Explorers Garden Pitlochry – Seating/viewing area
Nestled between the A9 and the River Tummel, close to Pitlochry Dam is the tranquil haven that hosts Scotland’s Explorers Garden. A facility dedicated to celebrating the work of the explorers, botanists and plant collectors that traveled to the four corners of the world in search of new and exciting species of plants, the results of which is reflected in the way our gardens look today.
With an emphasis on creatively bringing the story of these heroes lives and adventures to a wider audience the garden is a fascinating mix of interpretation, exotic planting, architecture and art.
In 2009 Julia Corden, Explorers Garden Manager invited me to come up with some designs for an area dedicated to the Mecanopsis, Himalayan Poppy. Situated high up in the site it offers up an ideal spot to create a viewing point over other areas of the garden, across the River Tummel culminating in a view of the peak of Ben Vrackie standing high over Pitlochry – on a clear day!
Dry stone walls are used throughout the garden and was an obvious choice of material to form the structure of the viewing area. I was keen that the walls I would construct were distinctive in their layout and shape to give them an individuality from other areas of the site. Inspired by the poppy I created a flower shaped area for the viewpoint. Constructed using a ‘mixed’ stone from a local quarry the walls have a very solid rugged texture. Built totally ‘dry’ no mortar, there is an interesting and varied range of stones and sizes. The Coping stones used are especially large and heavy but they add a really strong defining line to the form of the dyke which undulates up and down and in and out to add interest.
With the work being undertaken over the winter months of 2009 -2010 working conditions were at times ‘challenging’ – i.e. rain, mud, snow, ice, rain, mud etc. Despite these unpleasantries it was all in all a very pleasant job, beautiful location an interested client and no problems that weren’t overcome.