Gifford Village Virtual Garden Tour

Gifford is an historic village in East Lothian, based around the ancient parish of Yesterday.  Nestled at the base of the Lammermuirs, the village is surrounded by woodlands and open farmland, and with its pubs, cafes (hopefully re-opening soon), Lime Avenue, Bleachfield park and community woodland, is usually a popular visitor destination.   With its wonderful East Lothian climate conducive to good gardening, the village has many beautiful gardens, large and small – and we’re delighted to share a few with you. For more information about Gifford Village, please see If you would like to donate towards our fundraising this year, please use the button below.

Gifford Bank
Gifford Bank is a Georgian house set in 4 acres of grounds on the edge of the village.  Lawns to the front and sides of the house are edged by woodland whilst a walled garden provides a more formal area. Since moving to Gifford Bank in 2018, Elaine and Richard Austin have re-modelled the four quadrants of the walled garden to include a circular lawn area, raised beds for soft fruit, a herb and rose garden and an orchard. Two of the quadrants are edged with box hedging and there are large herbaceous borders on all four sides. Particular features of the walled garden are the beautiful scented roses growing over six arches which connect the gravel paths. Elaine and Richard have also rearranged the gardens to the rear of the house to complement a new garden room extension and take advantage of the countryside view. This work has included the addition of a new terrace area, water features and a large fire bowl planter.

Myreside – James & Jane Will
Myreside from first light “,  a garden visit in June to Myreside, near Gifford

The garden at Myreside has been created over the last 30 years. When the present owners first moved to Myreside, the whole garden was wilderness grazed by goats. Only some apple trees remained from the original farmhouse garden. 

The garden has evolved over the years rather than developed with a long-term plan. Specific projects are identified for most winters. That evolution has however been guided by creating a garden prioritising wildlife and the balance of nature and feeding a family with organic vegetables and fruit. It was also important to create a relaxed garden and a garden at one with the surrounding countryside. One major project undertaken some 10 years ago was the planting of a twelve acre wildflower meadow. 

Slateford House – Kathy & Tariq Sethi
Our garden is set up on the brow of a hill overlooking the Lammermuir Hills. This means we get any sun going but also all the prevailing westerlies!

We have been here for around 20 years. The old farmhouse was in a very poor state and there was no garden at all. It was daunting to make a garden from scratch but also a wonderful opportunity. 

Firstly we had around half an acre in front of the house ploughed and levelled and I sowed a species rich meadow mix. The meadow looks best in spring with bulbs coming through-narcissi, camassia, fritillary, crocus, allium and tulips. Also late summer with meadow cranesbill and field scabious. I do also enjoy its subtlety more and more.  We  had a wildlife pond dug at the same time in a corner of the meadow. Between them they support a lot of beneficial wildlife. 

We made a more formal pond next to the house to enjoy the sound of water. The borders around the lawn here have a rather informal cottage style of planting. This includes pink and purple shrub roses, delphiniums, astrantia, irises with aquilegias, opium poppies, hesperis and scabious self-seeding around.  The back of the house has beds lined with box hedges filled with shrub roses, salvias and geraniums in a palette of yellows and purples. The paths are inlaid with cobbles-a rather back breaking project! 

I really enjoy developing this garden -both on a creative and physical level. It is a real sanctuary. 

Lomond – Liz Stewart
A Californian-style modernist house built (rather incongruously for rural East Lothian) in 1966, the surrounding garden includes original crazy paving paths, terrace and a series of freestanding external walls, originally built to provide context and screening before the garden matured.  A mixed shrub border surrounds the garden but when we moved here in 2012, the garden was mainly lawn and we have created a series of beds to add interest and to stuff in as many plants as possible, mostly plant sale bargains, swaps and lots grown from seed.  Definitely a labour of love!

Tweeddale House – Tanja Gertik & Drew Scott
Tweeddale House is the former manse for Yester church. It was built in the 1820’s in Georgian style. We moved in in 2016  and have been working on the garden (approximately one and a half acres) for the past three years; it remains a work in progress. Not a designer garden but driven by our love of particular plants. Still lots to do! 

In the video we focus on three areas of the garden:  

·      the walled garden which last year we planted as an orchard with twenty three different varieties of apple tree including importantly four Scottish heritage varieties, pears, crab apples, a quince and a cherry and apricot (the latter two on a warm west facing wall and we are delighted we have some fruit in our first year). Early days but it has been a fun project;

·      Japanese planting - we love acers, bamboo, species rhododendrons/azaleas and small conifers. The rhododendrons/azaleas had mostly just finished flowering at the time of the filming but hopefully the video gave a sense of this area; and 

the bog garden and surrounding planting - lots of colour here at the time of the video including moisture loving primulas another favourite.

Larchwood – Rita & Sandy Buchan
We have been in the house for 15 years and made substantial improvements to the garden with many new flowerbeds and areas.  Larchwood is a property within 1.5 acres built in 1986, a modern style designed by a local architect.  It is designed as a country garden with wild flower meadow at the front and behind the house, perennial beds, rose bed and shrubbery and recent raised vegetable beds.

Three bridges across a burn lead into into a small woodland, with a meeting place for small children looking on to the Lammermuir Hills.

The Smiddy Garden – Richard & Fiona Taylor

History - The Smiddy is an eighteenth-century Historic Building right in the centre of Gifford. It was a was a working smiddy until the late 1950s after which it lay derelict until 1970. The retired couple who moved in were both keen gardeners and were responsible for the current two-tier layout in the front of the house as well as much of the shrub and tree planting. There was only one other couple who lived in it for a short time before the current owners moved in in 1994.

Layout - The front of the house and the main garden faces south-east. The top tier is mainly lawn with bedding and borders on 3 sides. There is a main plant and shrub area in the middle that leads down to the lower tier and the river. The village of Gifford is defined by its trees and The Smiddy is surrounded by them which makes it hard to believe that the property is in the very heart of the village. The rear garden is also mainly lawn but with borders against the house, pots on the patio and wild grass and flowers in the trees.

Projects - In the last 12 months we have installed a rose arch to give some focus to the path that links the upper and lower front garden. We have removed a leylandii hedge and planted a beach hedge in its place. When we moved into the house, we had a young family of 3 boys and felt that the river was too much of a hazard and subsequently fenced it off. This year we have removed part of the fence to try and make the river more part of the garden.

Please visit more virtual gardens here.