Scottish Summer Garden Festival will be streaming live

People have been spending more time in their gardens than ever before, thanks to the coronavirus lockdown.

By Julie Currie
Friday, 19th June 2020, 4:45 pm
Bird's eye view...of the stunning gardens at Glamis Castle in Angus, which will be open to virtual visitors as part of the summer garden festival.
Bird's eye view...of the stunning gardens at Glamis Castle in Angus, which will be open to virtual visitors as part of the summer garden festival.

And Discover Scottish Gardens hopes to tap into that new-found interest with its inaugural Scottish Summer Garden Festival.

Prior to coronavirus, the festival was supposed to entice people to visit some of the more than 400 gardens, nurseries and garden centres that make up the Discover Scottish Gardens network.

With people unable to travel, the DSG team decided to forge ahead with their plans – virtually.

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Explore the artwork in the New Hopetoun Gardens in Newton with Lesley Watson.

The online spectacle launched on Saturday, June 13 and will continue until Saturday, August 15.

Dozens of gardens across the country will be taking part, offering workshops, practical advice and video tours online.

Dr Catherine Erskine, DSG chairwoman, said: “Restricted travel is no reason for garden lovers to miss out. We want people to enjoy the wonders of Scottish gardens from the comfort of their own homes.

“The festival will include cottages and castles, head gardeners, plant experts, world-renowned gardens and hidden Scottish gems.

Summer updates will be broadcast from Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

“It’s a chance to step into the world of these amazing spaces and the people who cultivate them, while gaining advice and inspiration.

“There will be something for everyone, even if they don’t have a garden.”

A map plotting out all the DSG members is also in the pipeline. It will be printed once restrictions are lifted but an online version will be available soon too.

Catherine added: “People often think of Outlander when they think of Scotland – hills and lochs.

“We want people, both from Scotland and further afield, to explore some of the incredible gardens that we also have to offer.

“The map will give people a chance to plan out gardens to visit over the course of a day, weekend or week.

“While the hope is to attract visitors from much further afield, the lockdown has also sparked a greater interest in gardening across the country.

“My own kids, who’ve never really had an interest in gardening, have even been showing me their tomatoes!

“All of a sudden, people are interested in growing their own produce and transforming their outdoor spaces.

“That can’t be a bad thing for us and we want to tap into that by giving them a chance to explore, virtually, the stunning array of gardens Scotland has to offer.

“If they are hooked this year, we hope to see them visiting our gardens and nurseries for a bumper summer festival in 2021.”

While this year’s event is virtual, there’s still a wide variety of events to enjoy.

Among those taking part will be Gordon Castle in Moray, where, on Saturday, July 4, owner Zara Gordon-Lennox will be marking the birthday of the restored walled garden, reimagined by renowned landscape designer Arne Maynard.

On June 25 and August 4 and 7, the team at Glamis Castle in Angus will be streaming from the gardens, starting with jobs to do now, followed by drying and storing herbs, then summer pruning and training apple trees and finishing up with a segment on pruning glasshouse vines.

On July 4, Des Cotton, head gardener at Glamis, will also be running on-line workshops on summer pruning, as well as taking gardeners through setting up an irrigation system for their own pots and borders.

Also on July 4, at New Hopetoun Gardens in West Lothian, former Beechgrove presenter Lesley Watson will be introducing footage of the garden centre’s annual Art in the Garden event.

Looking back at the most notable installations, Lesley aims to inspire people to work with different materials in their gardens.

In Fife, the Cambo Gardens team will be streaming live on June 22 and July 4 and 7, with a virtual tour of the potager, including advice on keeping the garden looking good; a segment from the edible garden and new ‘no dig’ beds.

Award-winning Cambo chef, Gillian Veal, will also be sharing ideas for outdoor cooking.

On July 15, volunteers at St Andrews Preservation Society will highlight their favourite plants and answer questions from viewers during a live stream session.

In the Borders, viewers can discover the fascinating history of Abbotsford with the estate’s collections and interpretation manager on July 10 and 24 and August 15.

There will also be advice from the head gardener on how to manage organic gardens and keeping pests at bay without chemicals.

And on June 22, July 5 and August 10, Mark Bain, the lead gardener at Cringletie Hotel in Peebles will be giving virtual tours of the 400-year-old walled garden, showing off the roses and kitchen garden.

Throughout the festival, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh will also be uploading summer updates from all four of its gardens – Edinburgh, Benmore in Argyll, Logan in Galloway and Dawyck in the Borders.

A full list of Scottish Summer Garden Festival events is available at www., where all the events will also be streamed.

Launched in 2015 to showcase our horticulture

Discover Scottish Gardens is a network of gardens, plant nurseries and related businesses which have joined forces to promote the rich diversity of our gardens to locals and visitors alike.

It was launched in 2015 with support from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund and is sponsored by Galbraith, Lycetts Insurance Brokers, Historic Houses Scotland, Turcan Connell and Scottish Land and Estates.

The organisation aims to put Scottish gardens, nurseries and related businesses on the tourist map and to showcase the nation’s outstanding horticulture and plant diversity.

The steering group is made up of garden and horticultural organisations including the National Trust for Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Scotland’s Gardens, Cambo Estate, Attadale Gardens and Brightwater Holidays.

It aims to provide a platform for members to share the wonderful horticultural array that Scotland has on offer all year round, as well as launching new festivals and events to celebrate the seasons.

Discover Scottish Gardens is a not-for-profit co-operative and is financed through membership subscriptions, sponsorship and VisitScotland’s Growth Fund.

For more details, visit