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.
…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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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