Support Scotland's heritage by giving now to the National Trust for Scotland


Become a member

Enjoy hundreds of great days out
from only £2.00 per month.
Join online today, visit today
with instant membership

The National Trust for Scotland's Gardens Community is indebted to Scotland's Gardens for its sixty years of financial support. Each year over 350 Scottish gardens, most of them privately owned, are opened to the public just one day a year under the Scotland's Gardens banner. In addition to supporting the Trust, Scotland's Gardens Scheme also supports the Queen's Nursing Institute (Scotland), Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, Pernnial and many other charities of garden owners' choice.

Details of opening times for Scotland's Gardens days are listed in their annual handbook, available from mid February in all good bookshops and from Scotland's Gardens, 42a Castle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3BN. Tel. 0131-226-3714. For 2012 NTS Gardens opening on behalf of Scotland's Gardens click here.

Annual Gift to NTS
After its decision to support the Gardens Fund of the National Trust for Scotland in 1952, Scotland Gardens very generously donated £1936.00 to the Trust, a figure that has consistently increased year-on-year ever since. In 2011 the Trust, like its other SG principal beneficiaries, received a gift of £34,859. This generous sum continues to support the care, maintenance and development in a number of our gardens, particularly favouring those that help contribute toward the work of the Gardens.

With the support of the 2011 donation, the Trust's Gardens Team will be able to purchase the following items:

  • People Counters – to establish exact numbers of visitors to gardens outwith core opening times
  • To support the NTS & Lushan Botanic Garden, China, Exchange programme
  • To purchase a digital camcorder for demonstration workshops and to record changes in gardens
  • Support a tree planting initiative
  • To support a Student Gardener at Threave Garden
  • Provide tools and equipment to several gardens in Edinburgh, East & Aberdeenshire
  • Support the costs of a Garden master plan for Greenbank Garden

Click the links below to learn more about SG:

1931-2011 80 Years of Scotland's Gardens

80 Years ago Scotland's Gardens Scheme was inaugurated. A well-rooted hardy perennial if ever there was one and, like so many success stories, the right idea at the right time, for the right people. Instant popularity was ensured by this brilliant combination of horticulture and an enjoyable opportunity to admire the neighbour's garden whilst supporting the much loved District Nurses. Following the example of HM King George V who immediately opened Balmoral gardens twice weekly, private owners threw open their gates too, responding enthusiastically to this new idea of sharing their gardens with appreciative visitors, all contributing to so worthy a cause!

It all began in 1931 following the success of the National Gardens Scheme. With the warm support of HRH The Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) and Violet, Countess of Mar and Kellie (Chairman of the Scottish Queen's Institute of District Nursing) gathered together the first SGS committee under the chairmanship of the Countess of Minto. Under her a network of County Organisers were appointed who, though guided from above, ran their own area according to its needs - just as it is today. Much credit is due to the energy and personal commitment of these ladies and their successors who happily persuaded garden owners to open and ensured that the Scheme ran smoothly. Lady Rosebery, for instance, rescued a last minute crisis by selling 2,000 daffodils in the streets of Edinburgh – a really most unusual sight for those days!

Most of those early gardens belonged to what one might call smart county families and opened on any day of the week - reflecting perhaps that the privileged and more leisured life-style afforded by these beautiful properties also brought with it a deep and traditional sense of public service. The example and goodwill of that generation lives on in the thousands of equally dedicated and public-spirited owners who support us today and in a much more hands-on way than in the past! Nowadays the Scheme welcomes some 350 gardens of every type imaginable and valuable income also comes from dedicated National Trust for Scotland days, contributions from 'ever-open gardens', busy plant sales, and popular village openings.

In 1952 and after much discussion on the merits of 'rival suitors', it was decided to appoint the Gardens Fund of the National Trust for Scotland (founded the same year as SGS mainly due to the inspiration of Sir John Stirling Maxwell of Pollok) as a second beneficiary. The Trust was then chaired by Lord Wemyss, an elder statesman of the heritage world whose intelligence and wit long charmed every generation. Scotland's Gardens Scheme's relationship with the Trust has remained a happy and successful one - their first disbursement for nearly £2,000 has now grown to around £35,000 every year.

In 1961 an important decision was taken to allow owners – if they chose - to allocate 40% of their gross takings to a registered charity of their own choice. Altogether 170 different charities a year benefitted from this unique and popular arrangement. At the same time it was agreed to make small annual disbursements to the Royal Gardeners Benevolent Fund (now Perennial) and The Royal Gardeners Orphan Fund.

The National Trust for Scotland remains extremely grateful to Scotland's Gardens (formerly Scotland's Gardens Scheme) for its continued annual support of its garden heritage portfolio.

NTS Chief Executive's Annual Letter to Scotland's Gardens

On behalf of the National Trust for Scotland, I would like to thank all of Scotland's Gardens Scheme owners for their ongoing support and commitment to the National Trust for Scotland and its own gardens. We are grateful not only for your financial support but for the support that you provide to us in so many other ways, putting our Memorandum of Understanding into practice. At times of great change in the world, increasing numbers of people seek solace and inspiration in gardens. Those cared for by the members of Scotland's Gardens Scheme set high standards for us all to aspire to.

During 2010 and despite the relatively poor summer, the Trust opened its garden gates at nearly 30 properties to raise money for Scotland's Gardens Scheme, with events such as guided walks, talks, demonstrations, workshops and plant sales happening throughout the year. In March the Gardens Team ran a highly successful Historic Garden Management Master Class which was well attended and raised about £800 for Scotland's Gardens Scheme.

Along with other garden owners in 2010, we continued to suffer the effects of the outbreaks of Phytophthora ramorum and P. Kernoviae which has impacted significantly on our west coast gardens. Challenges of this nature emphasise the importance of good training and further research in all aspects of gardening. Our 'Centre for Excellence in Heritage Horticulture', recently rebranded as the NTS School of Heritage Gardening now provides a framework to support training for gardeners throughout the Trust with student placements at Threave Garden, Kellie Castle, Inverewe, Pitmedden, Leith Hall and Geilston House Gardens. This also allows us to enhance our apprenticeship programme in general and to develop other initiatives such as workshops and exchanges for all gardeners and more opportunities for volunteers.

In spite of the economically difficult times our gardens have continued to flourish and our staff have work hard to uphold high standards of maintenance and presentation assisted by your generous financial donation.

In addition to the donation to the Gardens Fund of the National Trust for Scotland we would also like to formally acknowledge the continued support of Scotland's Gardens Scheme's management of the Cattanach Bequest on our behalf which, this year (2010-2011), has enabled Joanna Niemczewska to undertake a year's placement at Threave in association with the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC). The same fund is also supporting William Sinclair who is working jointly between the Trust's Geilston Garden and nearby Glenarn Garden at Rhu; like Joanna, William's placement is associated with the Scottish Agricultural College, Auchincruive

Kate Mavor
Chief Executive