Forget lockdown, go on a virtual tour where everything in the garden is rosy, says Sandra Dick.

The camerawork can sometimes be a tad shaky, there may well be occasional interruptions from the cat and the commentary might be a little bit breathless.

But, having been denied the chance to show off their gardens for public viewing this spring, some of Scotland’s best amateur gardeners have laid down their trowels and discovered new skills as film makers to showcase the dazzling fruits of their labours for us all to enjoy at home.

Using rarely touched cameras, carefully picking their way down their garden steps, tiptoeing across immaculate lawns and zooming in to show off delicate blooms, gardeners across Scotland have created homemade versions of Gardeners’ World.

As a result, their delightful short films are providing a peek at normally hidden blossoming back gardens, giving locked down viewers with nothing else to do but wonder what to do with their own back yard, much-needed real life inspiration.

The private gardens captured on film by proud owners are among hundreds which had been due to throw open their gates to the public this spring and summer under Scotland’s Garden Scheme.

Normally the event is a chance for visitors to wander by dazzling floral displays, water features, fruit and vegetable patches and lovingly tended shrubs in return for a charity donation.

Lockdown, however, has meant the scheme, which has run every year since 1931, had to be cancelled.

Faced with hundreds of gardens at their blooming best with no-one but their owners to enjoy them, the organisers of the scheme suggested gardeners might head outside with mobile phones to capture their gardens now and in the weeks to come, both to keep the fundraising going and to bring nature’s glory to viewers stuck indoors.

Now the first efforts have been uploaded; each offering a charming insight to the loving care green-fingered owners have poured into their outdoor space, as well as inspiration for anyone with a typical back garden – wheelie bins and all - crying out for plants but not sure where to start.

“Since 1931 our charity has been successfully running open days every single year, even during WWII, but this stopped in March this year,” says Terrill Dobson, the Director of Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.

“And even though the gardens are looking splendid and people are seeking solace in gardening, our Garden Openers will not be able to welcome visitors for the foreseeable future.”

The Scheme’s call for videos has seen new videos arriving almost daily.

“Garden Openers genuinely want to share what’s happening in their gardens while hoping to support the charities that now need it even more than ever. We ask people who would have come to the gardens to watch the videos and consider a donation.”

Of course, few watching may feel they can instantly achieve the heights of David Gallacher and Tom Williamson from Bonnyrigg. Their short video takes viewers around their 30ft by 120ft garden which is crammed with around 610 different plants, 200 containers and pots and 30 hanging baskets in a 30ft x 120ft area.

Or, on a completely different level, the stunning garden at Shepherd House in Inveresk, East Lothian. Filmed by its owner, artist Lady Ann Fraser, viewers are taken on a leisurely stroll past calming water features, sculptures, vibrant flowers spilling over borders, clinging to arches and lining paths.

Some gardeners taking part in what’s been dubbed the ‘virtual garden’ scheme, have revealed expected talent as film makers, offering running commentaries of garden design, plant choices and gardening tips.

In the case of Chris and Jerry Gregson of Greenbank Crescent in Edinburgh, filming involved negotiating steep steps and trying to avoid camera shake while chatting about how they’ve created terraces of colour.

“We had to learn how to use the camera,” says Chris. “We’ve made two films, and now we’re being asked to make more because people want to see what happens next in the garden.

“Sometimes I can’t even see what I’m taking a picture of because the sun is in my eyes, so I’m pointing the camera and hoping for the best!”

In Stirling, Stephen Kelly’s short film shows how he has covered the back garden of his home in a typical modern estate with hundreds of jewel-coloured tulips. Standing tall in pots, borders and beds, they create dazzling splashes of colour and earned his home the name, the Tulip House.

Best of all for would-be gardeners feeling overwhelmed by the thought of how to create their own floral extravaganza, he points out how simple they are to grow. “If you’ve got some pots, fill them with soil, stick in some bulbs and you’re pretty much guaranteed to succeed.”

Meanwhile Jean Knox filmed her garden in Hunter’s Tryst, Edinburgh, despite efforts of her black and white cat, Tosh, to photobomb her efforts.

“He likes to be with people, and if I don’t engage with him, he’ll just plant himself on the ground and roll over,” she says.

For would-be gardeners currently contemplating their own wilderness, she confesses her immaculate garden with its herbaceous and shrub beds, fruit, water features and seating areas, was once in chaos too.

“Everything in it now, I have done from scratch,” she adds. “I suggest people start with a masterplan and try to create their garden around what they want to use it for.”

For gardeners yet to find their green fingers, there is some comfort: “I’ve wasted a fortune over the years and I still make random purchases from the garden centre,” she adds.

“It often comes down to finding a place where a plant is happy and leaving it there.”

To watch the videos, visit Scotland’s Garden Scheme at