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Theresa's gardening blog - Scotland's Gardens

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Theresa Talbot | 11:15 UK time, Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I've been on holiday these past two weeks, and am delighted to say I visited some of the most beautiful gardens in the world (that's just my humble opinion you understand, as I have to admit I haven't seen every garden on the globe!) Anyway, some of these sights I visited for the first time, others are as familiar as old friends, and are practically on my doorstep. Yip, I had the now very trendy 'stay-cation' and holidayed at home! I'm sure there are those who felt sorry for my lack of wanderlust and desire to explore pastures new. Certainly there's nowt wrong with far flung places, but I just decided it would be nice to explore the little gems that are sitting within a stones throw of my own home (you would need pretty strong arms and a good aim admittedly to throw stones from my doorstep to some of the places, but it's just a figure of speech.)

Culzean Castle was on top of my list this week. A familiar haunt of my childhood, I'm glad to say the gardens have lost none of their charm. Cram-packed full of delights from exotic tropicals, to Victorian follies emerging from Jurassic ferneries; it's hard to imagine you're actually on the South Ayrshire coast. Greenbank Garden in Clarkston was another fabulous find. Every turn brought new inspiration as tremendous planting schemes slid into view. It did make me slightly envious, and a bit discontented with my own efforts to create the perfect plot, but as the head gardener explained to me (I pestered the life out of the poor man to reveal his horticultural secrets - and actually now that I think of it he may not even have been the head gardener, but he was outside in the rain without a jacket so that was good enough for me!)... anyway, as the head gardener (?) explained, Greenbank, like so many gardens open to the public have a team of experts and volunteers working side by side each day to get such outstanding results.

But it's not just big grand country estates that are open to the public. Each year thousands of ordinary folk open their gates to the public as part of Scotland's Gardens Scheme. I've been told they are 'ordinary folk', but to me they are a special breed of fearless gardeners with nerves of steel. Can you imagine! Thousands of beedy eyes examining every leaf, flower and bud. Every crevice on every path will be scrutinised for weeds! (I'm getting a bit stressed just thinking about it) But as long as it's someone else doing the toiling, what a fabulous idea. All the proceeds from the scheme go to charity, and it's a cracking way to visit very special gardens, have a brilliant time and get ideas for your own plot at the same time. Let's face it - the grand estates are truly breath-taking, but when you see how an enthusiastic amateur can turn the outside of a suburban-semi into a magical oasis, now that's really inspirational. It's also a fabulous way to bring communities together as often there are several gardens open in the same village on the same day, each doing their bit to make the event special.

This Saturday, the 2nd of July, ten gardens in Gullane in East Lothian will be open from 2pm. As usual all proceeds will go to charity, and you can get a sneak preview of some of the gardens on our website.

Scotland's Gardens Scheme - one of the garden's open in Gullane on 2 July.

Scotland's Gardens Scheme - one of the garden's open in Gullane on 2 July. Photo courtesy of Ray Cox.

And as part of Scotland's Gardens Scheme, we're recording a special edition of The Beechgrove Potting Shed this Thursday 30th June in Haddington Town Hall. There are still tickets available - kick off is at 7pm, and we'll have a panel of experts eager to answer your gardening questions. Tickets are free and available from:

Scotland's Gardens Scheme,
42a Castle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3BN
Email: info@sgsgardens.co.uk, or call: 0131 226 3714.

Do come along and feel free to pop over and say hello! Until then, happy gardening!

Theresa
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