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.

  • July 2022

    The ‘terror’… The annual ‘reign of terror’ on rose bay willow herb begins with a process of decapitating the vast swathes that have overtaken the hillside. It is also pulled

  • June 2022

    New ideas and approaches… The start of summer – of sorts – and almost inevitably the moment our doors open the rain falls, so we have had to endure a

  • May 2022

    Garden ready to be experienced… A month when the garden is at its freshest, greens at their most vibrant. Everything is now rushing into growth as light and colour shift

  • April 2022

    Plum and cherry blossom,  the freshness of new growth, daffodils still blooming away, much later here than everywhere else it seems, in golden swathes across the hillside by the back

  • March 2022

    Take a breath… A month of preparations with the promise of spring – and as it nears its end we are blessed with a long spell of warm weather, clear

  • February 2022

    Very present weather… Yet another month of very indecisive but very present weather. As elsewhere, more named storms rip through, but we do not sustain much notable damage – the

  • January 2022

    Planning and planting. The old year ends and the new begins begins with storms sweeping over – a few trees and limbs down but not too much substantial damage –

  • 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