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Judges

In 2019, volunteer judges were estimated to contribute almost 1,500 hours of time to Beautiful Scotland, so it is clear that without the contribution of our expert judges and the invaluable guidance they give to the entrants, Beautiful Scotland would not be the success it is today.

If you're interested in finding out more about what our volunteer Beautiful Scotland judges get up to, please read the 'Why judge for Beautiful Scotland' article in the 'related Documents' section below and read one of our judge's 'day in the life' stories here.

Find out about the Beautiful Scotland judges below.

  • Adrian Miles
    Adrian joined the Beautiful Scotland judging and It's Your Neighbourhood assessing teams in 2016. Adrian has been a gardener by profession for 20 years having given up the fast pace of city life as a marketing executive for a major telecommunications company. Before moving to Scotland in 2009 he qualified in and taught the subject of horticulture for East Surrey College based in Redhill, taking students through Gardening qualifications in ‘City and Guilds’, later to become 'National Vocational Qualifications'. Adrian also starred in the start-up company POD3 TV’s new gardening series when podcasting was in its infancy in 2007. Adrian has had published articles on his gardens in both the Scottish and UK-wide press and opens two gardens in Fife under Scotland’s open-garden scheme. He continues to provide talks on aspects of horticulture. Adrian has a special interest in unusual woodland plants and is a keen rosarian.
  • Alison Anderson
    Alison has been a judge for Beautiful Scotland for a number of years. Her background is one of ecology, but over time this experience has been broadened to encompass greenspace management and community engagement. She is currently Greenspace Team Leader for Dundee City Council which is responsible for outdoor access, forestry development, community participation, asset management, greenspace information and quality. She is also a very keen gardener and loves nothing better than pottering around her Carnoustie cottage garden. For the last six years Alison has brought her passion for gardening and her professional world together to create the Council's show garden at the Dundee Flower and Food Festival. In her capacity as a Beautiful Scotland judge, Alison thoroughly enjoys having the opportunity to visit communities who feel as passionately as she does about caring for their local environment and involving others in it.
  • Andrew Hogarth
    Andrew has spent 35 years gardening in East Lothian. At school he worked at a local estate garden. Leaving school he worked his way up from youth trainee to Operations Manager for East Lothian Council. He has always been the liaison person between the council and local groups taking part in Beautiful Scotland. He designs horticultural features throughout East Lothian and has been particularly successful with perennial plantings using plants sourced from the local Macplants nursery. His work has been recognised within the council with an 'employee of the year' award, while East Lothian’s high standard of public horticulture has been recognised at the Beautiful Scotland awards with a series of trophies. He recently received a certificate of merit from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society and the British Empire Medal.
  • Colin Ainsworth
    Colin is both a Beautiful Scotland judge (he has been judging for us since 2008) and an assessor for It’s Your Neighbourhood. Colin has had a varied and considerable experience throughout the public sector over the past 40 plus years. Started with Blackpool Parks as an apprentice in 1972 then gained a place at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, successfully completing the Diploma course (DHE). Then a move down to Warwickshire College as a Horticultural Technician/Instructor, then a move to Dundee City Council in 1983 as Parks Training Officer. He held other roles within Dundee City Council. Assistant Horticultural Officer, Horticultural Officer and latterly Health & Safety Officer for the then Leisure & Communities Department. Since its inception Colin was heavily involved in the organisation and logistics for the Dundee Flower & Food Festival. Taking early retirement in September 2011. Colin is a long standing member of the Hardy Plant Society and has been the Vice Convener for the Scotland & Northern Borders Group of the HPS. He has experience of putting up Horticultural exhibits at various events.
  • Gregor McGillivray
    Gregor is a lecturer in Horticulture at Dundee and Angus college. He has been a Beautiful Scotland judge and assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood for a number of years.
  • Jim Nicol
    Jim is a judge for Beautiful Scotland as well as a Green Flag Judge and is currently in his 45th year with Aberdeen City Council, having served his apprenticeship in the mid 70’s in Horticulture, Arboriculture, Fine Turf Culture and Mechanical Engineering prior to moving to a role in Landscape Design in the early 1980’s. Jim was initially attracted to the role of judging after a Beautiful Scotland visit to a local community in Powis, Aberdeen and was blown away by the warm, welcoming and engaging enthusiasm of the group. Initially acting as a Landscape Technician to The City’s Landscape Architect, Jim provided training and support to a variety of Government Funded Initiatives including Job Creation, STEPS, Youth Opportunities, and Training for Freedom Initiatives for HMP. This provided much needed funding around the City in improving unadopted pavements and footways, SSSI’s, Play Area refurbishment, Urban Landscape Improvements and a plethora of initiatives focused on improving the City landscape for residents and visitors alike. Moving on to the role of Landscape Development Officer, leading in Landscape Design and Play Area Development for the City, Jim continued to develop the role including award winning displays designed and built for The Glasgow Festival, The Glasgow International Festival, Chelsea Flower Show and also a number of local exhibitions. Jim has a keen interest in art and design and occasionally produces the odd (and some would say very odd) acrylic or watercolour to help raise funds for local charities. Jim’s current role of Design and Development Officer involves mainly AutoCAD based Landscape design work, producing schedules, contracts and on-site project management as well as providing practical support for local Friends groups.
  • John MacLennan
    John joined Keep Scotland Beautiful's team of judges and assessors in 2014. After completing Diploma courses in the mid 1970s at West of Scotland Agricultural College and Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, the majority of his working career was within the flower seed trade. Through this work he came into contact with growers and local authorities throughout Scotland, Ireland and Northern England, advising on plant choice for numerous winning entries in Beautiful Scotland, Ulster in Bloom and Yorkshire in Bloom. John enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with others, drawing on over sixty years of involvement with community gardening activities.
  • Joy Grey
    Joy joined the judging team in 2018. She is a farmer’s daughter from the Scottish Borders with a degree in Agriculture from Edinburgh University. She spent time at Nottingham university undertaking post graduate research in beef cattle nutrition before joining Unilever and trading in the international commodity and financial futures markets. In 2004 Joy gained a diploma in Garden Design with distinction and set up Goose Green Design. She designs gardens across the Lothians and Edinburgh and sometimes further afield. Joy has three sons, enjoys gardening, cooking, singing and walking and lives in East Lothian.
  • Liz Stewart
    Liz joined the Beautiful Scotland judging team a number of years ago and loves being involved. She is the National Organiser for Scotland's Gardens Scheme, which supports the opening of gardens around Scotland to raise money for charity, and was previously Scotland Manager for the Royal Horticultural Society for over 6 years, focussing on horticultural education and managing a UK-wide community gardening grants programme. Prior to joining the RHS, she spent nearly 10 years with the environmental charity, Edinburgh & Lothians Greenspace Trust, working on a wide range of programmes to improve local environments and engage people with their local greenspaces. She had a particular focus on developing the Trust’s portfolio of community gardening projects and believes passionately in the benefits of plants and gardening to help create a pride of place, promote health and wellbeing and to bring communities together. She is an active member of her own local community, having worn many hats over the years, and is a founder member of her village film society and committee member of the local horticultural society.
  • Lorraine Turnbull
    Lorraine joined the Beautiful Scotland judges in 2015. She has been a keen amateur gardener all her life, since 'helping' her father grow giant leeks on his allotment when she was just a toddler. One of her ambitions is to eventually open her own garden under Scotland's Gardens scheme. She is looking forward to meeting the people who work so hard to keep Scotland beautiful, and to get inspiration for her own garden from their ideas. Lorraine is an active committee member of the Arbroath Horticultural Society.
  • Noreen Ferguson
    Noreen joined our judging team as a trainee judge in 2022. She is a lecturer at Glasgow Clyde college. Prior to teaching, she owned a flower shop in the west end of Glasgow for many years. Noreen deeply believes there are many benefits to gardening, in particular, helping improve our mental health and wellbeing. She studied at Woodburn House, Langside college and Edinburgh Botanical Gardens. She lives in Loch Lomond, and when she's not working, Noreen loves pottering around her garden. Noreen says "It is very exciting to be part of Keep Scotland Beautiful and I look forward to meeting you."
  • Penny Wright
    Penny joined the judgign team in 2018. She has been working in the green collar industry for over twenty years, both here in Scotland and in the United States. After moving to the U.S.A. she became involved in community gardening projects as a way to meet new people; through these community projects she discovered her love of plants. Rather than return to her nursing career, Penny embarked on her horticultural journey, fitting in horticultural work and courses around family life. She has worked in various roles within the horticultural field including landscaper, garden designer, landscape crew supervisor and retail. After moving back to the UK Penny embarked on a degree program at SRUC Edinburgh. After two years she joined the staff at the Edinburgh campus as a Horticultural Technician/Instructor, while she continued to study for her degree which she obtained in 2015. Penny is interested in sustainable practices within the green collar industry. Of particular interest to Penny is the use and design of native plants juxtaposed with non-native plants to create diverse planting schemes. Penny also has a passion for composting!
  • Peter Sandwell
    Peter joined the judging team as a trainee judge in 2022. He was been an It's Your Neighbourhood assessor for many years. Peter is also a Green Flag judge and he worked in the Environment Department of Dundee City Council. While at the council, Peter was heavily involved in the Bonnie Dundee entry into Beautiful Scotland, and he now volunteers for a numebr of It's Your Neighbourhood groups in the city.
  • Sandra Maclennan
    Sandra’s love of gardening goes back to her own childhood. A primary teacher by profession she became head teacher at Applegrove Primary School in Forres where she and her colleagues founded the school gardening club in 1993. Applegrove won a series of awards for school gardening and became a key contributor to Forres in Bloom. When Sandra retired she joined the Forres in Bloom committee and in 2007 she became chair and founded the Wee FIBees, the junior section of Forres in Bloom who were awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Young People’s Award in 2011. Forres has been awarded gold medals in Beautiful Scotland, Britain in Bloom and Entente Florale Europe. Faced with severe cuts in provision by the local authority, Sandra and her colleagues recently took over responsibility for the floral displays and now raise 30,000 plants in their nursery. This led to an award for overcoming adversity from the Britain in Bloom judges in 2017. Forres was voted to have Scotland’s most beautiful High Street in 2017. Sandra received the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society’s Andrew Duncan medal in 2013 and in 2017, with her husband Ian, a joint Community Champion Award from the RHS.
  • Sandy Scott
    Sandy was employed with Aberdeen City Council for 40 years, taking early retirement in 2019. He started off as an apprentice gardener and worked his way up through the ranks. He was responsible for development and local strategies within the city relating to green spaces and community involvement. Sandy was the Chair of Aberdeen’s Allotment Forum, past chair of Aberdeen in Bloom and enjoys giving talks on parks and gardens to local groups in the North East. Sandy enjoys all the ‘In Bloom’ campaigns and has been involved one way or another with ‘In Bloom’ initiatives for over 35 years, taking up a judges role for Beautiful Scotland some years ago and he is also a Green Flag judge. He firmly believes in supporting both new and established communities, not only to engage in their local environment but, as he has seen all over the country in his judging, communities taking ownership and making major differences to their local area. Sandy is very active in his local Rotary Club and is his Club’s Environmental Officer.
  • Sarah Turnill
    Sarah joined the judging team as a trainee judge in 2022. She became an assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood in 2014 and enjoyed her assessment visits so much she took on the challenge again. It can be a challenge juggling work and life, but meeting people and being shown round gardens, allotments, parks, and village streets is an inspiration. Sarah was a part of a group that achieved Outstanding for their woodland garden for Its Your Neighbourhood, so knows what the groups are going through. Sarah is Chair of Dunbar in Bloom which takes part in Beautiful Scotland, and is involved in Belhaven Hospital Community Garden. Sarah works as a senior nurse within East Lothian, is involved with the family farm in the Scottish Borders, enjoys visiting other people's gardens in the National garden scheme, tends her own herbaceous border and shows Jacob sheep at local agricultural shows in her spare time!
  • Stan da Prato
    Stan grew up in North Berwick and still lives in East Lothian. He learned his practical horticulture from his father, a professional gardener, before taking up a career in education. His spare time studies of songbirds in the Lothians led to a Doctorate from Edinburgh University. Stan is Chairman of the Advisory Group for Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve, past president of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, former secretary of the Scottish Begonia Society, a successful exhibitor of alpine plants and on the council of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society. He also edits the journals Scottish Birds and The Caledonian Gardener, as well as helping out with several gardening clubs in East Lothian. He has an RHS Community Champion award. He enjoys visiting local groups where he is often asked to speak on gardening, wildlife, and travels which so far have ranged from Antarctica to Greenland and the continents in between.
  • Terry Stott
    Terry is a judge for Beautiful Scotland and an assessor for It's Your Neighbourhood. Terry worked with Aberdeen City Council in various positions within the Links and Parks, Leisure and Recreation, Contracting Services and finally as an Area Officer in Environmental Services involved in all aspects of Horticultural for 42 years. In this time Aberdeen was an entrant in Beautiful Scotland and Britain in Bloom winning various awards. Terry retired in 2010, and is now involved with Slopefield Allotments entry to Its Your Neighbourhood, and encouraging and assisting other groups in Aberdeen to become involved in Its Your Neighbourhood. He thinks it is good to get people involved in their neighbourhoods as it makes a huge difference to the area they live in. Terry has been a Beautiful Scotland Judge and an Its Your Neighbourhood Assessor for over six years now, meeting great people and seeing beautiful displays (sometimes the weather does not do its best for the community or judge on the day!). Terry grows annuals and herbaceous plants to exhibit at various Flower Shows; if he is not showing he judges 'Cut Flowers' at several Flower Shows in the area. Terry has been involved with the Royal Horticultural Society of Aberdeen for the past 26 years and Chairman from 2010 to 2013 - the society run a Spring and Summer show annually. In 2014 Terry received a Certificate of Merit from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society and in 2017 a Community Champion award from the Royal Horticultural Society.

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