For the first time in a number of years, the weather played a prominent part in the Hidden Gardens of St Andrews event.
Organisers of the main annual fundraising effort of the St Andrews Preservation Trust gritted their teeth as early morning rain and heavy showers later contributed to visitor numbers to the 12 gardens, open to the public, being down from over 800 in 2011 to 550 this year. However the anount of money raised was still in excess of £5000.
Many of those attending expressed satisfaction with the organisation of the event. The variety of the stalls and the quality of goods on sale were favourably commented upon as were the increasing number of specifically gardening orientated stands such as “working with willow,” “Green Thumb Lawn Treatments” and a local blacksmith.
Fundraising stalls at the St John’s venue in South Street were well patronised covering flower power, with trustee Marysia Denyer the flower fairy, and also wedding hats and jewellery. The little herb farm and Cecilia ‘‘the Jam Lady’’ were also present.
At the Preservation Trust Museum the cake and candy stall was particularly well patronised and other stalls included books, plants and arts and crafts.
Again the quality of confectionery and other refreshments provided by volunteer bakers was very high. A number of local firms provided food for very popular ploughmen’s lunches. Strawberries and cream were available at 46 South Street, courtesy of June Baxter, refreshments were served at the Ducks Crossing in Dempster Terrace and teas/coffees at Mrs Kinsley’s, Kennedy Gardens. The main centres for catering were St John’s and the Trust Museum.
Because of the weather the musical entertainment planned, namely the Fife French horns group and the Swilcan Singers, for St John’s had to be cancelled. However, Callum McLeod did play on his keyboard at the doocot at 46 South Street in the afternoon. This was also the venue in the morning for what has become a popular annual feature, the appearance of Jenny Mollison as a plant doctor giving advice on ailing plants and other gardening queries. Mrs Mollison writes regularly on allotments for the Scotsman magazine.
Congratulations were given to Andrew Johnson and his team for producing such a well-run event. Overall sponsor was local legal firm Murray Donald Drummond Cook.