly believe that seeing the passion that our Openers put into their gardens will leave people inspired,” Terrill added.

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme will be adding to its virtual garden tours every day, available on its website and new YouTube channel. These currently include:

Shepherd House, located in East Lothian – a constantly evolving artist’s garden that never stands still, with lots of surprises. The owner Ann Fraser selected charity is Live Music Now Scotland.

Parkvilla in Aberdeenshire – a south-facing Victorian walled garden, lovingly developed from a design started in 1990 to give colour and interest all year. Andy and Kim Leonard’s chosen charities are: St Mary’s Church Ellon, Alzheimer Scotland and Ellon Men’s Shed.

Humbie Dean, in East Lothian – a two-acre ornamental and woodland garden sandwiched between two burns at 600 feet with interest throughout a long season. The owner Frank Kirwan is raising money for Mamie Martin Fund

Hunter’s Tryst, in Edinburgh – well-stocked and beautifully designed, mature, medium-sized town garden comprising herbaceous and shrub beds, lawn, fruit and some vegetables, water features, seating areas, trees and an example of cloud pruning. The owner Jean Knox is supporting St Columbas Hospice & Lothian Cat Rescue through money raised through our website.

101 Greenbank Crescent, in Edinburgh – a fascinating garden on a steeply sloped site, featuring ornamental plants as well as productive beds. The owners Chris and Jerry Gregson are raising money for Shelter Scotland.


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