Birds, bees, butterflies and brilliant wee beasties: wildlife and biodiversity in Scotland’s open gardens to be celebrated in 2020

  • 526 gardens to open their gates for charity across the country during the year
  • 89 gardens opening for the first time
  • At least 47 gardens opening for a May Garden Festival Weekend (23-25 May), 26 participating in Snowdrops & Winter Walks (Feb-March) and 17 in the Angus & Dundee Garden Trail during June
  • 8 allotments, 9 therapeutic, 17 community and 3 school gardens, plus several retirement homes
  • Over 250 charities, large and small, to benefit from funds raised
  • Openings will raise importance of ‘healthy gardens’ packed with wildlife and their contribution to environment and tackling climate chang


The positive impact gardens can make to the environment in a world battling climate change is to be highlighted this year by the open garden charity Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.

With over 500 mainly private gardens opening their gates to the public, and around 40% of those boasting a wildlife area, the charity is calling on visitors to embrace the natural world by enjoying, learning and being inspired to create nature-friendly features in their own gardens at home.

“Every little helps: whether it be planting flowers to attract pollinators or using natural pest controls; making a garden pond or keeping bees,” says the charity’s President, HRH The Duchess of Rothesay (HRH Duchess of Cornwall) in the 2020 Scotland’s Gardens Scheme Guidebook, which also includes wildlife gardening tips from Simon Milne MBE, Regius Keeper for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Special wild gardens opening this year include Baile Geamhraidh on a biodynamic farm on the Island of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides, where wildflowers, birds, bees and butterflies abound; Barochreal in Argyll with active beehives, a wild garden, a small glen and waterfall where 40 different species of moth and over 70 species of wildflowers, including three types of wild orchid, have been spotted, as well as red squirrels and pine martins; and Bruckills Croft in Aberdeenshire, the home of award-winning wildlife gardener Helen Rushton, which has its own butterfly alley.

For the first time, a May Garden Festival Weekend (23-25 May) will be held with dozens of gardens opening across Scotland, including many normally only open ‘by arrangement’. Galanthophiles will love the 26 gardens opening for Snowdrop & Winter Walks during February and March including  Kailzie Gardens in Peeblesshire & Tweeddale, a snowdrop collection of over 150 varieties at Ecclesgreig Castle in Kincardine & Deeside, and Danevale Park which is opening for the fiftieth time on 23 February with an old-fashioned tea served in the house. Running over Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in June, the Angus & Dundee Garden Trail will offer 17 diverse gardens to explore, including a wildflower meadow, community garden and productive walled garden.

During the year visitors will get the chance to visit 89 new gardens, opening to the public for the first time for the charity, including:

  • Jupiter Artland, & Bonnington House, Edinburgh & West Lothian: private garden of Bonnington House and extensive grounds of the adjoining award-winning sculpture park, and contemporary arts and education venue – Jupiter Artland, is an example of an extraordinary marriage of arts and nature.
  • Gardyne Castle, Angus: beautiful and varied formal gardens, featuring a fishpond and the family’s collection of chickens, merge into mature woods and parkland with a spectacular display of bluebells and romantic walks along the Denton Burn.
  • Duchess of Montrose Memorial Garden, Glasgow & District: a delightful and peaceful new garden created from the derelict site of a former shipyard. The garden has provided huge therapeutic benefits for everyone who has visited it.
  • 1 Burnton Road, Ayrshire: a serpentine path meanders through dense planting of palms, bamboos and tree ferns. Of particular note are hardy and tender bromeliads and aroids such as arisaema and colocasia.
  • Crinan, Wigtownshire : ten lochs, many unusual conifers including Wollemi Pine.
  • Bothwell Village Gardens, Lanarkshire: four delightful gardens developed by various local organisations in conjunction with the Local Authority. Each has its own atmosphere created by individual plantings. You will find formal and informal gardens, managed woodland, a sensory garden, suffragette-inspired planting, wildflowers, sculptures, plus quirky features such as craft bombing and fairy doors.

“This year we are thinking about healthy gardens by celebrating wildlife,” said Terrill Dobson, National Organiser for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme. “Our gardens and greenspaces are ecosystems that nurture a vast array of biodiversity including insects, butterflies, birds, small animals, earthworms and even beneficial bacteria. And these in turn benefit our gardens, through pollination, improved structure and pest control, just to name a few. It’s wonderful to offer the public so many fantastic nature-friendly gardens to visit and we’re hoping lots of people will walk away inspired by what they’ve seen.”

Other highlights include Shetland gardens celebrating 10 years opening for the charity such as CruisdaleHighlands Garden, Lea Gardens, Nonavaar and Norby.

More than 250 local and national charities will benefit from the funds raised through garden openings including Scotland’s Gardens Scheme’s own beneficiary charities – 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 projects to improve physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Last year Trellis received a bursary towards its excellent work to support therapeutic gardens across Scotland.  Over £1 million has been raised for charity over the last four years through Scotland’s Garden Scheme’s openings.


For further media information please contact: Emma Mason on or 07762 117433.  High res images and logos are available.

OR Terrill Dobson, National Organiser, on  or 0131-226 3714,


Scotland’s Gardens Scheme raises money for other charities by facilitating the opening of large and small gardens of horticultural interest throughout Scotland to the public. Most are privately owned and are normally inaccessible to the public at other times.

Visitors can plan their days out to participating gardens by clicking onto  Click on which area you’d like to visit and details of all gardens opening locally will be displayed, with opening hours, online map and key details. Garden highlights can also be found on Twitter @ScotGardens  Instagram ScotlandGardenScheme and on Facebook ScotlandsGardens.  As well as on the website, garden listings can be found in the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme 2020 Guidebook, on sale in major bookshops, at tourist attractions, garden centres etc and online via

Sixty percent of funds raised may go to charities nominated by each garden owner with the net remainder being donated to SGS beneficiary charities.