Flower power and history

Laidlawstiel House Gardens, open on May 24 as part of Scotlands Gardens scheme.
Laidlawstiel House Gardens, open on May 24 as part of Scotlands Gardens scheme.

Next Wednesday (May 24) the garden of Laidlawstiel House, near Clovenfords promises to be a riot of rhododendrons and azaleas.

The garden will be open for charity as part of Scotland’s Gardens scheme.

This is a garden that merges flower power and political history.

Its splendid views down to the River Tweed might have destressed one of the UK’s most famous politicians in the middle of what is often cited as the first modern political campaign - the Midlothian Campaign unified the Liberal Party under William Ewart Gladstone’s leadership, and carried the Liberals to power in the 1880 election.

Gladstone served as Britain’s Prime Minister four separate times and, in November 1879, he stayed at Laidlawstiels as a friend of Lord Reay the then owner, during the campaign.

Laidlawstiels’ current owners garden organically and grow a mixture of flowers, vegetables and fruit.

The beautifully planted herbaceous borders in the walled garden will also be bursting into life alongside an orchard and vegetables in raised beds.

The charity chosen by the gardens owners is CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people.

The gardens will be open from 1-5pm, admission £4. Refreshments will be available. Further information about this and other open gardens can be found at www.scotlandsgardens.org.