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.

  • March 2019

    …Out like a lamb. 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

  • 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.

  • September 2018

    Colours shift & change. Morning dews now soak the grass pathways leaving shadow footstep trails around the garden. Colours shift and change. Cobwebs glisten like translucent hankies caught between the

  • August 2018

    A change of atmosphere. A couple of significant downpours and refreshing showers change the atmosphere – perking up the soft planting which had been beginning to look very sorry for

  • July 2018

    The effects of the drought. A month dominated by the continued spell of good weather – which influences everything in the garden. Most significantly is the water supply – keeping

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    June 2018

    For a full month almost we have been basking in exceptionally warm and dry weather conditions – in many ways this allows the garden to be seen at its best