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Scottish Gardening

Scottish Plants for Scottish GardensScottish Plants for Scottish Gardens Gardening is one of the most popular of all Scottish pastimes. Yet few Scottish gardeners are inspired to plant their flowerbeds with plants that are native to Scotland. Instead they fill their borders with exotic blooms that originate in China or flowering shrubs that once grew in the Andes. Many do not realise that, because of its extraordinary geological and climatic variety, Scotland boasts a great wealth of indigenous plants, a total of 1,085 native varieties.

The message of this new edition of Jill, Duchess of Hamilton and Dr Franklyn Perring’s Scottish Plants for Scottish Gardens is that Scotland’s gardeners have a major part to play in preserving the richness and diversity of their own country’s flora. Modern farming techniques and new methods of land use have for years been destroying the natural habitats of many plants that were once widespread. ‘This is tragic,’ says the Duchess. ‘Scottish native plants form an intrinsic part of Scotland’s identity.’ Private gardens can provide a haven for local plants and wildlife, preserving part of the nation’s heritage while providing a beautiful and varied display of blossom and foliage.

To help the gardener, a complete checklist of all 1,085 native plants has been compiled, giving not only their common names but also their Gaelic and Scots as well as scientific latin names. From the checklist, 105 varieties have been singled out as being particularly well suited to domestic gardens because of their attractiveness of flower, fruit or foliage; their non-intrusive nature (i.e. they won’t run wild over your vegetable patch!), and their availability from nurseries and garden centres. Each selection is illustrated with a clear colour photograph, and a description details the plant’s relationship with other forms of wildlife, bees or butterflies for example, and its suitability for different parts of the garden, shade or rockery, herbaceous border, pond or marshy area.

As Magnus Magnusson says in his Foreword to the book: ‘From the majestic Caledonian pine to the tiny, fragile Scottish Primrose (Primula Scotica), we have a living wealth of history and tradition... I hope that the knowledgeable enthusiasm which illuminates this book will inspire us all to cultivate and grow as many as possible of Scotland’s indigenous plants in our own gardens.’

Scottish Plant CollectorsSeeds of Blood and Beauty: Scottish Plant Collectors More explorers than gardeners, their quests took them from familiar Scottish towns to far-flung territories, swapping Aberdeen for Africa, Falkirk for China, Glasgow for Afghanistan and Auchenblae for Antarctica. Starting with William Wright (1735-1810), who left the quiet Fife town of Crieff for Jamiaca, and the introspective Aberdonian Francis Masson, who metamorphosed from an under gardener at Kew Gardens to a intrepid pioneer who faced gangs of bandits and poisonous snakes, Ann Lindsay presents men who were regarded as 'the Indiana Joneses of their day', exploding myths of dreamy botanists skipping through fields of flowers and describing the harsh and dangerous realities of their journeys.



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