Opening up gardens to help support local good causes

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With gardeners hoping for a sunny summer – with maybe just a little rain – to show off their creations, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (SGS) has once again teamed up with green-fingered residents across Carluke and Lanark to showcase some of the best in the area.

Husband, wife and daughter team of Ken, Chris and Gemma Fawell have been showing their garden for the past 15 years and think the Scotland’s Gardens Scheme is a great way of giving people to opportunity to share in the beauty of their garden.

The mature riverside garden at Hyndford Bridge, Lanark, has been in the family for the past 30 years and it surrounds the only remaining workable water powered grain mill in Clydesdale.

There is a diversity of plant habitat from wetland and drier areas with a vast range of trees and shrubs both ornamental and fruit.

There is also a vegetable garden, herbaceous perennials, annuals and biennials with ornamental/wildlife pond also complementing the landscape.

Ken said: “We did an open day every year and, until about five or six years ago, used to open at certain times throughout the summer. Now we open by appointment only.”

Details can be found on the Scotland’s Gardening Scheme website which also gives information on how to get there.

The gardens also havethe remains of medieval grain mills from 1200 and a foundry, lint mill and threshing mill within the curtilage of the mill which is a Category B listed building.

Ken (74), a retired health and safety inspector, added: “When we moved here 30 years ago the grain mill was an empty, derelict building and fixing it up was quite a challenge. The whole thing took nine years to complete from when we moved in.”

Forty per cent of all donations from the garden entry fee will go to Lanark and Biggar museums.

Fellow gardening enthusiasts Greta and Charles Clark have a garden at The Scots Mining Company House at Leadenhills, Biggar. Visitors will find a rich and diverse history stretching back many centuries. The couple have also decided to open their garden by appointment only.

Greta and Charles, who have lived there since 1983, set about improving their lovely garden to bring it up to exhibition standard around five years.

Greta said: “We have opened specifically for Doors Open Day before but we had more than 400 people here which was quite a lot on one day. We find it more convenient to welcome groups of gardeners by appointment only now.

“We have cultivated the landscape with plants and there is a fine Victorian vegetable garden to see and we are also part of the South Lanarkshire Heritage Trail.”

It has taken the couple quite a lot of effort to bring the garden into shape as the highest point of it is at 1300ft above sea level which is high for a cultivated garden. The garden is largely enclosed by dense planting but the various walks allow views through the trees into the surrounding countryside. Historic Scotland in its register of gardens and designed landscapes describes the garden as ‘‘An outstanding example of a virtually unaltered, small, 18th century garden layout connected with James Stirling, the developer of the profitable Leadenhills mining enterprise, and possibly William Adam.’’ Admission is between May 1 and September 30 with 40 per cent going towards the upkeep of the garden. Directions are on SGS website.

Fellow gardening enthusiasts Jane and Graham Buchanan-Dunlop, who are opening their garden called The Potting Shed at Broughton Place, near Biggar every Wednesday from June 14 (11am to 5pm) for the next six weeks, also have a challenge growing plants because of how high up their garden is.

Jane said: “We moved here ten years ago and began from scratch in 2008 on an exposed hillside at 900 feet. This is the third year we have taken part in the Scotland’s Garden Scheme and from a one acre garden on an exposed hillside at 900 feet it now contains herbaceous plants, climbers, shrubs and trees, all selected for wind resistance and ability to cope with the poor, stony soil.”

However, on the plus side Jane did add: “There are usually fine views to the Southern Uplands.”

A selection of plants propagated from those in the garden will also be for sale and, as with all the other participants taking part, 40 per cent of the proceeds go to the owner’s designated charity,the Macmillan Centre at Borders General Hospital to help in the fight against cancer.