Gardening Scotland 2017 – Living Landscape in Your Garden

I designed this show garden as part of my Diploma in Garden Design at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  Initially, all students were asked to prepare a design.  I was delighted when my garden was selected for construction at Gardening Scotland 2017.

The garden uses Scottish native plants and feature stones to represent the natural Scottish landscape.  The result is a low maintenance garden which is sustainable and encourages biodiversity.  A winding gravel path takes the visitor through a mix of shrubs and perennials.  It passes firstly a monolithic water feature and secondly an informal stone seat beneath a native Crataegus tree.   Eventually some stone steps climb up onto a small raised patio.

The planted structure of the garden is formed using Artemisia, Juniperus and Salix.  Grasses, for example Briza Media and Deschampsia Cespitosa, provide a different type of foliage interest amongst the shrubs. Seasonal perennials fill the spaces amongst the foliage plants in layers of differing heights.  These include tall plants such as Aquilegia, Anthriscus, Digitalis and Dipsacus (teasel).  Next, a lower layer of planting includes Geranium, Dactylorhiza (wild orchid) and Campanula.  Within the paving are mat-forming herbs including Thymus. Climber Lonicera periclymenum (honeysuckle) twines itself through the slats of the fencing.

The colour palette for the planting is a range of pinks, purples and white, set off by a mauve-coloured boundary fence.

Importantly the native plants provide food and shelter to encourage local wildlife. Permeable surfacing provides habitats for invertebrates without creating run-off issues. The garden demonstrates how, even if you have a small urban garden, it is possible to encourage biodiversity and contribute to the network of green spaces across the city.

I built the garden at Gardening Scotland with my fellow Garden Design students from RBGE. The process really developed our understanding of landscape construction. In conclusion, we were delighted with the result, gaining a Silver Gilt medal.

Photos by Claire Cox Photography