Gardener’s Diary

Little Sparta’s Head Gardener, George Gilliland, has overseen the maintenance and development of the garden, and the conservation of its numerous individual artworks, since 2012. Until 2016, George’s work was supported by gardener Ralph Irving, who worked with Ian Hamilton Finlay and Sue Finlay for many years. This continuity has ensured Finlay’s original vision for the garden is maintained. George’s work today is supported by members of the Little Sparta Trust and by volunteers. This page features George’s monthly Gardener’s Diary, published with the Little Sparta Newsletters.

  • July 2019

    Weeds and weather. A major occupation this month again, a round of seasonal selective weeding out – just about everywhere in amongst the undergrowth has been blanketed with Galium aperine

  • June 2019

    “Glooms and solitudes”. Nettles and willowherb dominate the month as they require constant weeding out to keep them under control. There is a concerted effort to clear whole areas to

  • May 2019

    The promise of blossom. The tree canopy closes over, the garden is enclosed in green dappled light. For the most part it has been a mild month, bringing lots of

  • April 2019

    Nature over again. We are fully immersed in springtime – the light and colours of the garden change and freshen. Seasonal jobs start to stack up as new growth emerges.

  • March 2019

    …Out like a lamb. A month of extreme and unpredictable contrasts as days of stormy winds and cold sleety rain give way to clear blue skies and much milder temperatures.

  • February 2019

    Expectations of spring. It seems extraordinary that a month which ends basking in bright blue skies and unexpected warm bright sunshine began in snow and freezing cold with everything muffled

  • January 2019

    The nights begin to draw out. The new year begins with a round of repairs and refurbishments.   The two sequences of inscribed boat pavers in the front garden are

  • December 2018

    Colourless days. Hawthorn, crabapple, Scot’s pine, wych elm, horse chestnut, sessile oak, Italian alder, juniper, hazel, blackthorn, Norway spruce, Western hemlock – these are some of the trees planted out

  • November 2018

    A very busy time. In front of the Temple of Apollo old stone troughs are removed and the whole area cleared awaiting new planting in the spring. Also at the

  • October 2018

    Packing up for the winter. A month full of activity as the garden closes to visitors and the priority shifts to caring for artworks and infrastructure over the coming season.