Visit a Scottish open garden this year

Over 500 private gardens will open their gates for charity across Scotland during 2019 as part of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, demonstrating the positive link between gardening and health.

This year sees 64 gardens opening for the first time, joining community and therapeutic gardens, as well as allotments, contemporary, traditional, coastal and cottage gardens to benefit 256 local and national charities.

The national Open Garden charity is encouraging people to get out and explore Scotland’s horticultural treasurers and for the second year running it will be joining its sister organisation in England and Wales, the National Garden Scheme (NGS) to hold a Gardens & Health Week. Details of the Gardens & Health Week will appear on the NGS website in the spring. During that week community groups and schools will have free access to volunteer gardens to show how therapeutic and inspiring garden spaces can be.

The range of gardens open is outstanding and this year visitors will be able to view seven allotments, 14 community gardens and 34 village groups. Added to this, 39 historic landscapes in Scotland and four therapeutic gardens will also be open. More than 175 volunteers will be giving their time to help with the openings and this year will see more than 47 gardens hosting children’s activities and 180 gardens serving homemade teas.

There are spring and summer trails in Fife and 26 gardens and woodlands hosting snowdrop and winter walks.

Among the gardens opening for the first time is Dumfries Station Garden, a colourful, all-year interest garden planted on both sides of a working train station. The garden is managed by a group of ‘station adopters’ who are a thriving community group.

The plots of the Allotment Association of Crieff, renowned to be the most scenic in Scotland will also open for the first time as well as a quirky enclosed tarmac garden at the Bravehound project at Erskine Hospital in Bishopton, which provides companion dogs for military veterans.

The former home of poet Robert Burns at Ellisland Wild Garden, in Dumfriesshire, will open and the romantic garden at Ardno and Strachur House on Loch Fyne with its walled garden, gorge and meadow.

This year’s guidebook ‘cover garden’ is the photogenic Whitburgh House Walled Garden in Pathhead, Midlothian, which is described as a ‘lively forward-looking and unexpected gem.’

Bluebell woods at Teasses Estate strictly © Andrea Jones

Terrill Dobson, National Organiser for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, points out that gardeners share a secret – our gardens are like a very special friend, helping us with our health and wellbeing: “When we’re stressed, they calm us. They get us out of the house when the winter darkness is gutting at us,” he said. “Our garden can nourish us, literally, as you can grow so much in a small space. Fortunately, even if you are not a gardener, you can still enjoy many of the benefits by visiting them. What a wonderful way to spend time, out in the fresh air, surrounded by the serenity of a beautiful garden,” she adds.

Charities set to benefit from the scheme are the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, Maggie’s and Perennial. It will also be offering a £5,000 bursary to a guest charity to help fund garden-based projects to improve physical, mental and emotional well-being. Last year, Horatio’s Garden received a bursary towards a garden room at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow. Over £1 million has been raised for charity over the last four years through Scotland’s Garden Scheme’s openings.

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Picture credits: Middle: Bluebell woods at Teasses Estate, strictly © and Credit Andrea Jones/