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 are interested in finding out more about becoming a volunteer judge for Beautiful Scotland, please read the 'Why judge for Beautiful Scotland' article in the 'related Documents' section, check out the volunteer opportunity here and read one of our judge's 'day in the life' stories here.
Find out about the Beautiful Scotland judges below.
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 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 has spent 35 years gardening in East Lothian. Even at school he worked at weekends and in school holidays at a local estate garden. Leaving school he worked his way up from youth trainee to gardener, foreman, then nursery manager. He progressed to be the Area Amenity Officer for the east half of the county. He has always been the liaison person between the council and local groups taking part in what is now Beautiful Scotland: North Berwick, Haddington, Dunbar, East Linton and Port Seton have all been successful. He designs horticultural features throughout East Lothian and has been particularly successful with perennial plantings using plants sourced from the local Macplants nursery. He is now responsible for the west half of the county and already planning to improve public horticulture there.
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 is a judge for Beautiful Scotland for categories where East Lothian is not involved. He recently received a certificate of merit from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.
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 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.
Jenny has loved gardening since a child and, growing up in the North East, her Dad was a keen show competitor and grew giant vegetables, sweet peas and chrysanthemums and she always had her own patch! After training at college in Home Economics and Business Management, Jenny worked for the NHS in the Special Diet department in Newcastle and then for, what was then, the North Eastern Gas Board. The next few years were spent travelling all over the world on ships accompanying her husband who was a chief engineer. Gardening took over again and she studied in Dundee for her Advanced City and Guilds in Horticulture, Botany and Floral Art. After spending 15 years living in Holland, Southern and Western Norway, Jenny settled back home to St Andrews in 2002, where she has been involved with the 'Bloom' group for 10 years. She loves meeting the people whilst judging/assessing and learning about their achievements.
John joined Keep Scotland Beautiful's team of judges and assessors in 2014. The majority of his working career was within the flower seed trade, serving in a sales and technical capacity with Colegrave Seeds and Moles Seeds. Through this work he came in contact with growers and local authorities throughout Scotland, Ireland and Northern England, often assisting in plant choice for entries in Beautiful Scotland, Ulster in Bloom and Yorkshire in Bloom. Trained at East of Scotland College of Agriculture, West of Scotland Agricultural College, and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, John possesses a wide experience including many aspects of horticulture such as education and training, horticultural therapy, and ornamental crop production. Since 1960 John has also been involved with amateur gardening groups and, via Scottish Gardeners Forum, gives talks to local groups. From 1994 to 1997 he was Secretary of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society as well as for over forty years being the mainstay of Blackhall Horticultural Society.
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.
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.
Keith has nearly 35 years experience in community horticulture.
He founded Falkland in Bloom in 1987 and steered the community to success in national and international campaigns. Falkland competed at the highest level, winning Gold in Entente Florale and securing the Champion of Champion category in Britain in Bloom for two years in succession in 2009 and 2010. This success prompted a change in the rules meaning that no other community will achieve this accolade.
He has always encouraged other communities to become involved in floral and environmental enhancements and, in 2008, this work resulted in him being appointed to Fife Council's Parks department. Beautiful Fife was created and is now the vehicle which aids the development of Fife communities. About 60 communities participate to an extremely high level, with the best entering the Beautiful Scotland campaign.
Keith is currently a volunteer judge with Britain in Bloom and continues to take a keen interest in all community horticultural matters and regularly assists Keep Scotland Beautiful with Beautiful Scotland judges training and other advice.
Liz joined the Beautiful Scotland judging team a number of years ago and loves being involved. She is employed as Development Manager for Scotland at the Royal Horticultural Society, based in Edinburgh and works to develop and promote horticultural education opportunities throughout Scotland. Prior to joining the RHS in January 2014, 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 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.
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!
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 has been employed with Aberdeen City Council for 36 years, starting off as an apprentice gardener and working his way up through the ranks. He is now responsible for development and local strategies within the city relating to green spaces and community involvement. Sandy is 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 (he apparently assesses his talks through a process called a Sconometer which he says he was led astray with by fellow judges!!). Sandy enjoys all the ‘In Bloom’ campaigns and has been involved one way or another with ‘In Bloom’ initiatives for over 30 years, taking up a judges role for Beautiful Scotland five years ago and becoming a Green Flag judge last year. He firmly believes in supporting both new and old 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 has also recently become an ambassador for Keep Scotland Beautiful.
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 of the old school, before taking up a career in education. His spare time studies of song birds in the Lothians led to a Doctorate from Edinburgh University. Stan is Chairman of the Advisory Group for Aberlady Bay Nature Reserve, a member of East Lothian’s Biodiversity Forum, past president of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, former secretary of the Scottish Begonia Society and a council member of the Scottish Rock Garden Club and 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. His horticultural and environmental work for North Berwick in Bloom led to 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 all continents in between.
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.