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Case Studies > Gardens for the health of our nation

Pitmuies Gardens

Case Study Gardens for the health of our nation Pitmuies Gardens
Case Study Gardens for the health of our nation Think of Scotland's gardens and many grand, horticultural masterpieces spring to mind. The charity ‘Scotland’s Gardens’ was created in 1931 and saw many properties open their gardens to help raise money for what were then known as ‘the Queen's Nurses’. The charity’s 1932 guidebook listed over 500 gardens and a sum equivalent in today’s money of almost a quarter of a million pounds was raised from "voluntary contribution". It doubled the district nurses' pension.

Today, Scotland's Gardens continues to facilitate the opening of gardens, with private gardens - not usually open to the public - still of paramount importance: and fund raising for charity support is at the project’s heart.

Many glorious country house gardens continue to participate but these are well known and often feature in high profile media coverage. Helping It Happen highlights just one garden – a hidden gem in Angus - that has been over 200 years in the making.

Pitmuies – a few miles east of Forfar – is within a landscape that has echoes of Pictish and Viking settlers. The property dates from the late 1500s. The current house is an amalgamation of period styles from the 17th and 18th centuries and it is thought that the gardens date from the 18th century.

Greatly enhanced and developed since the 1920s, Pitmuies was a forerunner - one of the first to open to the public in 1931. The house and garden has been in the ownership of the Ogilvie family since the 1940s. Today, Ruaraidh and Jeanette Ogilvie are the custodians of this magical place and are continuing to develop and enhance the gardens. The income from visitors helps this work together with a charitable contribution to Scotland's Gardens.

The gardens are renowned not just for an extensive and diverse collection of plants but also for their unique sense of tranquillity. In season, the rose gardens are a particular attraction. Beyond the formal gardens that contain the Kitchen Garden, Summer Borders, the Rose Garden and the Cherry Tree Walk, Pitmuies opens up treasures to be explored and discovered - wooded spaces as well as walks through the Alpine Meadow, Mesopotamia, the Vinny Gardens, the Hornbeam Walk, Black Loch and the Woodland Garden. They unfold at every turn, revealing a wonderful landscape to be enjoyed.

The gardens are open daily (10am - 5pm) from 1st April to 31st October. Organised groups are asked to book in advance. You can call 01241 828245 or email

Scotland’s Gardens 2017 guidebook (£5.00 at leading bookshops) features Pitmuies along with close to 500 gardens of all shapes and sizes - from stately homes to small village cottages, allotments to therapeutic and physic gardens, from formal gardens to wildlife sanctuaries. Contributions will benefit more than 225 charities – an extraordinary legacy of those farsighted philanthropists who sowed the seeds more than 80 years ago.
Scottish Land & Estates
Stuart House, Eskmills Business Park, Musselburgh, EH21 7PB

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