Design recalls one of Scotland’s important historical stories
The garden entitled “Hortus homicida” was designed and built by SRUC 2nd year garden design students. Translated into English, “Hortus homicida” means “garden killer”. The design commemorates the murder of Lord Darnley 450 years ago. Lord Darnley was husband to Mary Queen of Scots and his death changed the course of our history.
The garden features were used to tell the story of Lord Darnley’s death – a mystery that has never been solved.
Lord Darnley was lodging in the Kirk o’ Field in Edinburgh Old Town when on 10th February 1567, an enormous explosion reduced the building to rubble. The bodies of Lord Darnley and his groom were found, not in the remains of the Kirk o’ Field, but in the garden. Both of the men were wearing their nightgowns and there was a single dagger between them. Also in the garden were a chair and a length of rope. Had the men been warned of the explosion and climbed out of a window? Were they intercepted in the garden and strangled? To this day, nobody has unravelled the mystery.
In what was a fantastic result for the students the SRUC’s garden used materials and plants available in Tudor times. They also included clues so that visitors could draw their own conclusions as to what happened that night.
Why use wild flowers in this garden?
Plants in the garden would have been known to Tudor-time scots. A wildflower meadow, like the one created using Meadowmat would have been commonplace.
Meadowmat is normally rolled up for transport however to prepare it for the show it spent some time in the SRUC grounds being grown. The plants are quite tall and so were transported flat to avoid crushing.