Organisers have pulled the plug on ambitious plans to stage a huge horticultural show in the grounds of Scone Palace.
The inaugural Scottish Garden Show, planned for the last weekend of May, was expected to capitalise on Britain’s lockdown gardening boom.
In a statement posted on Monday afternoon, organisers said their decision to cancel was based on the “lack of clarity” around the easing of restrictions, which they said made it virtually impossible to plan a large-scale event.
Brian Stevenson, chief executive of Scone Palace, said: “Over the past several months we have been working hard to bring the Scottish Garden Show to fruition.
“It is with a very heavy heart, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the show’s inaugural 2021 event.”
He said: “Even with the most thorough planning to ensure that the event was Covid-19 secure, the lack of clarity surrounding the easing of Scottish Government restrictions for large-scale events and the uncertainty around peoples’ ability to travel and mix more freely has made it too much of an unknown for us to continue planning and investing in this year’s event.”
Mr Stevenson said: “We are hugely disappointed and sorry to not be able to support the array of gardening businesses who hoped to trade at the show, not to mention the many food and drink vendors and outdoor activity providers.
“We have received tremendous support and encouragement from many people, both in the horticultural industry and the wider business community offering sponsorship opportunities – all for a brand-new event to Perthshire. It has all been hugely appreciated.”
Mr Stevenson said a date for next year’s event would be announced in due course. “We hope to be able to welcome the many gardening experts, traders, suppliers, contractors and sponsors back in 2022,” he said.
“Even with today’s announcement, we look forward to the Scottish summer with optimism.”
The event was organised by Strathmore Events Services, which had pledged that the “strictest” safety measures will be in place.
It was expected to feature a line-up of horticultural experts, including Scone Palace head gardener and BBC Scotland presenter Brian Cunningham.
Anyone who has already purchased tickets will be given a full refund, minus any booking fees.
Plans were announced after it emerged that stay-at-restrictions had helped create around 3 million gardeners across the UK.
The Horticultural Trades Association found that families up and down the country have spent their summer experimenting with growing vegetables and other backyard projects.