Visit to Little Sparta, Dunsyre, the Pentlands

Thursday 15 August - 11:00am to 5:15pm
The next garden visit is to the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay set in the Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh. It was first planted 50 years ago and created out of the natural landscape, with trees, streams, bridges, ponds and paths and it includes 200 artworks, many of them carved with inscriptions. Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925 - 2006) was a Scottish poet, writer, artist and gardener who together with his wife created the garden from an old stone farm.

Stephanie writes: I have booked a coach which will take us to the car park   We then have to walk half a mile up a rough track to reach the garden.  It's not too steep but it IS a rough surface so thick-soled shoes are necessary.  I have asked for a conducted tour by the head gardener who combines a knowledge of horticulture and art.  There is no cafe or restaurant but there is one toilet. The garden opens at 12.30 on certain days of the week.  I found a rather nice hotel, the Robertson Arms Hotel at Carnwath, about 15 minutes from the garden.  I suggest we leave P C World car park in Stirling at 11 a.m. on Thursday 15 August in the Dochertys coach, have lunch in the hotel about 12.15 and then visit the garden from 2 until 4 or thereabouts and arrive back in Stirling about 5.15. At this stage I can only give you a rough idea of costs.  Entrance to the garden, including the tour, will be £12 per person, the cost of the coach will depend on the number of people who come along and I will let you know about lunch prices later. At this stage I would like to know who is interested in this visit.  Can you please e-mail me, Stephanie Tytler, at if you would like to come along.  Please don't e-mail Maureen because she would only have to forward it to me.  As soon as I know who wants to join us I will let you have exact costs and ask you to send a cheque to Isabel in the usual way.  I would like to hear from you as soon as possible.  You will appreciate that we need about 30 people to make the cost of the coach reasonable.