-Her Royal Highness meets charity volunteers & garden openers at tea party-
The Duchess of Rothesay helped Scotland’s Gardens mark its 85th anniversary today at a special birthday tea party held in the grounds of the charity’s longest standing open garden, Winton House in East Lothian.
Her Royal Highness met volunteers and staff who help the organisation ‘open the gates’ of hundreds of gardens across Scotland every year to raise funds for other deserving charities.
Scotland’s Gardens was created in 1931 and Winton House holds a special place in the charity’s history as it has opened every year bar one since the charity began, making it the longest standing garden to open for the charity. At its first opening the owners raised £20 8s & 6d.
Volunteers whose gardens have opened for over 50 years for the charity were amongst those to chat to the Duchess. Her Royal Highness helped plant a commemorative mulberry tree in Winton’s terraced gardens. She also heard about the launch of a new research project into the charity’s extensive archives with the aim of making them available to the public, historians and horticulturists.
David Mitchell, deputy chairman of Scotland’s Gardens, said: “We are thrilled that our President, the Countess of Rothesay, joined us to celebrate this special event and met many of our stalwart volunteers. Since Scotland’s Gardens began 85 years ago it has raised almost £8.7 million for over 200 charities and given countless hours of horticultural pleasure to garden visitors, which we’re really proud of.
“Behind the scenes of course, the staff and volunteers have put in even more hours, mowing, weeding, baking cakes, distributing leaflets and greeting members of the public.
The family and team at Winton House typify that commitment and it is fitting that we’ve been able to mark this milestone with them.”
In this anniversary year, 440 gardens are opening their gates as part of the Scotland’s Gardens scheme, stretching from Wigtownshire in the south west to Shetland in the north east. Most are private and not otherwise available to visit. Visitors will be able to wander around coastal gardens, village trails, grand estates and hidden urban retreats, gaze in awe at 35 National Plant Collections and have their wallets tempted at a dozen plant sales and over 200 plant stalls.
Highlights still to come during the year include openings at Boarhills Village Gardens in Fife; over 80 gardens in the autumn including Little Broich in Stirlingshire, Attadale in Ross and Cromarty, with the Hill of Tarvit Plant Sale and Autumn Fair in Fife, and Craigentinny and Telferton Allotments in Edinburgh.
Winton House is a 15th Century castle, with picturesque terraced gardens overlooking a loch, and the home of Sir Francis and Lady Ogilvy.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Visitors can plan their days out to participating gardens by clicking onto www.scotlandsgardens.org. Garden highlights can also be found on Facebook ScotlandsGardens and on Twitter @ScotGardens. As well as on the website, garden listings can be found in the Scotland’s Gardens 2016 Guidebook, on sale in major bookshops, at tourist attractions, garden centres etc and online via www.scotlandsgardens.org.
All of the gardens have to be of horticultural interest and meet a certain standard to participate in Scotland’s Gardens programme and this is carefully monitored by the charity’s team of 200 volunteers.
Forty per cent of funds go to charities nominated by each garden owner with the net remainder being donated to SG beneficiaries who are currently Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, The Gardens Fund of the National Trust for Scotland and Perennial. Over 200 charities have benefitted.