Home Places to visit Scotland’s Gardens Scheme 2018

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme 2018

Magnificent backdrop to gardens. Picture; SGS
Magnificent backdrop to gardens. Picture; SGS

Snowdrop Festival starts packed year of events

Attention plant lovers – Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (SGS) is kicking off in earnest on Saturday, January 27, with 24 gardens taking part in the Scottish Snowdrop Festival, which runs until March 11.  

More than 450 gardens open to the public to raise money for charity, of all shapes and sizes and in all locations.

There are 57 opening for the first time, 122 walled gardens, 33 urban gardens, ten community gardens, five allotment societies and 61 gardens belonging to stately homes.

As 2018 is the Year of Young People, SGS will be teaming up with the Scottish International Story Telling Festival during May and October to offer interactive ‘Growing Stories’ events in six gardens, including Fingask in Perthshire with its Alice in Wonderland-style topiary.

Gallery Walled Garden, Angus and Dundee. Picture; T Dobson
Gallery Walled Garden, Angus and Dundee. Picture; T Dobson

Free entry for children

Entry is free for children at all privately-owned gardens opening for the scheme. Other children’s activities include:

  • A Gruffalo Trail at Ardkinglas Woodland Garden
  • Poetry at Glen House in Peebleshire
  • Duck races at Highwood in Renfrewshire
  • A woodland dell with fairies at Skye’s Balmeanach House
  • Fairy doors at Culter Allers in Lanarkshire and Netherthird in Ayrshire
  • Willow crown making at Cambo near Fife.

Gardens with red squirrels and orange tip butterflies should be popular with wildlife lovers, while visitors can pick up tips on deer-proof planting and composting, as well as organic and biodynamic gardening.

Spectacular scenery. Picture; SGS
Crawick Multiverse, Dumfriesshire. Picture; Crawick Multiverse

Beekeeping and flower drying

Merchinston Cottage in Edinburgh will be buzzing with talks on beekeeping and visitors to Priorwood in Peebleshire can learn the traditional skill of flower drying.

Gardening beginners can ask advice from owners and plant connoisseurs can treat themselves to 18 national plant collections and 22 gardens with champion trees. Finally, 220 will offer plants for sale and 298 a welcome cuppa and cake!

Many of the gardens are private and not normally open to visitors. About 250 charities are supported by the scheme with more than £1 million raised during the last five years.

Scotland's Gardens Scheme 2018
Scotland’s Gardens Scheme 2018

Other SGS highlights

  • A new Fife Spring Trail with 12 gardens opening in April and May.
  • Eight new groups and five new villages, including Coldstream in Berwickshire.
  • The Japanese Garden at Cowden in Stirling – see this restoration project in its early stages
  • New gardens include Dalbeattie allotments in Kirkcudbrightshire; Viewpark Allotments in Lanarkshire; Edinburgh – open gardens of the Lower New Town and Belgrave Crescent Gardens; Villages – Newburgh in Fife, Brechin in Angus, Kippen Village in Stirling and Kiltarlity Gardens in Inverness
  • 53 gardens with historic ‘designed landscapes’ including Temple Village, the headquarters of the Knights Templar 12th-14th centuries or the restoration of Cardinal Beaton’s home in Angus with a medieval-themed walled garden.
  • 222 dog-friendly gardens and 125 accessible by public transport including Attadale with its own train station.

Explore amazing gardens

SGS national organiser Terrill Dobson said: “Scotland has some amazing gardens and I encourage as many people as possible to get out and explore them.

“You can pick up some growing tips, learn a new craft or simply spend a relaxing hour or two taking in the sights. You’ll also be raising money for worthwhile charities.”

For more information on the Snowdrop Festival, visit http://scotlandsgardens.org/scottish-snowdrop-festival-2018/. The charity’s new-look, easy-to-use website can be found at http://scotlandsgardens.org.


  1. I’m looking forward to the 2019 announcement! Are the gardens accessible by public transport noted in any way? That would be nice.

    • Hi there,
      As a non-driver too, I often find it annoying that venues assume everyone has a car! One of my contacts (not in Scotland) said they don’t include public transport (especially buses) because is so likely to change between the time a guidebook is put together and the end of the season it covers. However, if you go to the SGS website link at the bottom of my post, you can search for garden information and there are email addresses and phone numbers. In my experience, people are really happy to give you up-to-date travel information to their gardens. Hope that helps! Mandy

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