Gardening Scotland set for murder mystery SRUC show garden

Published Wednesday, 17th May 2017 in Study at SRUC news

HOrtus homicidia

Garden Design students from the Edinburgh campus of SRUC visited Scottish Opera to find costumes for their mysterious “murder garden” which will be on display at Gardening Scotland.

The “Hortus Homicida” show garden will take on a Tudor theme having been inspired by the unsolved murder of Mary Queen of Scots’ second husband - Lord Darnley.  It will be a key feature at Gardening Scotland at Ingliston showground from June 2 – 4.

To bring the garden to life students will dress in historic outfits as they present the garden and guide people through an interactive Cluedo-like game giving them a chance to solve the mystery.

All the plants in the garden will have cryptic messages and the garden will also feature apple trees from Binny Plants to represent the orchard where Darnley was found. The students have also sourced five tonnes of stone to construct a 15th Century-style dry stone wall.

Heath Urquhart, the Garden Design student behind the original idea, said: “This year is the 450th anniversary of the murder of Lord Darnley and a great opportunity to depict a moment that changed the course of Scottish history.

“The garden represents a romanticised version of a monastic garden but it also has an eerie side. It will be clear something has happened.  Gardening Scotland is a great opportunity for us as Garden Design students to put our ideas in front of an audience of around 30,000 people. It is very exciting but also a little scary!”

Apart from the trip to Scottish Opera’s costume department, the students also visited the University of Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum where they were given a personal tour and shown the skull of Lord Darnley.

Matt Jessop, Lecturer in Garden Design, said: “This is fantastic opportunity for our students to showcase their work.  It is great been great to get support from local organisations who have shown great interest in our project.”

The students will hope to follow in the footsteps of the last year’s SRUC Bee Garden which won a gold medal at the national Gardening Scotland event.

The garden will first be constructed and finished at SRUC’s Edinburgh campus before being dismantled for reassembly and planting up at the Showground, ready for the Gardening Scotland judges.

SRUC offers a wide variety of Horticulture courses including community programmes, national certificate and Honours Degree and are offered from the college’s Elmwood, Oatridge, Ayr and Edinburgh campuses.

Photo caption: SRUC Garden Design student Veronika Svatosova in costume for Gardening Scotland.

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