Sunflowers, snowdrops, no dig plots, bee hives and wildflower meadows – Scotland’s Gardens Scheme launches 2024 season
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme returns for 2024 with an exciting new season of gardens, raising funds for hundreds of charities and involving over 1000 volunteers and garden openers.
2024 season highlights include:
- Over 50 new gardens will open their garden gates with Scotland’s Gardens Scheme for the first time
- 26 group and village openings
- 37 gardens opening as part of the Scottish Snowdrop Festival
- 11 community and education gardens participating
- An increasing trend towards wildlife-friendly and eco-conscious gardening
WELCOMING NEW GARDENS
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme is excited to welcome new gardens great and small and despite a tradition of stately homes and castles, it continues to see an increase in the number of smaller gardens enquiring about opening with Scotland’s Gardens Scheme. These gardens are appealing to garden visitors, providing real-life inspiration for their own gardens. However, castles and large gardens remain very popular for an insight into gardening on a grand scale.
Sunflower Dreams in Nairn (13 July) truly lives up to its name; the garden is a wildlife-friendly space with upcycled features and filled with blooms, including helichrysum, dahlias, nicotiana, bedding plants – and of course sunflowers – all grown from seed in the owners’ greenhouse. Plenty of inspiration for those gardening on a budget.
Meanwhile, another newcomer to Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, Aldourie Castle (11 August) sits in a wonderful position overlooking Loch Ness. The garden has been designed by Tom Stuart-Smith and is an ambitious modern re-imagining of a traditional castle garden and grounds, including a 1.3 acre walled garden with a large productive area hosting a range of vegetables and cut flowers.
PLANT SALES & SPECIAL EVENTS
As well as a range of plant sales where visitors can snap up plant bargains, often including the rare and unusual, some gardens also include special features in their open days to make the day go with a swing. Redcroft (11 & 12 May) and 20 Blackford Road (2 June), both in Edinburgh, will feature musical entertainment at their open days. Westgate in Dundee (19 & 20 October) and 12 Chatelherault Avenue in Glasgow (14 September) both feature later season openings, with the opportunity for an atmospheric evening, as the former garden is floodlit and the latter will feature pizza from their garden pizza oven.
Some events hark back to their historic origins with traditional family fun days; Drummond Castle near Crieff (4 August), with its magnificent Italianate parterre will run its lovely annual open day for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, which features family attractions, ice cream and teas in August. In East Lothian, Winton Castle (14 April) celebrates the start of spring – and its 90th open day with Scotland’s Gardens Scheme – with its wonderful garden fete where visitors can meander through swathes of thousands of daffodils.
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme celebrates the Scottish Snowdrop Festival with 37 participating gardens, including beautiful white carpets of thousands of snowdrops at Danevale in Kirkcudbrightshire (18 February), Craig in Dumfriesshire (18 February) or curated collections of rare and unusual treasures at Bruckhills Croft in Aberdeenshire (by arrangement 3 February to 17 March), Shepherd House in East Lothian (18 February and Tuesdays/Thursdays throughout the month) and 10 Pilmuir Road West in Moray (by arrangement 25 January – 11 March). Scone Palace will also open its gates for the charity with the chance to join Head Gardener, Beechgrove regular and Scotland’s Gardens Scheme Ambassador, Brian Cunningham and his team to plant snowdrops in the green on Sunday 25th February.
Read more about snowdrop gardens here: https://scotlandsgardens.org/snowdrops-and-winter-walks/
WILDLIFE- FRIENDLY AND ECO-CONSCIOUS GARDENING
Reflecting the growing trend across many UK gardens, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme’s 2024 programme includes an increasing number of gardens that actively seek to incorporate environmentally-friendly practises in their gardens. Indeed, there are few gardens these days that don’t include a pollinator patch, compost heap, unmown section of grass or wildlife-friendly corner of the garden, however small, and garden visitors find these touches fascinating and take inspiration for their own gardens.
A number of garden owners are beekeepers and you can find hives at quite a few; Barochreal in Argyl (by arrangement 1 May to 30 September) even has a purpose-built bee shelter to prevent hives from getting waterlogged in the area’s wet climate. The Moorhouse in the Scottish Borders (23 June) specialises in eco-friendly ‘grown not flown’ cut flowers, grown without chemical fertilisers and pesticides and floristry and visitors will be able to see how they grow their cut flowers and experience bouquet workshops on their open day. Over the past few years, Willowhill in Fife (by arrangement and also specific open dates from 27 April – 31 August) has created new ‘no dig’ herbaceous borders and visitors are invited to view these through the season and learn from the owners’ experience. And a new group of gardens at Covington in Lanarkshire (16 June) will include wildflower meadows with 80 species spotted in 2023, and a moth expert who will be on hand to show the different species of moth found in gardens.
WHERE THE MONEY WENT IN 2023
Last year Scotland’s Gardens Scheme gave £289,700 in total to a range of good causes. The charity is unique in that 60% of funds raised may go to a cause selected by garden owners. Last year, over £230,000 went directly to charities and good causes chosen by garden owners. In addition, £16,000 each went to Scotland’s Gardens Scheme core charity partners, Perennial, Maggie’s and the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland. A new bursary scheme launched in March 2023 gave £8,200 for grants to horticulturists in Scotland, for personal and professional training and development, administered by the Professional Gardeners’ Trust on behalf of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme, while a further £3,500 was donated to the National Trust for Scotland, supporting the professional development of their gardeners.
“We’re thrilled to launch another season of exciting garden open days to the public. As always, it’s such a pleasure to welcome a host of new gardens into the fold and we know our visitors take great pleasure and inspiration from these gardens, whatever their shape, style or size. Opening gardens is really a joyful way to raise money for charity and it’s such a ‘win-win’ – as well as fundraising, our gardeners and visitors are sharing good gardening practices, meeting new people and spending time together in the great outdoors – all such great ways to boost the wellbeing benefits of gardens and gardening. We hope you’ll join us in 2024.” said Liz Stewart, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme Chief Executive.
For details of all this and lots more to whet the appetite for the garden visiting season ahead, browse through the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme website or buy the 2024 guidebook, available on the website at scotlandsgardens.org.
If you would like a copy of the 2024 Guidebook, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address.
For trade sales, books can be ordered through Bookspeed: https://www.bookspeed.com/product/140009/scottish-gardens-open-for-charity-2024-by-scotlands-gardens-scheme
For more information:
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme supports the opening of gardens throughout Scotland to the public, raising funds for charity through garden gate tickets, plant sales and teas. Most are privately owned and are normally inaccessible to the public at other times. 60% of funds raised at each garden opening may go to garden owner’s charity of choice with the remainder being donated to Scotland’s Gardens Scheme and its beneficiary charities, Maggie’s, the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland and Perennial. Scotland’s Gardens Scheme is powered by volunteers and has been raising funds for charity through garden openings since 1931.
Full garden details can be found at scotlandsgardens.org. Garden and charity highlights can also be found on: