25 years of volunteering! who would have guessed that all the Perth & Kinross in Bloom volunteer groups - Take a Pride in Perth - have been making our local villages, towns, and all kinds of public green spaces beautiful for such a long time! Nicky has worked with Jenny Williams and the Greenspace team before, giving a presentation to an evening event for volunteers and also talking to the garden and horticultural experts who have visited Perth to judge Britain in Bloom.
This year, PlaidSong were asked to perform at a garden party to celebrate the dedication and hard work of the many volunteers from all over P&K. These lovely people meet regularly to share their expertise and knowledge and are committed to keeping all kinds of public spaces looking fabulous all year round!
The garden party was held in the perfect location - Drummond Castle Gardens - and we had time for a wee walk around before the guests arrived to enjoy the formal gardens but mostly to admire the view, the trees, and all the planting.
Our first song was inspired by a very old book on gardening, The Scot’s Gard’ner published in 1683 by John Reid of Edinburgh. There is a copy of the book in the Innerpeffray Library.
From Reid's own account of his past we have this written by himself: "At Niddrew Castle, the parish of Kirkliston, was born the 13th Feb. 1655-6, and there baptized, where my father was gardener, and my grandfather before him. I was bound apprentice to a wine merchant in Edinburgh in Jan. 1667, but my master dying before the expiration of my apprenticeship, I returned, home in 1673. My father being dead, and my mother married again, I went to the famous Hamilton Gardens for improvement. Here I was deluded to embrace Quakerism. From thence I went to Drummond in 1675. Thence to Lawres, alias Fordiny (Fordie) 1676. There I wrote the Scotch Gardener, and was married in 1678, to Margaret, daughter of Henry Miller, of Cashon, in the parish of Kirkintilloch, where she was born and baptized anno 1644-5. She had likewise embraced Quakerism. My eldest daughter, Anna, was born at Lawres the 24th Jan. 1679. We came to Shank (East Lothian) 1680. My second daughter, Helena, was born there the 2nd October, 1681. My third daughter, Margaret, was born there the 11th May 1683. We went to Leith for our voyage to America the 2nd August. 1683
This remarkable man had actually worked at the very gardens we were all enjoying so it seemed fitting to mention this book and sing a song about a gardener. This is a design from his book, he wrote of paths and hedges all being designed to lead people through nature to the house itself. The book is a seminal piece of work and was published almost at the same time as the establishment of the Physic Garden in Edinburgh, the forerunner of the RBGE. Both of these initiatives helped make Scotland a centre of horticultural excellence and ensured that the head gardeners for most of the big houses in the British Isles were very often Scots!
We chose The Gard'ner Wi his Paidle, by Robert Burns as a gardener's song. We also sang about the plant collector, David Douglas, in our song, To the Oregon Country, which describes all the trials and efforts those amazing Scots went through to bring us so many trees, plants and garden favourites from all around the world.
Our last song of the afternoon was The Gean Trees, our adaptation of the Violet Jacob poem of the same name, and we sang that in honour of tree planting in general - we are a fan of tree planting! We performed that song last year as part of celebrations for the Queens Green Canopy.
Well done to all the 'Bloomers' - keep doing what you're doing!