Ainslie Place Garden Consultation Report

Ainslie Place Garden Consultation Report: May 2022

At the Ainslie Place workshop on 3 April, there was broad agreement amongst those participating for areas of low maintenance shrub/herbaceous planting to be introduced in four beds in the outer grass border.  Three participating feuars agreed and were appointed to form a committee to develop proposals, along with the gardeners and the horticulture sub-committee.  This report sets out that Committee’s proposals and these form part of the AGM resolution that:

It is proposed that the planting proposals contained in the report produced following the Ainslie Place Garden consultation and displayed on the Moray Feu website and on the Moray Place notice board, be approved for implementation.

Report by the consultation committee

The concept of the oval beds in the outer grass border is based on:

  • Oval beds reflecting the oval shape of the gardens .
  • Providing some visual screening from passing traffic for garden users.
  • Blocking views of traffic across the gardens from the west side.
  • Maintaining many sight-lines into and from the garden, when compared to a hedge. A hedge was not favoured at the consultation meeting (and is not considered advisable by the gardeners due to the extent of the foundations of the wall supporting the perimeter railings).
  • Providing some pollution absorption.
  • Introducing species that are bee, bird and butterfly friendly.
  • Introducing colour at different seasons. There is already much admired spring colour from the crocuses, daffodils, snowdrops and flowering cherries.
  • Keeping the mechanical grass cutting pathways gently curved to avoid requiring extra time.

These ideas were further informed and developed from a number of site visits and discussions between all participating feuars, the horticulture sub-committee and the gardeners. From these discussions it is noted and proposed that:

  1. There are up to six suitable bed locations, being approximately opposite numbers 1, 4, 11, 17, 23 and 25.  These have been selected as locations with good overhead light, having regard to the irregular spacing of both the small and the mature trees in the outer ring.  Some beds would incorporate an existing small tree.
  • These beds to be typically between 6 to 7 meters in length, although there is scope for those outside numbers 1 and 11 to be longer. Their width to be determined by the gardeners and adapted as required for ease of grass cutting.
  • These beds to be planted with a selection of larger and smaller shrubs, examples of which are described in the Appendix.
  • The existing spring flowering cherry blossom trees are strikingly attractive, such that more of the same or other small flowering trees, such as laburnum or hawthorn, could be located into some of the proposed new beds.
  • Additional benefits were identified of: partial view blocking of traffic,  pollution absorption and overall balance, if the planting of single evergreen larger specimen shrubs between some of the mature trees was included.
  • The very successful massed planting of crocus in the central roundel be mirrored by massed daffodil planting in the outer ring grass.
  • The four white-painted metal benches be provided with permanent locations on hard standing alongside the inner ring path, such that these no longer need to be moved for grass cutting, which narrows the paths. There could be small scale planting of small fragrant shrubs, where the lawn is shaped to accommodate the fixed locations.
  • This be implemented during the winter of 2022 (and the following winter if necessary), as this is a less busy time for our gardeners and also allows most of the planting to be purchased “bare root”, which is significantly less expensive.
  • Cost itself should not be a deciding factor, as it is anticipated that cost of implementation will relatively low at under £2k and is provided for in the existing budgeting.

For and on behalf of the Ainslie Place Gardens Consultation Committee

 and the Gardens Management Committee EJ/GR/PL/31 May 2022

Image 1
Current Ainslie Garden


Plant Choices for the proposed beds

1. A limited range of larger and smaller shrubs, chosen for year-round seasonal interest. Some shrubs repeated across several beds. This list of  potential examples of larger and smaller shrubs is drawn from RHS information and tailored to our local growing conditions by reference to Garden Plants for Scotland by Kenneth Cox and Roaul Curtis-Machin.

2. The shrubs will be well spaced out in the beds until they grow. Initially, at least, interplant with herbaceous perennials and spring bulbs, sympathetic to the shrubs.  More like woodland geraniums and hellebores than delphiniums! Ground cover planting would aim to suppress weed growth. No use will be made of annual bedding plants.

3. Avoid high maintenance shrubs and perennials, such as those requiring a lot of annual intervention.

4. Mainly evergreen, but possibly with some deciduous for extra colour and interest.

Larger Flowering Shrubs – typically +/- 30-45 cm of perimeter fence height
SpringSummerAutumnWinter and Foliage
a) Evergreen
Berberis darwinii Pieris Rhodedendron   b) Deciduous Berberis Cornus Cytisus Deutzia Forsythia
Viburnum × burkwoodii
a) Evergreen
Hypericum ‘Hidcote’ Osmanthus “Goshiki”   b) Deciduous
Rosa (many shrub roses)
Spiraea nipponia “Snowmound”
Syringa Viburnum plicatum
a) Evergreen
Viburnum davidii   b) Deciduous
Rosa (various shrub roses)
a) Evergreen
Mahonia   b) Deciduous
Lonicera fragrantissima “Winter Beauty”
  Foliage effect (Deciduous)
Cotinus coggygria “Young Lady”
Smaller Flowering Shrubs – typically 60-100 cm height
SpringSummerAutumnWinter and Foliage
a) Evergreen Berberis (various) Skimmia japonica   b) Deciduous
Berberis thunbergii Berberis wilsoniae
Salix hastata
a) Evergreen
Hebe “James Stirling”   b) Deciduous
Potentilla fruticosa
Spiraea japonica
a) Evergreen
Hebe “Autumn Glory”   b) Deciduous
Potentilla fruticosa
Rosa (various shrub roses)
 a) Evergreen Euonymus fortunei
Sarcococca hookeriana Skimmia japonica   Foliage effect  (Deciduous) Acer Dissectum Garnet