Scotland’s Gardens scheme set to bloom for the summer across Dumfriesshire

Scotland’s Gardens scheme gets back in bloom for the summer across Dumfriesshire from this weekend.

It offers the chance to get outdoors and enjoy someone else’s hard work in their gardens which open for charity on one day of the year.

Robin and Margaret Thomson are the first to open their gates to the public under the fundraiser which helps a number of charities including the Maggie’s Centres, founded by Dumfries’ Maggie Jencks, plus worthy local causes decided upon by the owners.

The Old Mill is in the village of Keir Mill, a mile from Penpont on the Auldgirth road, and is a maturing garden full of shrubs and flowering azaleas for the spring season. It also has beautiful herbaceous borders, a naturalized pond and a riverside boundary.

It’s open on Sunday (April 24) from 2pm to 5pm and admission is £5 adults and accompanied children free with some of the proceeds going to SG beneficiaries and Penpont, Keir and Tynron Church.

The Old Mill, Keir Mill, will kick-start the program of garden openings

There will be homemade teas on sale with parking available at the village hall. It has partial wheelchair access and dogs on leads will be welcomed.

The opening follows the hugely successful day at Craig near Langholm in February when the public turned out to see the amazing snowdrops developed by the Ewart Family for more than 30 years.

Visitors flocked to see the large drifts of snowdrops and helped raise funds for the Kirkandrews Kirk Trust.

Sarah Landale, Dumfries district organiser, said the popular fundraising enterprise, supported by the Dumfries and Galloway Standard, looks set to offer an “exciting” summer ahead with enthusiasts happy to again be able to visit the gardens.

She said: “This year’s event offers a mix of garden styles across Dumfriesshire and all credit to the owners who are working hard to make sure they will be looking their best on open days and also to the volunteer team of local people for Scotland’s Gardens in Dumfriesshire which includes Fiona Bell-Irving, Guy Galbraith, Liz Mitchell, Stuart Littlewood and Leslie Jack.”

During the summer there will be 11 Dumfriesshire private gardens opening to the public.

Another, Waterside at Moffat, will be open from May 1 to September 30 by appointment if booked ahead at 01683 221583, E: [email protected]

Sarah asks that everyone check the Scotland’s Gardens website, at, for information on how to get to the gardens which will be marked with the well-known yellow signs.

The Universe Cascade at Portrack near Dumfries
The Universe Cascade at Portrack near Dumfries

Sarah and her husband, Peter, are looking forward to welcoming visitors as Dalswinton House is having its own open day on Sunday, May 15, with a chance to see the grounds as well as the immediate garden around the house which is usually kept private and which has lovely views over the loch and of Criffel.

An extra special event this summer will be The Garden of Cosmic Speculation at Portrack, Holywood, being opened for charity on two days in May – instead of the usual one-day pre-Covid.

Enthusiasts will have to buy their tickets via the Scotland’s Gardens scheme website – and they are expected to be snapped up quickly following a one-off open day arranged in October last year saw tickets sell out within six hours.

The Jencks family wanted to make sure some Dumfriesshire residents can enjoy a visit for £10 each – rather than the standard £16.50 (£15 with gift aid).

So, the “locals only” limited offer is on a first-come-first-served basis with tickets now on sale at the Midsteeple box office for Dumfriesshire residents – limited to 20 cars at each of the three hour time slots, twice daily on Saturday, May 28, 10am to 1pm or 2pm to 5pm and Sunday, May 29, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm.

This year’s Scotland’s Garden open days in Dumfriesshire are:

Sunday (April 24), 2pm to 5pm – The Old Mill, Keir Mill, near Auldgirth

Sunday, May 15, noon to 5pm – Dalswinton House near Dumfries.

Sunday, May 22, 2pm to 5pm – Drumpark, Irongray.

Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 50pm – Portrack, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Holywood near Auldgirth.

Sunday, June 5, 2pm to 5pm – Westerhall, Bentpath near Langholm.

Sunday, June 12, 2pm to 5pm – Cowhill Tower, Holywood; and Craigieburn House near Moffat.

Sunday, June 19, 2pm to 5pm – Garden Cottage, Knockhill, Lockerbie.

Sunday, July 3, 2pm to 5pm – Dunesslin, Dunscore.

Sunday, July 17, noon to 5pm – Whiteside, Dunscore.

Sunday, August 7, 2pm to 6pm – Dalswinton Mill, Dalswinton near Dumfries.

Sunday, September 25, 2pm to 5pm – Drumpark, Irongray.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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