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Scotland makes its mark at Chelsea

April 25th 2017

Flower show to bring Scotland’s gardens into bloom 

For the first time, Discover Scottish Gardens, Scotland’s recently formed national garden tourism organisation, will exhibit at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (23 – 27 May), representing Scotland’s magnificent collection of gardens, nurseries and garden related businesses.

The tourism group launched in 2015 with the help of VisitScotland’s Growth Fund to work collectively to raise the profile of Scottish gardens both nationally and internationally, showcasing the nation’s outstanding horticulture and plant diversity.

Since its inception, Discover Scottish Gardens has attracted more than 130 members, including public and private gardens, nurseries and related businesses nationwide.

After securing a second round of funding from VisitScotland in December last year, the group aims to make its mark at Chelsea, the world’s most prestigious flower show, by taking the crucial next steps in its ambitious ‘Nurturing Growth’ campaign to raise the importance of garden tourism still further, an industry worth £240 million* in Scotland.

Catherine Erskine, chair of Discover Scottish Gardens, said: “In our first two years, we made great strides in encouraging visitors from all over the world to enjoy our country’s fabulous gardens and nurseries, and there’s no better place to spread the word than at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

“Chelsea is the horticultural event of the year, we are absolutely thrilled to be part of it and hope that our new campaign will raise our profile even further and entice garden lovers at Chelsea as well as Londoners and those living in the South East of England to visit Scotland.  As part of our exhibition creative idea, we will quite literally be putting gardens on a giant map of Scotland.”

The Discover Scottish Gardens stand can be found on Eastern Avenue 462. With its giant map featuring the country’s most spectacular gardens, and a backdrop of Scotland’s stunning natural landscape, visiting the stand will make for a visually striking experience.

To help tell Scotland’s story, staff will be dressed in Isle of Skye tartan ‘waterfall skirts’ made by Edinburgh designers Totty Rocks. The stand will also feature an eye-catching display of blue poppies (Meconopsis), a Himalayan native that is widely seen as one of Scotland’s most popular flowers as it grows exceptionally well North of the border where it enjoys the climatic conditions.

This forms part of Discover Scottish Gardens’ exhibition theme and perfectly showcases the rich variety of plant species that uniquely thrive in Scotland’s gardens.

On average gardens in Scotland have welcomed 658,000 visitors each year since 2013*.

Since the launch of Discover Scottish Gardens, visits to Scottish gardens have increased year-on-year** and the organisation has organised successful campaigns to encourage locals and tourists alike to enjoy the wonders of Scotland’s gardens including the Scottish Snowdrop Festival and the Scottish Rhododendron Festival.

Sponsors of the tourism group include lead sponsor Lycetts Insurance Brokers, as well as CKD Galbraith, Cottages & Castles and Alitex Greenhouses and Conservatories .

For more information about Discover Scottish Gardens visit www.discoverscottishgardens.org

*Based on Great British Tourism Survey stats 2013, 2014 and 2015 of people who visited a garden as part of a trip to Scotland.
**4.6% increase compared to 2013, based on Moffat Centre’s Scottish Visitor Attraction Monitor 2015. Discover Scottish Gardens outperformed their target of 2%.