Category Archives: Events

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation Open Day

Yesterday was Scotland’s Garden Scheme’s biggest garden opening event of the year – The Garden of Cosmic Speculation at Portrack, near Dumfries. It’s a private garden and only opens one day a year via SGS and tickets were sold out a few weeks ago.

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Designed by Maggie Keswick (the founder of Maggie’s Centres) and her husband Charles Jenks the garden covers 30 acres and is packed with gardens, landforms, sculptures, gardens, terraces and architectural features. It’s a clever and often humorous use of nature to stimulate the senses

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

I was lucky enough to be there, along with a raft of our volunteers, to help man the gates, the stalls and just make sure all the visitors had a lovely day. I did get a quick nose around but I only saw a fraction it. No excuse needed to go back and help out again next year, that’s for sure.

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

It was tiring but all the happy faces as people were leaving made it all worthwhile, not to mention the fact that we raised £thousands for charity. I still can’t quite believe that this is my job now – SO lucky! Next year, I’ll be sure to post this as soon as tickets go on sale as I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Lanark FlowerFest 10th – 12th May

Sadly, I’ll not be able to make this as I’ll be up running The Road to the Isles half marathon in Arisaig, however, it looks like a lovely day out in a beautiful part of Scotland.

‘FlowerFest’ is a 3-day celebration of the horticultural heritage of the Clyde Valley in Scotland.

The festival opens on Friday 10th May and runs until Sunday 12th May. There will be a whole range of garden-themed activities including garden centre displays, planter competitions, plant sales, tours of the park and a Gardeners’ Question Time chaired by Beechgrove Garden’s George Anderson. To attract a wider audience, there will also be entertainment from local groups, food & drink, a craft tent and kids’ entertainment.

Entry is £3 for adults per day or £5 for a 3-day weekend pass. School age children are free. Further information about the festival, including the full programme line-up, is available here.

The Explorer’s Garden in Pitlochry

Ever since I read Seeds of Blood and Beauty, a fascinating book about the preeminence of the early Scottish plant hunters, not to mention an abundance of untimely and sometimes intriguing deaths, I’ve been fascinated by these early pioneers of horticulture.

The Explorer's Garden in Pitlochry

Many of the plants we take for granted in our gardens are not native species and the Explorer’s Garden tells the stories of these astonishing men who travelled the world and endured extreme hardships to bring us plants and trees for cultivation, commerce and conservation.

The Explorer's Garden in Pitlochry

The garden is laid out representing areas of the world from where the species originated, along with storyboards shedding light on individual stories, travels and achievements.

The Explorer's Garden in Pitlochry

It’s still pretty early in the season, and having just bagged two snow clad munroes (Ben Macdui and Cairngorm) the day before, I knew it wasn’t going to be at its best but it had been on my ‘to do’ list for so long I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit that our Easter weekend away presented.

The Explorer's Garden in Pitlochry

The garden has a lovely feel to it and it’s quite a bit bigger than I’d been expecting. The volunteer on the gate was super-friendly, telling me where she’d seen red squirrels that morning and showing me where the first yellow meconopsis had just bloomed the day before (they host the National Meconopsis Plant Collection). There was also a lovely exhibition of photographs celebrating modern Scottish plant hunters in the pavilion.

The Explorer's Garden in Pitlochry

Whilst it was still beautiful with plenty of points of interest, architecture and spots of colour I think that in a few weeks time this garden will be absolutely stunning – I really hope to be able to return again and see it then, although I suspect I would have to trade the pleasure and solitude of an out of season visit to be able to see it at its best. The red squirrels were a charming bonus.

The Explorer's Garden in Pitlochry

A wee plug while I can – whilst you can visit any day (in season), the Explorer’s Garden are opening in aid of Scotland’s Garden Scheme on Sunday 2nd June, when it should be looking absolutely fabulous, so, if you fancy visiting it, please consider doing so on this day as the money raised does so much good for the charities being supported.

Looking for Community Groups who’d Like to Visit a Garden…

Anyone know of any Scottish-based community groups who might benefit from a visit to one of our gardens…?

This year Scotland’s Garden Scheme will join sister organisation, the National Gardens Scheme who cover England and Wales, to hold Gardens and Health Week the 11th – 19th May.

The health and well-being aspect of being in a garden is a key element to our programme of garden openings this year. The physical and mental benefits of gardens and gardening are well known – when we’re stressed they can calm us and provide a wonderful head space to relax and for mindfulness.

Gardens and Health Week will give community groups, hospices, support groups and schools free access to participating volunteer’s gardens. The aim of this is to benefit people, who might not necessarily have the chance to visit a garden and show how therapeutic and inspiring garden spaces can be.

If you know a community group or school who would like to get involved, or you would like to open your garden to a visit between the 11th – 19th May, contact

Power of Food Festival 16th-17th June (Full Line Up)

The Power of Food Festival will return to Edinburgh for two days of celebration of community food growing.

This year again, visitors to The Power of Food Festival will enjoy free entertainment for children and adults alike, in venues scattered around the city and beyond. Activities on offer include music and singing, guided walks, talks, and tours, yoga, bioblitz, bug hunt, games and crafts, and of course, food and drinks to enjoy together: from a menu reflecting the cultural diversity of the community, to home-grown herbal teas.

Entry to the gardens and all Festival activities are free (food may invite a donation), and all are welcome to attend.

The full programme of free activities on offer in 23 community gardens is now available hereCheck it out and start planning your weekend of community celebration!

Gardening Scotland June – Tickets just £10 at mo…

Gardening Scotland is one of my fave (and usually expensive) days out, although I don’t think I’ve ever paid full price for a ticket yet, thanks to the voucher deals that usually crop-up (no pun intended 🙂

I always go on a Sunday because you can get some amazing bargains when they start to knock the displays down about 4.30pm.

Here’s a wee look back at Gardening Scotland 2017 and Gardening Scotland 2016 and Gardening Scotland 2015.

And here’s the link to the Voucher deal  £10 instead of £17 on either the Saturday or the Sunday – who knows, may see you there…