The sun shone, flowers blossomed and bees buzzed along with over 1500 visitors at Inverness Botanic Gardens to mark the inaugural Highland Garden Fest on Sunday 22nd July. The stunning location gave home to a wide array of activities, stalls and expert and enthusiastic gardeners.
Sponsored by ‘Woodblocx’ of Dingwall, who kindly donated a very solid table and benches for the benefit of Botanic visitors and a raised bed for the Botanics GROW project, the event was run by the IBG Highlife team in a successful collaboration with Planit Scotland. Planit’s Cecilia Grigor described the feedback from visitors and exhibitors alike as ‘incredible’.
It was a day for the whole family – Genna and Colin from ‘Highland Boulder Creations’ not only displayed their unique polished stone bowls but donated a beautiful Beastie Broch to keep at IBG and ran a stone competition for the youngsters. ‘Fishkeeper Scotland’s’ huge display featured outdoor fish tanks and aquatic plants. The crowds couldn’t get enough of ‘Cheese’n’Tomatin’s’ woodfired, organic, sourdough pizzas, and were cooled down by the delights of ‘Phil MaCones’ Ice Cream. Meadows Fencing staked up their stall and the Ross-shire Tree Surgery attracted solid interest in their exquisite wood products.
One of the highlights of the day for many parents, was the laid back nature of the childrens activities – Woodblocx ran a lego competition, The ‘Scottish Wildlife Trust’ let the kids loose with hammers to make colourful flags from the dye of wildflowers. With input from the Butterfly and also the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Inverness Beekeepers Association, Hawthorn and Blackthorn Allotments, the Cacti Society and Aigas to name just a few of the exhibitors, and Connor Johnston on the guitar, many people commented on the lovely, happy atmosphere.
The Botanics and GROW project staff, trainees and volunteers helped people make bird boxes and bug hotels, gave tours of the gardens and ran the Smoothie-making bicycle, to the delight of adults and energic children alike. The Wild 25 team promoted their wildflower projects. Plant sales went through the roof on the day and, as a free entry event, they were more than happy with the visitors generous donations, which are relied upon to keep the gardens running freely.
Inverness Botanic Garden’s manager Ewan Mackintosh thanked all the staff, volunteers, exhibitors and attendees for making the day such an enormous success. He said “Everybody put so much into our first garden festival, making it an annual event seems all but inevitable! Many of the visitors had never been to the Botanics before today. The exhibitors were of a high calibre. Even the weather was perfect. An incredible amount of goodwill has been generated and we’re determined to build on this.”
So clear your diaries for Highland Garden Fest 2019…