Final Preparations at Gardening Scotland for our World War One Garden.

Posted: 31/05/2016 | Scottish War Blinded

Preparations are well underway for Scottish War Blinded’s World War One Commemorative Garden, which will be exhibited at Gardening Scotland from this Friday to Sunday.

The Garden was inspired by a visit to Ypres last year, which saw veterans moved by the sight of now peaceful farmland which was once the scene of terrible devastation during World War One’s battles. Visiting what remains of the trenches used by soldiers evoked what it must have been like to experience the mud and desolation of the trenches in the salient.  

Upon their return from the Battlefields of Ypres, staff and veterans began to consider ideas to evoke this past horror. Linburn Centre’s driver David Baird suggested replicating the feel of the trenches as a starting point, and from there, centre officer Caroline O’Hara hatched a plan to bring this unique garden to life.

Caroline approached Ian White Associates, landscape architects, who had previously designed the beautiful gardens at the Linburn Centre. Having had their ‘arm twisted’ by Caroline to undertake this unusual commission, they developed her rough sketches into the evocative garden that 35,000 people will have the chance to see at Gardening Scotland. 

The Garden was developed in partnership with Jon Lessels landscaping, Binny Plants, Greenspace landscapes and 3 Rifles Battalion - who stepped in to donate sandbags to recreat the trench.

On Tuesday 31 May, we visited during the final stages of planting the garden. Veterans Pat Allen, Sarah Lloyd and Anne Maclean got a sneak peak of the planting, which has been blessed by blue skies. 

The focal point of the garden conjures up images of a 1915 trench warfare scene. Dense, dark colours and smoke feature to represent the tension, fear and anxiety felt by Allied soldiers on the Western Front during a poisonous gas attack. 

The boardwalk feature, supported by the transition from dark to light colours as well as sparse ground and destroyed woodland, to an abundance of foliage, represents the journey blinded soldiers took away from the horrors of the Western Front to a safe environment under the eventual care of Scottish War Blinded.

Ceramic poppies, will feature as a mark of respect to the fallen who never returned to the UK from World War One. 

The poppies were crafted by visually impaired veterans in our art workshop, who despite their loss of vision have produced beautiful finished pieces.

The Garden will be open to the public this Friday 3 -5 June at Gardening Scotland, Ingliston. Tickets to the event can be purchased here