Gardening expert, Coreen Connell, describes a charitable opportunity to peek over the wall into some of the most beautiful private gardens in the country, courtesy of the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme. Â Kevock Â Road, Lasswade is showcased this weekend, 13-14th June.
Since 1931, Scotlandâ€™s Gardens (a registered charity) has been allowing members of the public to view, wander around and admire exquisite private gardens whilst helping raise funds for charity. In 1932 over 500 private gardens were opened raising nearly a quarter of a million in todayâ€™s money â€“ this has now increased to over one million pounds in the last three years.
Today, gardens open throughout the year all over Scotland; listings can be found in the yearly Guide Book. Small villages usually open a number of gardens at the same time and allow visitors to meander from one to the next. Â The provisos are that gardens must be â€˜interestingâ€™ and of a good horticultural standard. The extra activities â€“ homemade refreshments, plant and produce stalls, music and childrenâ€™s games vary from location to location.
Initially formed to raise funds for the Queenâ€™s Nurses, the scheme didnâ€™t stop even during the war years, when teas were still served but without sugar and special allowances with petrol rations meant lawns could be mowed and visitors bussed to and fro.Â The needs of the District Nurses were reduced with the National Health Service, and, in 1952, Scotlandâ€™s Gardens Scheme includedÂ The Gardens Fund of The National Trust for Scotland as a secondary beneficiary.
In 1961 it was decided that private garden owners could choose which registered charity would benefit from 40% of their takings, and that the Scheme would donate annually to The Royal Gardeners’ Benevolent Fund and The Royal Gardeners’ Orphan Fund â€“ now called Perennial. In 2008 Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres was appointed as a third major beneficiary.
Over the weekend of 13-14th June, various gardens on Kevock Road, Lasswade, will be opening their gates. Number 16 Kevock Road, complete with coveted plant stall, features, as does neighbouring Greenfield Lodge (homemade teas available!) plus several other smaller gardens.
The summer perennial and herbaceous displays are wonderful and the gardens open include bulbs, unusual trees and shrubs. Number 16 is associated with Kevock Garden Plants nursery (recent gold medal winners at Harrogate, Chelsea and Gardening Scotland) and has a difficult garden on a steep slope â€“ so stout footwear is advisable. The garden is over 40 years old, first started by Sir John Randall and in 1983, the present owners built the first rockery. It now has a number of rockeries specialising in alpine plants mostly from the Himalayas and seed sourced from the Scottish Rock Garden Club and the Alpine Society. The views over the glen and towards Mavisbank House are spectacular where deer and birds of prey are frequently seen. The house is architecturally special, of an early Morris and Steedman design, which was shown as part of a BBC4 series, â€˜Living with Modernismâ€™, back in 2006.
Kevock Road, Lasswade, Edinburgh EH18 1HF is just off the bypass.
Open 12-5pm, Admission is Â£6, children free, (with their 40% going to Wellbeing of Women)
Photographs featured are from 16 Kevock Road.