Environment, learning and health dominate Scottish show

Gardening Scotland show is praised

Sustainability, health and education were to the fore at the seventh Gardening Scotland, the largest gardening event north of the border. Exhibitors praised the Scottish Executive-funded Garden for Life marquee, a first, for helping to present environmental topics to a mainstream gardening audience. Becker Underwood agent Gareth Salter, who was showing the Nemasys biological pest control range, said: “Elsewhere, it can be a hard slog to sell, but here people are more open to it — the response has been fantastic.” New Hopetoun Gardens managing director Dougal Philip and presenter Lesley Watson of BBC Scotland’s Beechgrove Garden attracted attention with their “Potager to Plate” demonstrations of home vegetable growing and cooking. Philip said: “It has been an opportunity to reach new customers.” The three-day show, held in uncharacteristic sunshine at the Royal Highland Showground near Edinburgh on 2-4 June, received widespread political endorsement. Scottish first minister Jack McConnell presented awards to winners of the BBC Scotland Budding Gardeners competition and took part in an impromptu debate in the BBC marquee with show chairman Jim McColl. Deputy environment minister Rhona Brankin presented native plant specialist Var Scotica with the “most ecological stand” award. McColl, a keen advocate of gardening for biodiversity, said: “The changes in focus have gone down well and we will continue to develop these themes next year.”

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