Digging deep for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme
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.