Opening a fantastic selection of gardens across Scotland to raise money for hundreds of charities
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Our Trustees

Scotland’s Gardens Scheme is overseen by a Board of Trustees who oversee the charity’s financial performance and strategic vision. The trustees each bring their own expertise to the table.

David Mitchell (Chairman)

After thirty years at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, mostly as a curator, David recently retired to become a Research Associate at the RBGE. He sees his role as Chairman as ambassadorial and outreach especially highlighting the work of our volunteers and garden openers, using a collegiate approach to the organisations governance wherever possible. He is also Director and Curator of Muddy Feet Consultants his own environmental education company that specialises in landscape assessment, project development, horticulture, interpretation and exhibitions. A respected lecturer and tour leader leading groups for travel companies and Ivy League Universities around the globe. This is in addition to his long career as broadcaster with the BBC, STV, Channel Four and Radio Scotland. He believes that gardens and access to them is vital for the well being of people of ages and backgrounds as well as for the cultural good of the nation. He recently became a Trustee of the National Trust of Scotland and has been a Trustee of the Pitlochry Festival Theatre for nearly fifteen years. He currently lives in Edinburgh with his wife Catherine, his best friend, life long supporter and guiding light, and the ‘skinny whippet’ the infamous ‘Mr. Lowry’ who hosts Scotland’s Garden Scheme Dog Blog. In his spare time he enjoys art, antique porcelain, adding to his extensive library, playing music and cooking.

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Sarah Landale (Deputy Chair)

Sarah is a District Organiser in Dumfriesshire. She and her husband open their garden at Dalswinton House.

Peter Yellowlees (Honorary Treasurer)

Peter was a partner in an independent firm of CA’s advising a wide range of individuals, businesses and charities in accounting, tax and audit matters. Having visited many of the amazing gardens opened on behalf of the charity over the past 40 years, he was delighted to become Honorary Treasurer of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme (SGS) in 2011. Peter oversees the financial running of the charity as well as our OSCR reporting.

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Charlotte Hunt

Charlotte was brought up visiting gardens in the North of Scotland as their Mother was a District Organiser for Scotland’s Gardens Scheme for many years. Charlotte followed in her footsteps becoming an Area Organiser in Stirlingshire and went on to become Chairman of SGS for five years from 2002. Gardening is her favourite pastime and best form of relaxation. Char provides the Board with a historical perspective of our charity.

Max Ward

Formerly a partner of Baillie Gifford & Co. Now Managing Director of The Independent Investment Trust plc. Max lives at Stobshiel House, which first opened under Scotland’s Gardens Scheme in 2007. Max helps to keep an eye on our financials and the charity’s investment portfolio.

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David Buchanan-Cook

David and his partner, Adrian, open their gardens at Helensbank (Kincardine) and at West End Cottage (Newburgh) under the SGS. David has also been treasurer for Fife since 2016. David’s professional background is in fraud and risk management, and he is currently Head of Oversight and Communications at the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission. He writes regularly for the Scotsman and the Law Society of Scotland’s Journal. When not gardening, or visiting gardens, David's passions include music - he is the Director of Bel Canto and also composes choral music.

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Stephen McCallum

Having changed career from architecture to horticulture, Stephen worked for 10 years as Head Gardener at The Beechgrove Garden before joining The MacRobert Trust as Head of Gardens. He manages the Trust’s ornamental and productive gardens and organises the annual SGS Douneside Gardens Open Day. He also manages the MacRobert Trust Horticultural Training Scheme and is proud of the growing MacRobert alumni of professional gardeners working across Scotland and beyond. He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture and brings an active interest in the Horticultural industry.

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Emily Stair

Emily opens her garden, Castle Kennedy Garden for SGS, continuing a 75 year family tradition. Before marrying and moving to Scotland Emily worked for Saatchi & Saatchi, the National Science Museum and the Beacon Fellowship Charitable Foundation. Recently Emily has been a trustee for Foundation Scotland and is a patron for Homestart Wigtownshire and the Wigtown Book Festival. Emily is currently studying horticulture at the Royal Botanics Garden Edinburgh.

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Jonathan Cobb

After serving in the Army, Jonathan spent nearly 30 years in the investment management industry running client portfolios. He is presently a full time writer and is pursuing his interest in history. He gardens in his spare time.