Dig­ging deep for Scot­land’s Gar­dens Scheme

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

The char­ity’s roots go back to 1931, when its orig­i­nal pur­pose was to raise funds to sup­port the Queen’s Nurses, bet­ter known as district nurses. There was no NHS at this time so this sup­port was crit­i­cal to Scot­land’s com­mu­ni­ties. The scheme was a huge suc­cess – more than 500 gar­dens opened in re­turn for a ‘vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tion’. As war loomed some gar­dens closed but, as Terrill Dob­son, Na­tional Or­gan­iser for Scot­land’s Gar­dens, ex­plains, the spirit of the blitz took over and many gar­den own­ers dug for vic­tory by grow­ing veg­eta­bles for sale in their flower beds. She added: Teas con­tin­ued to be served on the lawns – with­out su­gar.’ The au­thor­i­ties re­alised that th­ese gar­dens were pro­vid­ing a valu­able source of in­come for district nurs­ing and a wel­come form of re­lax­ation for war work­ers. As a re­sult, it was de­cided that ex­tra petrol would be pro­vided for spe­cial buses to take vis­i­tors to gar­den open­ings. More than 70 years on, 500 gar­dens of all shapes and sizes are open­ing across the coun­try this year. Their sup­port will ben­e­fit 200 de­serv­ing causes, in­clud­ing the Queen’s Nurs­ing In­sti­tute Scot­land, en­abling them to carry on their val­ued work in 21st cen­tury com­mu­nity nurs­ing. ‘We’re in­cred­i­bly in­clu­sive, look­ing for all types of gar­dens,’ says Terrill, ‘Every­thing from large and small and rang­ing from for­mal es­tates to wild havens for bees and in­sects; vil­lage and cot­tage gar­dens to com­mu­nity al­lot­ments. ‘Many peo­ple worry that their gar­den won’t be good enough to open with us which is usu­ally just plain nuts. We’re look­ing for en­thu­si­as­tic gar­den­ers with gar­dens that are truly loved – that’s what makes a spe­cial gar­den which oth­ers will en­joy vis­it­ing.’ Sat/Sun 24/25 June Dal An Eas, Kil­more. Oban PA34

4XU Stun­ning in­for­mal coun­try gar­den which aims to in­crease the bio­di­ver­sity of na­tive plants and in­sects while adding in­ter­est and colour with in­tro­duced trees, shrubs and nat­u­ralised peren­ni­als. A struc­tured gar­den and pond, burn with a pool, wild­flower meadow with na­tive or­chids and a veg­etable plot. Grass paths lead to water­falls, views and an­cient ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites. Teas. Pro­ceeds to Mary’s Meals. Open all year 9am to dusk, Bar­guil­leans’s An­gus Gar­den PH35 1HY A short drive from Dal An Eas, this nine acre wood­land gar­den with 11-acre loch nes­tles in the Glen Lo­nan Hills. Flow­er­ing North Amer­i­can rhodo­den­dron hy­brids, de- cid­u­ous aza­leas, conifers and un­usual trees. Some paths can be steep. Three wonderful walks from 30 min­utes to 1½ hours. Chil­dren un­der-14s and dogs go free. Do­na­tion to SGS Ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Open all year 9am to dusk, Ard­maddy Cas­tle PA34 4QY Spec­tac­u­lar gar­dens shielded by ma­ture wood­lands and pro­tected from the winds by the el­e­vated cas­tle. The walled gar­den is full of mag­nif­i­cent rhodo­den­drons, a col­lec­tion of rare and un­usual shrubs and plants, the Clock Gar­den with cut­ting flow­ers, the new crevice gar­den with fruit and veg­eta­bles. Be­yond, a wood­land walk, with a 60ft hy­drangea, leads to the wa­ter gar­dens – in early sum­mer a riot of can­de­labra prim­u­las, irises, rodger­sias and other damp lov­ing plants and grasses. Lovely au­tumn colour. A plants­man’s gar­den for all sea­sons. Do­na­tion to SGS Ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Open un­til 31 Oc­to­ber 0930-1730, Ard­chat­tan Pri­ory PA37 1RQ Beau­ti­fully sit­u­ated on the north side of Loch Etive, a rock­ery, ex­ten­sive herba­ceous and rose bor­ders with ex­cel­lent views over the loch. Shrub bor­ders and a wild gar­den, nu­mer­ous roses and many dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of sor­bus pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent au­tumn colour. The pri­ory, founded in 1230, is now a pri­vate house. The ru­ins of the chapel and graveyard are in the care of His­toric Scot­land and open with the gar­den. Do­na­tion to SGS Ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Open by ap­point­ment Barochreal PA34 4UT Call:

01852 316151 En­joy a tour of this vi­brant young gar­den of rhodo­den­drons and aza­leas, a rose gar­den, wa­ter fea­ture with rock­ery, a pond with is­land, raised veg­etable beds and a wild gar­den with bee­hives, water­falls and burns. Main­tained walk­ing tracks in the fields and to view­points. Pro­ceeds to Ar­gyll An­i­mal Aid.

Dal-an-Eas

Barochreal

Ard­maddy

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