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Head 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 Assistant Gardener Lynne Maclagan, 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 2021

    Another winter sea. The colours change and with them the course of the seasons. All of the leaves have gradually transformed from green to yellow to red and brown and

  • October 2021

    Autumn is fully upon us, … as if by the flick of a switch the sounds and colours change: geese honk overhead in their precise flight patterns, rowan berries glow

  • September 2021

    The end of the visitor season. The month begins with what the weather forecast describes as an ‘anti-cyclonic gloom’ – a sequence of brooding grey skies, but then peaks with

  • SPAB-Scholars_2021

    August 2021

    More extremes of weather. Yet another month where it seems that extremes of weather happen within a few hours of one another. We have a sequence of drab muggy days,

  • July 2021

    Extremes of weather. This month has brought more extremes of weather – heavy downpours where it feels like weeks of accumulated rain fall in just a few hours, and then

  • June 2021

    Settling in… The main change this month is of course completion of the new building, and the return of visitors. First among these is a swallow which begins a nest

  • May 2021

    An almost inner light… Another month dominated by the effects of weather being unseasonably cold and wet for most days, though it ends with a flourish and a sharp rise

  • April 2021

    Spring cannot be cancelled. The trees begin to blossom just at the end of the month here – so much later than everywhere else it seems, but then also such

  • March 2021

    New beginnings all round.   There is still a sharp coolness to the air as biting winds sweep through, but this is balanced out now by more brighter longer days.

  • February 2021

    A month of two halves.   It seems strange to be writing now in springlike sunshine at the end of a month of its beginnings in freezing snow.  It is