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House & Home
An Exotic Garden In A
British Climate?
Robbie Burns
Putting together a jungle inspired garden in a country where rain falls throughout Burns Night is
the year and frosts hit at the most unexpected times isn’t the easiest thing to do. effectively known
Indeed if you’re a fair weather gardener all the application of fleece jackets and as a second
bringing plants inside is probably a little too much to ask. So why not use a little national day in
imagination to put a hint of the tropics in to your garden without giving yourself a Scotland and is a
perennial headache. celebration of the
life and works of
Exotic planting schemes Robert Burns.
don’t have to include Robert Burns is
difficult to look after widely seen as the
banana plants or national poet of
expensive, hard to get Scotland, famously
hold of coffee bushes. known for his
In fact it’s very easy to poem and song
adapt your traditional “Auld Lang Syne”
British garden to give a which literally
colourful, exotic look by means “Old Long
adding in vibrant plants Since”, which is
boasting bright colours, commonly sung
bold shapes or worldwide at
unexpected foliage. Hogmanay and
Even dahlias such as the other New Year
ever popular Bishop of celebrations.
Llandaff can bring a The first Burns
touch of sunshine to a garden filled with your usual cottage favourites. Bright, Suppers were held
large canna lilies are increasingly easy to get hold of and less difficult to care for in Ayrshire by Burns’ friends on the anniversary of his death on July 21st
than some of their sister plants. They combine easily with chintzier plants to give a 1796 however Burns Night is now traditionally celebrated with a Burns
wickedly unexpected contrast which will give your garden real personality. Supper on January 25th, Robert Burns’ birthday. Regarded as the pioneer
of the Romantic Movement within poetry he is seen as a Scottish cultural
When looking for the exotic don’t feel confined to the glossy, dark green large icon, writing both in the Scots language and often in English allowing his
leaves of jungle plants. There are plenty of Mediterranean plants which work well pieces to be appreciated by a worldwide audience.
in the British garden, used as they are to a less unforgivingly humid climate. Burns night is traditionally celebrated with a Burns Supper. A Burns Night
Lavenders, rosemarys, Hungarian acanthus and verbenas are becoming typical of Supper can be either an informal or formal event that almost always
the modern UK garden but give off the impression of something a little more includes whisky and haggis and a few of Burns’ poems. The more formal
unusual – direct from the South of France perhaps. Likewise though a events include specific speeches such as the “Selkirk Grace”, and
bougainvillea may take a little extra work, placed against a south facing wall it can “Address To a Haggis” which leads to the haggis being cut open and an
evoke memories of holidays in Spain “Immortal Memory” speech whereby Burns’ life and poetry are
or Italy. remembered. The night then concludes with everyone being asked to
stand, hold hands and sing “Auld Lang Syne”.
While concern over water consumption Burns night is a time where people everywhere can celebrate with either a
grows and less of us find time to traditional Burns Night supper or a quiet night appreciating some of
spend tending a garden, dry gravel Scotland’s best poetry.
gardens are becoming more and more
popular. In place of a lawn swathes of
stones are home to grasses, bamboos,
euphorbias, sedums and eryngium,
Auld Lang Syne – Burns’ Original Scots Verse
plants which need little water and
Should auld acquaintance be and pou’d the gowans fine ;
minimal care. This kind of exotic
forgot, But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
gardening can sit well with the
and never brought to mind ? sin’ auld lang syne.
gardener concerned over a changing
Should auld acquaintance be
climate. A real gravel garden offers a
planting matter which is dry to begin
and auld lang syne ?
with – sandy or gravely – rather than
simply adding a mulch of gravel to an
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
existing bed.
CHORUS: frae morning sun till dine ;
For auld lang syne, my dear,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Perhaps the simplest way to add a for auld lang syne,
sin’ auld lang syne.
touch of exotica to the garden is with we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
bulbs which can easily be spread for auld lang syne.
among existing plants or distributed
about the patio in pots. Peruvian
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
daffodils, gloriosa lilies and naked
And surely ye’ll be your pint- And gies a hand o’ thine !
ladies (amaryllis belladonna) are all
stoup !
safe bets for colour and form. Or for
And surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-
the very simplest exotic garden simply
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness
plant a number of pots with large
for auld lang syne.
bamboos, ferns and miscanthus
for auld lang syne.
which, when grouped in a garden look
striking and are easily moved to a
sheltered spot in colder weather.
We twa hae run about the braes,
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