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Welcome To The Samye Ling Garden

The Samye Ling Tibetan Centre is set among the rolling hills of the Scottish borders. It was established in 1967 and is administered by the Rokpa Trust.  The Garden comprises some two acres of land within the extensive grounds of the Monastery nestling in between the log cabins along the riverbank and the guesthouse. It is comparable to an old fashioned Victorian kitchen garden typically found at a country house or even the stately home of Lord and Lady Esk? Throughout this time it has continued to provide mountains of fresh organic produce for the kitchens, the local community and visitors.

The garden is really still in its infancy, yet solid foundations have been laid for the future. There has been the gradual transition from an open agricultural plot to a block of allotments and now finally to a traditional kitchen garden. It is completely enclosed by thick hedgerows and stout walls, whilst footpaths wind their way through a number of smaller gardens comprising vegetable plots, herbs, and mixed borders of fruits and flowers. There are workshops and potting sheds, greenhouses and cold frames, a shop, a library and an information centre. The garden has an undeniable rough and ready feel to it; the hedgerows can be rather unruly and the weeds seem to take hold very quickly, but visitors comment it does have an austere charm with a degree of magnificence perhaps in harmony with the bleak surroundings.

This has been accomplished by a small team of dedicated volunteers and hundreds of willing helpers who have all joined in and contributed to the experience. The project funds itself with the sales of fresh produce and potted plants, delivering horticultural training courses, applying for grants and the grateful receipt of donations. At 700 feet above sea level and under generally grey skies this remote area is more suited to woodland gardening but with some local knowledge and a bit of luck it’s surprising what is possible. 
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REFLECTIONS ON 2016


Last year after 45 years loyal service the Old Greenhouse was finally dismantled. We always knew this day would come but it still feels strange to walk down the path and find a huge expanse of open ground where the old place used to stand. In the distance the black Back Shed has now appeared in its splendour, perfectly framed by a row of lofty conifers behind. The sheer width of the plot was curiously unexpected stretching from the flower garden bench to the Old Shed. The plan now is to build a pair of smaller greenhouses (10 x 4 yards) with a grass quadrangle in the middle.

Weather wise it wasn’t a great year. The mild winter was followed by a chilly spring with the first week of June seeing such a cold easterly breeze, that it knocked the midges clean off their stroke and they never really recovered, which was an unexpected bonus. The summer was fairly nondescript but the autumn was the finest in living memory. If global warming means trading a poor summer for a glorious autumn and mild winter then maybe we’d settle for that?