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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.

  • November 2019

    Bedding down for winter.     Preparations are now being made for winter with the first hard frosts more frequent. There is still a general round of clearing leaves –

  • fungi

    October 2019

    Observations from autumnal days.     Another month dominated by just about every form of rain – from drizzle through squally showers to downpour – the ground is saturated as

  • four_seasons_sundial

    September 2019

    Gradually shifting towards autumn.   The steady round of regular tasks continues, though the changes in season are much more evident as the leaves are changing colour and beginning to

  • dew_laden_cobwebs

    August 2019

    Silvery dew-laden combwebs.   Some things are refreshed by it, others battered down – the unpredictable cycles of weather continue through the month and determine a lot of what can

  • 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