The first steps have been taken to restore the once-beautiful flower garden of Newhailes that fell into neglect in World War II.

This week has seen the beginning of a new lease of life for Newhailes estate in Musselburgh, as school pupils joined the National Trust for Scotland Chief Executive, Kate Mavor, in relocating snowdrops.

Overlooking the project were the Trust’s archaeologists, ensuring the pattern of paths and flower beds were not disturbed, and Head Gardener Joshua Cook. On completion, Mr Cook will have the honour of being the first gardener to have tended this particular garden in nearly 70 years.

Newhailes gardens MAIN2

The flower gardens of Newhailes were once extensive and flourishing but after neglect during World War II, due to the loss of staff to the war effort, the garden’s beauty began to wane and the family could no longer afford a gardener to maintain it.

The Trust is hoping to restore the garden to its former glory by using photographic and documentary evidence alongside archaeological information and reinstate its former design. This will be achieved using plants from the 1820s through to the 1920s.

‘It is wonderful that, as spring finally seems to be arriving, we are here to start work to being this once beautiful garden back to life,’ Kate Mavor enthused. ‘This time next year, it will be a very different spot, as the garden paths and flower beds will be starting to take shape.

‘Although it may be difficult to imagine today, the designed landscape at Newhails is of international significance. Today is the first step in helping restore it to its former glory.’

The flower garden is not the only aspect of Newhailes that will receive attention this year: ‘we’re breathing new life into Newhails,’ Property Manager Rhiannon Naismith revealed. ‘As well as the flower garden, we’re in the midst of restoring our historic glasshouse and doocot. We’re bringing in brand new family-friendly house tours, we’ve got new exhibitions planned and lots of new events too.’

Work on the flower garden is supported by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery.

For further information on visiting Newhailes visit www.nts.org.uk/property/newhailes)