Murder mystery garden wins prestigious Gold Award at Gardening Scotland

Published Wednesday, 14th June 2017 in Study at SRUC news

Gardening Scotland students win gold

SRUC’s Garden Design students have excelled themselves with their creativity and imagination as their mysterious “murder garden” won a Gold Award at Gardening Scotland.

Their Tudor themed show garden “Hortus Homicida” was designed and created by 2nd year students at SRUC’s Edinburgh campus and was competing with seven gardens showcasing the very best of Scottish garden design.

The garden commemorates the 450th anniversary of one of Scotland’s most infamous unresolved crimes: the murder of Lord Darnley the husband of Mary Queen of Scots.

The students’ entry aims to create a romanticised version of a monastic garden to represent where Lord Darnley’s body was found. They used native breeds that would have been around at the time and plants with specific meanings to emphasise the story behind their garden.

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

The eight students, from seven different countries, have been prepping the garden since the beginning of the year and have also gone on historical visits to learn more about the story behind the garden – including a visit to the Edinburgh University Anatomical Museum to visit Lord Darnley’s skull.

The idea behind the garden came from mature student Heath Urquhart who left his farm in New Zealand in 2015 to pursue his dream of working in horticulture by studying at SRUC.

Heath said: “We are thrilled to have won the top prize possible! It has been an amazing week finally building the garden and seeing our ideas come to life. It has been a great team effort and we have all learnt a huge amount from the process.

“We want to use the garden to teach people about a moment that changed Scottish history and Gardening Scotland is a great platform for us with over 30,000 visitors expected. We are looking forward to sharing the story behind our garden with people over the weekend.”

Students and staff from SRUC’s Oatridge campus are also playing an important role at Gardening Scotland. They have helped set up, run and put entries into the Pallet and Planter Garden Competition and supported the dressing of the main Floral Hall. They will also be running workshops on hard landscaping and the Japanese art of Kokedama. Four students will also be entering the World Skills Landscape Competition.

David James, Head of Education, said: “I would like to congratulate our garden design students on their innovative, exciting and unique show garden. The students have worked extremely hard and I am delighted to hear of their Gold Award. It is a fantastic achievement and is testament to the high quality horticulture and garden design courses available at SRUC.

"It is great to see the range of activities on display at Gardening Scotland from staff and students from across SRUC's campuses."

SRUC offers a wide range of courses within the Horticulture Programme. They range from community programmes through National Certificate to Honours Degree level and are delivered from our Elmwood, Oatridge, Ayr and Edinburgh campuses. SRUC’s Barony Campus also offers courses in forestry such as Forest Management and Forest Mechanisation.

Photo caption: Garden Design students from SRUC's Edinburgh campus with their Gold Award at Gardening Scotland. 

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