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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.

  • 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

  • January 2021

    Freeze – thaw – freeze (repeat).   Snow is the mainstay of this month, as everything is whitened and covered over. There are bright days and the air is clear,

  • December 2020

    The end of a year like no other.   Short dark days are pierced through with low sun and long shadows. There are the first frosts as we steadily slip

  • November 2020

    It’s beginning to feel like winter.   The sequence of works for late autumn continues alongside the gradual seasonal change towards colder shorter days. There is more heavy rainfall and

  • October 2020

    Hidden words…   The most visible seasonal change in the structure of the garden takes place this month as all of the artworks are covered, brought into storage or packed

  • September 2020

    Like a windmill turn, turn turn…   The World’s Oldest Windmill turns again and we are into autumn – almost on the point of the equinox the change in season