Fife gardens are opening once again for charity
A change in Scottish Government Covid-19 guidance means owners will be able to welcome visitors once again.
The news was announced as the open garden charity appointed a new national organiser, Liz Stewart, to head up its fundraising work.
Gardens of all shapes and sizes across the country, which until now have been closed to visitors, are welcoming the public back to raise funds for charity, with special Covid-19 safety measures in place.
Visitors are encouraged to stagger their arrival time, bring exact change, maintain safe social distancing at all times and to check a garden’s entry requirements on the website before setting out.
Participating gardens in Fife include South Flisk in Cupar, offering spectacular views over Fife to Perthshire and Angus. The large flooded quarry full of fish and planted with impressive marginals also makes the garden well worth a visit.
Open by arrangement until September 30, admission is £5 (children free) with owners Mr and Mrs Young donating all proceeds to SGS Beneficiaries.
June Baxter from St Andrews will share her garden at 46 South Street, by arrangement until December 31, with donations to Friends of Craigtoun.
A renowned town garden, it has a historic doocot and an orchard underplanted with wildflowers and bulbs.
The Tower at Wormit is a one-acre Edwardian landscaped garden with panoramic views over the River Tay. Set on a hill, a series of paths meander around ponds and a small stream and woodland paths lead to a granite grotto with waterfall pool.
Open by arrangement until September 30, admission is £5 (children free) with Peter and Angela Davey raising funds for Dundee Chamber Music Club.
Willowhill in Newport-on-Tay and Helensbank in Kincardine are also opening to visitors and it is hoped more gardens will reopen as the summer progresses. Many have already contributed virtual tours with over 100 available to view on the website and YouTube channel.
Overseeing this summer’s openings will be the new national organiser Liz Stewart, who previously worked as development manager for Scotland for the Royal Horticultural Society.
She was part of the development team for community activities and led the charity’s UK-wide Greening Great Britain scheme.
Liz has also been a Beautiful Scotland judge for the past five years, volunteering for Keep Scotland Beautiful.
She takes up the reins from Terrill Dobson, who will still be involved as a volunteer organiser.
She said: “I’m excited to be supporting the work of such a strong, committed and inspiring community of volunteers.
“With 2020 being the most challenging of years, gardening has become a solace and inspiration to many and the importance of gardens to our well-being has never been greater.”
Like many charities, Scotland Gardens Scheme’s income has been badly hit by the pandemic closures.
However, the Trustees will honour a commitment to make donations this year to its three core beneficiaries, paying £14,000 each to Perennial, the only UK charity for people working in horticulture; The Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS) and Maggie’s.
Last year, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme enabled garden openers to support their own choice of charities.
Some £193,219 was donated to 235 national and local good causes via 500 garden openings.
They also supported the scheme’s three main beneficiaries (£42,000), its guest charity Trellis Scotland (£5000) and a training grant to the National Trust for Scotland (£7500).
That brought the fundraising tally to an incredible £247,719.
David Mitchell, SGS chairman, said: “The re-opening of gardens has been successful for all concerned.
“We are grateful that so many of our garden openers have been willing to do so.
“Not only are the funds raised of great importance in supporting such a wide range of charitable causes, but the enjoyment given to so many people through opening gardens is as important to our community as the fundraising itself.
“We breathe life into gardens and gardens breathe life into us. Come and visit!”
Visit scotlandsgardens.org to find out more.
Explore from inside the gates
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme was founded in 1931 to raise money for the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, to help support the Queen’s Nurses.
In a time before the National Health Service, there was little support for nurses.
However, more than 250 gardens opened that first year, including Balmoral Castle, Scottish home of the Royal Family since 1852.
In 1939, with the Dig for Victory campaign, many people turned their formal gardens into vegetable beds.
But the scheme was held in such high esteem that extra petrol was allocated for gardeners to mow their lawns and to provide transportation for visitors. And despite the drop in garden openings proceeds increased.
The scheme’s charitable support has expanded over the years but its love of gardens has remained constant. Scotland’s Gardens Scheme raises money for charities by facilitating the opening of large and small gardens of horticultural interest all over the country.
Most are privately owned and are normally inaccessible to the public at other times so it’s an opportunity to explore from inside the gates!
Since 2018, 60 per cent of Garden Open Day takings have been donated to the owner’s nominated charities with the remaining 40 per cent distributed to the scheme’s four beneficiaries.
Visitors can plan their days out by clicking onto scotlandsgardens.org.
Click on the area you would like to visit and details of all gardens opening locally will be displayed, with opening hours, an online map and key details.
In light of the current health pandemic, please check the website before setting off to make sure you have the most up-to-date information.