Mention Scotland’s Gardens and it’s likely to conjure up warm summer days and afternoon tea al fresco.
But in fact the charity doesn’t stop its work just because winter is upon us - far from it.
There are plans to be made for next year; cuttings to take; plant sales to organise and, in the case of management committee member Sally Lorimore, talks to be given.
Sally, whose own garden at Willowhill, near Newport, is open as part of the scheme, is keen to cheer up the long winter days by bringing a little taste of summer to any local clubs who care to her invite her.
Not only is she happy to pass on her horticultural expertise, but she wants to spread the word about the massive amounts of money the Scotland’s Gardens scheme raises for national and local good causes every season.
Founded in 1931, Scotland’s Gardens was originally established to raise funds to train nurses.
Today, 60 per cent of the money raised goes to its own beneficiary charities - Maggies Cancer Caring Centres, The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, the NTS Gardens Fund and the gardening charity Perennial - while 40 per cent goes to a charity of the garden owner’s choice.
“Fife has a particularly impressive fund-raising record,” says Sally.
“It raises about 10 per cent of the amount in the whole of Scotland, and the money benefits a wide variety of good causes.
“The charities set to benefit from garden openings in 2016 include Colinsburgh Town Hall, Blebo Craigs Village Hall, Crail Cubs, Mercy Ships, Marie Curie, Forgan Arts Centre, Barnardo’s and the RAF Benevolent Fund, to name only a few.”
The scheme has caught the imagination of gardeners all over the country and today, as well as being able to admire the manicured estates of magnificent country houses, visitors can also enjoy exploring private gardens in towns and villages.
Sally and her husband Eric Wright, both retired scientists, have been opening their own garden since 2008.
Already, next year’s particiating gardens have been lined up and a guide book will be on sale early in December. It costs £5 and can be ordered online at www.scotlandsgardens.org. Anyone who’d like Sally to talk to their group can contact her on 01382 542890.