85 Years of Scotland’s Gardens

Castlebank Gardens in South Lanarkshire, which features in Scotland's Gardens 2016, is tended by volunteers.

Snowdrops and star gazing, stunning views of the Highlands, inner city allotments, scenic burns and sensory flower borders are some of the horticultural highlights in the 66 new gardens opening to the public for Scotland’s Garden’s in 2016.

In the charity’s 85th anniversary year, 440 gardens in total will throw open their gates, stretching from Wigtownshire in the south west to Shetland in the north east. Thanks to Scotland’s Gardens, 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 help the 272 charities which benefit from funds raised by the openings.

Winton House in East Lothian gets a special mention in the 2016 programme as it’s opened every year bar one since Scotland’s Gardens began in 1931 – at its first opening, the owners raised £20 8s & 6d.

“Scotland has such a varied, beautiful landscape and so there is a garden opening for every taste,” said Terrill Dobson, National Organiser for Scotland’s Gardens.

“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.”

Highlights of the 2016 Scotland’s Gardens Programme

  • 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 – joining 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 sharing the work and teachings of their horticulture students and the beautiful Crichton Rock Garden and Arboretum opening at Crichton University Campus, Dumfriesshire.
  • Openings at gardens supported by volunteers: Auchinstarry Sensory Garden in Glasgow & North Lanarkshire, Forfar Open Garden in Angus & Dundee and The Castlebank Gardens in South Lanarkshire.
  • 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; the beautiful pear-shaped walled garden at Easter Weens  in Roxburghshire: Stirlingshire Bridgend of Teith, which is protected by a 100-year-old yew hedge.


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Key Facts

  • Scotland’s Gardens raises money for other charities by facilitating the opening of large and small gardens throughout Scotland to the public. Most are privately owned and are normally inaccessible to the public at other times.
  • All of the gardens have to be of horticultural interest and meet a certain standard to participate in Scotland’s Gardens programme.
  • In the last three years, over £1 million has been raised for charity by Scotland’s Gardens. 40% of funds go to charities nominated by each garden owner with the net remainder being donated to SG beneficiaries, who are currently Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland and The Gardens Fund of the National Trust for Scotland and Perennial.
  • Over 200 gardens who participate in the scheme welcome dogs and 40 offer accommodation, such as B&B.