Following all the television and media coverage around the Chelsea Flower Show last week – particularly its very decadent show gardens – I’m getting very excited about Scotland’s equivalent – Gardening Scotland – which takes place from Friday till Sunday next weekend at Ingliston, near Edinburgh.
As well as showcasing some of the finest floral delights that Scotland has to offer, there will be eight 10m x 10m Show Gardens at this year’s event which are guaranteed to inspire visitors.
A ‘Hive Jive Show Garden’, created by students from Scotland’s rural colleges (SRUC) pays homage to the humble bee to help raise awareness of this small creature’s unparalleled value in the pollination of important food crops and wild and cultivated flowers. As well as highlighting some fascinating facts about bees and their life cycles, the garden seeks to inform visitors about some of the serious issues surrounding the decline of bees, promoting simple steps that can be taken to help these insects thrive.
Dundee College students will also inspire visitors with their work in a garden called ‘Who is William Gardiner’. It will look at the life and works of famous Dundee son, William Gardiner who was best known for writing ‘The Flora of Forfarshire’ and ‘Twenty Lessons on British Mosses’. The garden will cover his apprenticeship to an umbrella maker and the show garden will feature a bothy workshop, with a variety of tools, replicating Scottish moorland with flora found in the Angus glens.
Meanwhile, war veterans working with Glenart in Milton of Campsie, near Glasgow, will be showcasing their work in ‘The Transition Garden’ – offering a glimpse into the changes and progressions that veterans make after returning to civilian life. It will take visitors on a journey through the life of a veteran, covering mental and physical health issues and the return to a healthy, positive future. Glenart helps those from a military background return to civilian life through projects that bring people together and strengthen relationships between ex-service personnel and their communities.
A Moray-based garden landscaper will also be exhibiting at this year’s event. Julie Pritchard’s show garden, ‘A Garden for Art Lovers’ will be inspired by the life and works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife, Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh.
Another garden that is bound to attract a great deal of attention is a prison garden designed and created by men from Glenochil prison in Alloa and women from Cornton Vale prison in Stirling.
‘Within these walls – a journey inside’ will showcase the horticultural knowledge and skills of more than 40 men and women from both prisons, taking visitors on a journey through the life of a prisoner – from the initial dark and lonely days through to the brighter moments of creating new friendships and embarking on new endeavours.
The Scottish War Blinded will create a show garden called ‘Silhouettes in the Fog’ which will highlight the work that the charity does supporting individuals who have served in the armed forces and currently live with a visual impairment. The focal point of the garden will be a 1915 trench warfare scene, using dense, dark tones of colour and smoke to represent tension, fear and anxiety experienced by Allied soldiers on the Western Front during gas attacks.
The charity, Macmillan Cancer, will create a garden called ‘Breaking the wall’ which will highlight the difficulties that people face when dealing with cancer, and how barriers can be broken down to ensure patients are cared for effectively. The garden will be split into two sections separated by a large brick wall – with simulated wasteland on one side, and a lush garden of Eden on the other.
And a Renfrewshire-based organisation – the West of Scotland Drystone Walling Association, in partnership with Erskine – will create a fantastic garden called ‘The Centenary Garden’, to celebrate 100 years of care and help for the British Armed Forces. The garden will feature a dry stone wall showing the crest of the Royal Patron Princess Louise, and trees representing the willow trees which were used to create artificial limbs for veterans from the armed forces returning from war.
For more information visit http://www.gardeningscotland.com