Category Archives: People & Products

I stroked a Golden Eagle!

This is NOT a euphemism for anything random as that headline sounds! Last week I was lucky enough to meet Odin, my friend’s 7-year old Golden Eagle (he breeds them). I’ve never been so close to one before and the experience completely blew me away.

Just everything about him, his alertness, beak and talons and that beautiful iridescent plumage – I couldn’t believe it when he let us stroke him. These are birds that can lift a deer, fox or wildcat no bother, as well as more modest prey too.

Now I’m hoping he’ll let us see them in action some time.


Garden Bagging – Threave

Threave has been on my ‘to visit’ list for a few years, ever since one of my gardening club friends told me about it – it’s the National Trust’s Training Centre for future Professional Gardeners and is home to the School of Heritage Gardening.

Based just outside Castle Douglas, down in Dumfries and Galloway, it’s not really on the beaten track so when I found out one of our Regional Meetings was going to be held there I was more than happy to head along.


We had our meeting in the ‘big house’ and then we were lucky enough to get a guided tour of the garden from gardener Brian McMillan. I do love a walled garden but this one was enormous! The produce is used in the cafe and is also on sale to the public.

It’s a wonderful place for wildlife, we saw a Red Squirrel, and it’s also home to Scotland’s only bat reserve. There’s a viewing platform for ospreys and wildfowl as well as wildlife hides in the nature reserve. There’s a visitor centre, plant sale and terrace cafe so it’d be easy to spend a good while here, well worth the trip!

Whilst open throughout the year, it’s open, with proceeds going to Scotland’s Gardens Scheme charities, on Sunday 23rd June.


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

101 Greenbank Crescent

So, as part of my new job at Scotland’s Garden Scheme, I’ve decided that I’m going to try and ‘bag’ all the gardens – with over 500 open in any one year (some opening every other year), this could take me some time but at least I’ll now have plenty of opportunity.

As well as meeting lots of our wonderful volunteer garden openers across the country who open their gardens to visitors to raise money for over 200 charities, I should be able to get a whole heap of tips, and who knows, maybe even some seeds or cuttings.

Ready for veggies

My first ‘officially’ bagged garden is 101 Greenbank Crescent in Edinburgh. Jerry and Christine invited me along to show me around their labour of love. The garden is a steeply sloping series of terraces overlooking Braidburn Valley Park, each with a very different look and feel.

It’s a really interesting garden with winding steps, ponds, seating areas, a fairy garden, and a stunningly-shaped Kilmarnock willow, which annoyingly I didn’t photograph. Their aim is to have year-round colour, shape and structure. The Magnolia was looking wonderful as was the pear blossom. It’s not a highly manicured garden and has an air of easy charm that belies the years of hard work they’ve put into turning a grassy wilderness into what they have today – it’s definitely been a labour of love with most of the work being undertaken by Jerry and Christine themselves.

They’ve been opening for SGS for 10 years now and I can see why people would want to visit. They are open to visitors by arrangement from 13th April, until September and will be hosting an open day on Sunday 19th May. More info here.

Pear Blossom