Visiting gardens by arrangement

by Liz Stewart, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme Chief Executive and Garden Visiting Enthusiast

If, like me, you’re a garden lover, then you probably have gardening buddies, wandering around each others’ gardens comparing notes, admiring, commiserating, planning, sharing plants. Gardening is a shared interest, a point of connection like no other and there are thousands of us gardeners around Scotland! 

There is a wonderful way to meet new people and explore new gardens through Scotland’s Gardens Scheme gardens open by arrangement. We have many people who would like to share their wonderful gardens with others and with great kindness, they offer the opportunity to do so and raise funds for charity at the same time.

A garden may open by arrangement rather than a specific date for a number of reasons – perhaps parking is limited, the owners might prefer a quieter option rather than having a busy open day.  If a garden owner has a preference for large or small groups only, it will usually be listed on the website or in the guidebook. 

Either way, they would love to hear from you so please do get in touch to give it a try – there may be cake involved and plants to share and certainly plenty of gardening chat. I can promise you a truly special experience, wherever you visit!

Click the buttons below to explore gardens to visit by arrangement, by region - perfect for planning a getaway!  Or search by location using the ‘by arrangement’ filter on our ‘Find A Garden’ page, link at the top.

North East & East of Scotland
Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, Deeside, Fife, Angus & Dundee

The North & Islands

Moray, Nairn, Inverness, Ross, Cromarty, Caithness & Sutherland, Orkney & Shetland

West & Central Scotland

Stirling & district, Glasgow, Renfrewshire , Dunbartonshire, Argyll & southern Isles, Ayrshire & Arran, Lanarkshire

South East Scotland

Edinburgh, Lothians & Scottish Borders

Dumfries & Galloway

Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire & Wigtownshire

The Pond Garden, Milnathort, has a wonderful online feature dedicated to visiting their garden by arrangement, current garden highlights and details of their chosen charity to support.

Discover the website here:

The Pond Garden

Here are just a few of my own ‘by arrangement’ garden visits to whet your appetite – every visit is very different but at each one I met lovely people who shared my love of plants and I always learned something new, whether a plant to try or a gardening tip. There are many, many more wonderful places to visit so please do search the book and website and plan your own visits.

Have you visited any gardens by arrangement? Please do share your own garden adventures with us on social media using the hashtag #lovescotlandsgardens or email your stories and pictures to us at


Kirklands, Fife

We had a beautiful day and a warm welcome from Peter, Gill and Louise, for a wonderful staff team visit to Kirklands Garden in Fife. Woodland, waterside walks in the shade, a great variety of ferns, meconopsis ad many hosta, acer and so much more. Not to mention tea and cake and plants for sale and recipe for a fabulous lemon drizzle cake, chatting in the sun and admiring the views of the garden below. We came away with hearts warmed and the boot full of greenery. Open until the end of September 2023.

Find out more


Seabank, Kirkcudbrightshire

A wonderful setting in the peaceful village of Rockcliffe, I had a wonderful visit with Theo and Julian Stanning where a wonderful collection of beautiful and unusual plants thrive in the beautiful and productive greenhouses, vibrant and colourful borders surrounding the house, a cool, woodland and shrub area and in the sunny walled garden where wisteria, peonies, roses and many edibles abound. I was very pleased to come away with some seedlings which I’m nurturing in my own garden, a lasting memory of a lovely day. Open from 8 June – 4 July 2023. Find out more


Luckie Harg’s, Gatehouse of Fleet

I visited Carole and Ian Bainbridge’s garden on a steamy summer afternoon and this really was a haven of beautiful and unusual plants, established over only the past 6 or 7 years. I was fascinated by the crevice gardens and the alpine greenhouse, where seeds are collected, and weeds weeded, in some cases by tweezer!  I fell in love with Embothrium coccineum, the Chilean fire bush, which was at its summer finest and enjoyed the new pond area, boulder wall and many, many unusual plants. I learned that many seeds are exchanged through the Scottish Rock Garden Club and also impressed by the role the chickens played in creating excellent compost for the garden. Open between 1 March – 30 September 2023. Find out more


The Limes, Kirkcudbright

A very warm welcome from David and Carolyn McHale and a tour round their very productive and diverse garden.  I learnt that they grow many plants from seed, using seed exchanges through organisations such as Plant Heritage and the Scottish Rock Garden club, which has created a rich diversity of plants (at low cost, just patience required!). There were many top tips shared, such as planting a clematis and climbing rose together and we even commiserated about plants lost through the previous hard winter, although the garden was looking wonderful nevertheless. Open year round by arrangement, when there will always be something in season (as well as the best coffee in Kirkcudbright) to enjoy! Find out more


Amulree, Drummore

Far down the Mull of Galloway lies the gem that is the garden of Colin Belton and Gaby Reynolds, two self-confessed plantaholics. Wow! Although a smaller garden, you can lose yourself for hours in the paths and plants at Amulree. The first view as you arrive on the small terrace is breathtakingly unexpected, as you’re greeted by towering echiums, winding grass paths, many unusual shrubs and trees, lovely found objects and driftwood and unbelievable numbers of birds! Every inch is of interest with veg and a greenhouse and even a wild area at the back. Although we were a bit early for Gaby’s beloved nicotiana (she holds a National Plant Collection), this is a later highlight worth revisiting. An absolute cracker. Find out more


Delvine, Perthshire

On a short visit to Dunkeld, we checked the website for gardens nearby and happened across Delvine and booked a visit with David Gemmell, the owner. Having no idea what to expect, we were delighted to discover a beautiful arboretum between two oxbow lakes, created over the past 20 years, so now nicely mature. Although David said the best season to visit is summer when the grasses are at their best, it was lovely in the April showers with the stands of silver birch, willow and prunus serrula coming into bud. Fascinating to see evidence of beavers in the garden and sadly the damage as a result. And reminded of Chinese proverb ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.’ What an achievement and legacy for the future. Find out more