Da Gairdins i Sand, Shetland

The Gairdins Project

Ruby in the shelterbelt

In 1997 the first moves were made to turn the lower four acres of the croft which Alan had bought into a garden. Three large ponds were dug, fed by natural hill water and kept unlined to maximise the amount of wildlife which might seek a refuge there. Over the years, the meadow grass has been mown continuously until now there are large areas of lawn. Beds have been constructed and planted with a huge variety of native and exotic species. Three trips to New Zealand have resulted in a collection of New Zealand plants, many of which are grown nowhere else in Shetland. A piece of land was left as a natural meadow and now abounds with wild flowers and insects.

Aerial photography by John Coutts (View or download big (4 Mb) picture)

In 2007 the development of a woodland and rhododendron walk in the lea of one of the original shelterbelts was started. A track some 300 metres long, suitable for disabled access, was created and extensive planting took place. This project is currently ongoing.

Da Gairdins Environment Company owns a total of about 60 acres/24 hectares of land, including the Loch.  
So far, the gardens and woodlands extend to about 7 acres/3 hectares, with the shelterbelts a further 5 acres/2 hectares in area.


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