Snowdrops and star gazing, stunning views of the Highlands, inner city allotment veg patches, scenic Scottish burns and sensory flower borders are some of the horticultural highlights in 66 new gardens opening to the public for Scotland’s Gardens in 2016.
In the charity’s 85th anniversary year, 440 gardens in total will be throwing open their gates as part of the scheme, stretching from Wigtownshire in the south west to Shetland in the north east. Winton House in East Lothian gets a special mention as it will open like every year bar one since Scotland’s Gardens began in 1931 – at its first opening the owners raised £20 8s & 6d.
During 2016, 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. 272 charities will benefit from funds raised by the openings.
Highlights of the 2016 Scotland’s Gardens opening programme also include:
· Craigengillan Estate and Dark Sky Observatory in Ayrshire opening into the evening for snowdrops and star gazing!
· Two new allotment openings – Craigentinny and Telferton Allotments in Edinburgh & West Lothian and Tillicoultry Allotments in Stirling.
· Three new villages – Boarhills Village Gardens in Fife, Muckart Village in Perth and Kinross and Kilbarchan Village Gardens in Renfrewshire – join 14 other village openings. There are also three rural group openings and one new coastal opening at Golf Course Road Gardens in Ayrshire.
· Dundee & Angus College will share the work and teachings of their horticulture students and the beautiful Crichton Rock Garden and Arboretum is opening in Crichton University Campus in Dumfriesshire.
· Auchinstarry Sensory Garden in Glasgow & North Lanarkshire, Forfar Open Garden in Angus & Dundee and The Castlebank Gardens in South Lanarkshire which are all supported by volunteers.
· Stunning Scottish Highland views from Craig Dhu in Inverness-shire, Pentland Hills views from Huntly Cot in Midlothian and a traditional glen garden with burns at Braevallich Farm, Argyll.
· The Walled Garden, Sheildhill in South Lanarkshire, a contemporary update of a 200-year-old walled garden; Easter Weens (Roxburghshire) has a beautiful pear shaped walled garden and Bridgend of Teith (Stirlingshire) is protected by a 100-year-old yew hedge.
Terrill Dobson, National Organiser for Scotland’s Gardens said: “Scotland has such a varied, beautiful landscape and so there is a garden opening for every taste. Our dedicated volunteers scour the country for undiscovered gardening gems and each year we’re always able to bring visitors something new to explore and admire.”
· Scotland’s Gardens Snowdrop Festival 30 January – 13 March.
· Over 80 gardens still available to visit in autumn including Little Broich in Stirlingshire, Attadale in Ross and Cromarty, with the Hill of Tarvit Plant Sale and Autumn Fair in Fife.
· Nearly 50 gardens have opened for at least 50 years for the charity
o Yetholm Village Gardens, Roxburghshire is opening for the 26th year. Opening includes stalls, live music and cream teas.
o Langwell, Caithness and Logan House Gardens, Wigtownshire will be celebrating their 75th year with SG
· Portrack’s Garden of Cosmic Speculation will open again this year. In 2015 they raised £17,000 with Maggie’s as their chosen 40% charity.
· Urban Garden Groups, seven in total including two new ones Brighton Gardens in Edinburgh and Strathbungo Gardens in Glasgow.
· Glenkyllacky Lodge, Inverness – a stunning garden beautifully planted round a pond with backdrop of birch and juniper covered hillside. Various original sculptures, wondrous wall/ folly and second pond with oriental bridges and ornamental ducks.
· Bruckhills Croft, Aberdeenshire – informal country cottage garden with colour themed borders leading to a wildflower meadow with pond. Fun labyrinth and chance to spot wildlife by the river.
· Village gardens, including Athelstaneford Village, East Lothian which includes a working model train, the coastal gardens at Crail with three new gardens and Dirleton and Edzell Villages with their Castle Gardens opening too.
· Over 200 gardens welcome dogs.
· 40 offer accommodation, such as B&B.