Horticulture highlighted at Holyrood as space for wellbeing

'My Green Spaces' exhibition blooms with MSPs' sanctuaries

31 October, 2023

Scotland's MSPs and staff of Holyrood showcase their own special sanctuaries as the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) host a 'My Green Spaces' exhibition at Holyrood this week. In collaboration with Christine Grahame MSP, Constituency Member for Midlothian South, Tweeddale, and Lauderdale, this eye-catching exhibition is taking place in the Members' Lobby from Tuesday, 31 October, to Thursday, 2 November, offering a unique glimpse into the gardens of Scotland's political leaders and dedicated workforce, celebrating Scotland's green beauty.

This exhibition celebrates the diversity of green spaces, whether a lush garden, a cosy balcony, a charming terrace, a flourishing allotment, a thriving house plant, or even a windowsill adorned with greenery. Entries were welcome from all, no matter the size of their green havens. Many entrants also included personal comments about what their green spaces meant to them, such as Monica Lennon MSP, who said, “Taking the time to notice flowers, plants and trees is a great way to slow the mind. Our garden is best enjoyed with a little help from Cuillin (the dog).” Sally Cowburn described her planting to attract pollinators, hedgehogs, frogs and insects and commented: “We are very lucky to share this beautiful space with so much wildlife.” And Gavin Dewar said, “Our wee balcony garden in Leith reminds me of the woods and mountains beyond the city. Motivation for hikes - and herbs for the kitchen.”​

In the spirit of friendly competition, five finalists were chosen, including an outstanding winner, which went to Scott McMurray who works for Evelyn Tweed MSP. He showed a before and after photo of his garden, which started as a lockdown project from complete gravel to be transformed into a relaxing garden.

Christine Grahame MSP said:

“It seemed hard to pick a winner until we saw the pictures from Scott McMurray. If anything shows the difference a garden can make, this one does, and it took covid to make this happen”


Photos showing the empty gravel garden then the transformed flower garden with lighting
Scott McMurray's winning garden


Runners Up included MSPs Clare Haughey, Alex Rowley and Brian Whittle.

The top three entries will also be featured in the Spring edition of the HTA's Inside Horticulture Magazine, giving these green paradises a spotlight for a broader audience to enjoy.

The 'My Green Spaces' exhibition provides an opportunity for MSPs and Holyrood staff to connect with Environmental Horticulture, all while celebrating the remarkable green spaces of Scotland. However, it isn't just about visual beauty, there is a serious message about the value of environmental horticulture and everyone visiting the Members’ Lobby will hear more about the HTA's Scottish Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy, explore valuable plant research documents, and even pick up packets of seeds for their future gardening endeavours.

The organiser of the exhibition, David Lydiat – HTA Public Affairs & Policy Manager, commented:

“I have been delighted to engage with MSPs on behalf of the Environmental Horticulture industry in Holyrood. We have also been supported on the stand by HTA members Stan Green, Helen MacDonald and Simon Fraser. We have been handing out information and encouraging politicians to visit their local HTA members to understand their businesses.  We know that flora can be a policy solution to many of the policy challenges the Scottish Government face and urge them to continue to utilise our Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy."

Tonight will see the next meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Gardening & Horticulture, with a warm welcome by Convenor Rachael Hamilton MSP. The agenda includes discussions on biodiversity, skills and work, and an Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy update.


Media Office