The popular biennial Orkney Garden Festival, supported by SERCO Northlink, returns to the islands this July and promises visitors a wonderful selection of open gardens, talks and demonstrations from some of Scotland’s well-known gardening personalities. A total of 28 gardens will throw open their gates over two weekends including several award-winning coastal gardens. This year the event is raising funds for Perennial, the charity that helps people in horticulture, and the neurological ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI), whose share of the fundraising will help build a neuro-therapy garden at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen, designed by James Alexander Sinclair.
Orkney resident and keen gardener Caroline Kritchlow, whose garden is regularly listed as one of the UK’s top 10 coastal gardens, volunteers her time to organise the festival every other year. She has raised over £300,000 to date for the Friends of the Neuro Ward at ARI, a charity with a close personal connection. This year, she wanted to use the event not only to raise further funds for the hospital, but also to raise the profile of gardening on Orkney and the charity dedicated to everyone who looks after green spaces across the UK. She says:
“The UK is an island of gardeners and here on Orkney we’re no exception. We are proud of our gardens, that have been created, in the main, in the face of challenging weather and limited resources. We’re looking forward to sharing them with friends, neighbours and visitors to our beautiful island this July.”
In addition to open gardens, visitors to the Festival can enjoy an illustrated talk from Lesley Watson (BBC2 Scotland Beechgrove Garden presenter and RHS judge) and Dougal Philip (Hopetoun Gardens owner and RHS Chelsea Flower Show judge). Lesley and Dougal will be joined by Carole Baxter, also from Beechgrove Garden, for a ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ panel. Both Carole and Dougal are on Perennial’s board of trustees and look forward to supporting the charity’s 180thanniversary at this year’s event. Carole says:
“It’s always a pleasure to help spread the word about how Perennial helps people across Scotland, and this year’s Orkney Garden Festival is a great way to do just that, as well as support a really keen community of gardeners. I can’t wait!”
Ken Cox, a plant hunter and author more fondly known as ‘Mr Rhododendron’, will give talks during the first week of the Festival. Dry stone walling demonstrations and workshops and talks by the author Jackie Bennett are on offer during the second week. Full details can be found on the Orkney Garden Festival Facebook Page.
Anita Bates, Director of Marketing & Fundraising at Perennial says:
“We are thrilled that Caroline and her fellow Orkney gardeners have chosen to support Perennial this year, both financially through ticket sales, but also by helping us to spread the word about our services. We’ve seen increased demand for Perennial’s help in Scotland over the last 12 months and have recently added a second member of our services team dedicated to Scotland. It can be very difficult for us to reach people working so remotely, so we can’t thank Caroline and her team enough for helping us celebrate 180 years of supporting people in horticulture by further raising awareness of our work.”
Perennial helps and supports anyone who creates or maintains gardens, parks, sports facilities and other green spaces. The Orkney Garden Festival will help spread the message that Perennial’s friendly and knowledgeable team has the experience and resources to make a difference to people’s lives, regardless of the scale of their issue or concern. Perennial will also be exhibiting at Gardening Scotland (31 May – 2 June), alongside Scotlands’ Gardens to further raise awareness of the charity in Scotland. A new member of the services team was recently recruited to meet growing demand for help and support in Scotland and these public events should further increase general awareness that if you work with plants, trees or turf, Perennial is your charity.
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Tickets and maps priced £10 will be available at J.P Rosey Stromness, Scapa Travel and Logo (formerly Orkney Soap) in Kirkwall from 1st June. Entrance on the day to individual gardens is also available with a 50p surcharge. For all event ticket queries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org