The online series began this week with the first instalment going online just after Crathes Castle’s big celebrations marking its Diamond Jubilee on 16 June.
With the project, Frieda is directing and shooting the films herself. It is a skill that she’s been keen to develop for years and builds on her background as a talented producer and presenter. Working with talented video editor Martin Symons from Banchory, she’ll make six short films showcasing Crathes garden through the next few months.
Since leaving the BBC three years ago, Frieda has been busy with a diverse range of projects and she’s got herself an MSc and an HNC in Garden Design. She has also been setting up her own media and marketing company Birseland Media.
“I think I’ve got the academic out of my system for a while, and I’m focusing on developing the media business now. Securing this commission with the National Trust for Scotland has been a big boost in these early days.
“Because of my years as a producer and presenter, I have great links with lots of the Trust’s gardeners and know the gardens well having featured many in programmes.
“I think that these gardeners are the unsung heroes of Scotland, caring for these horticultural treasures of Scotland – these beautiful gardens. So working with the Trust, I’m trying to raise the profile of the gardens and the gardeners.”
Frieda, who is from Birse near Aboyne in Aberdeenshire knows the castle and its grounds well. She continues:
“Crathes is one of my favourite of all places. It’s one of the most significant gardens in the world – a globally important site for its design and range of plants - a true jewel in the crown.”
In this first film, head gardener, Chris Wardle shows viewers round the gardens and points out the seasonal highlights.
For her part, Frieda is very impressed with Chris’s natural style in front of the camera. She said:
“Chris is one of the most natural communicators and broadcasters I’ve come across in 25 years of broadcasting. He is so enthusiastic that you can’t help but be captivated.”
And the films have also given Frieda the chance to share another of her passions, music. Having recorded three albums herself, Frieda has links with some top musicians and she is involving some of Scotland’s finest young talent with the project.
“I am delighted to be working with and featuring the skills of these young musicians from the area, who are amongst the best in the country.”
Amongst those sound-tracking the films are fiddler Sarah Beattie from Inverurie. Sarah began playing at the age of seven and for the last decade has been travelling the world with her band Pacific Curls. She has recently returned to her hometown in order to start a family.
Also hailing from the North East is Fraser Fifield from Glentanner - a talented piper who started onstage with Frieda herself. He has gone on to great success with his unique style of music and internationally renowned band, Salsa Celtica.
Frieda’s first film in the series goes online later this week at www.nts.org.uk.