Bid to keep alive Pitmedden Garden legacy

Pitmedden Gardens showing plants and hedges
Pitmedden Gardens showing plants and hedges

Efforts are under way in Formartine to establish a lasting legacy to a popular gardening presenter.

The late George Barron lovingly tended the gardens at Pitmedden for more than thirty years.

On Sunday, Beechgrove Garden stalwart Jim McColl appealed to green fingered enthusiasts in the area to help carry on his former television colleague’s good work.

His visit to Pitmedden was part of an initiative to set up Friends of Pitmedden Garden, which is aimed at encouraging volunteers to do their bit for the National Trust for Scotland grounds.

Mr Barron, who died in 2005, was head gardener at Pitmedden and along with Jim McColl he became a firm favourite on the BBC programme. Mr McColl said: “George may be remembered by many for the six years as a TV garden host, but he left us something much more valuable that we should remember him for.

“He spent more than 30 years of his life here at the great garden of Pitmedden - a huge legacy left to us.

“Sadly, with cutbacks by councils and others, we must rely on volunteers in our towns and villages and even in places like the National Trust for Scotland gardens.”

He urged people to volunteer for work in the gardens, adding: “Through volunteers we can preserve and protect the fantastic gardens here.”

It is hoped to form a charity to channel donations and fundraising to support the work that the keeps the stunning gardens among Scotland’s most popular attractions.

People were asked to forward ideas to a new board.

Local supporter Paul Johnston said: “We got an enthusiastic response and filled the board with suggestions for projects and activities to support Pitmedden Garden.

“Many ideas from ways to run classes in gardening to supporting making apple juice from the orchards were mentioned.

“All the ideas will be assessed and the next meeting will be trying to develop a plan for the Friends group.”

He added that all skills, not just gardening, can be used to support the work: “Raising funds and helping visitors would be required.” Anyone wanting more information on the new group should email sburgess@nts.org.uk

Sunday’s meeting had a musical touch with a performance from leading Tarves musicians, George and Stuart Davidson.