Site history

The Hidden Gardens opened in June 2003 on the site of the old Copelawhill Tram Works. Through an eighteen month period of development and design led by Glasgow based arts organisation nva and landscape architects City Design Co-operative, the Gardens transformed what had previously been a 5000 square metre derelict brownfield site into a peaceful haven.

Garden design and planting

The Hidden Gardens has been designed to reveal the specific history of this site and how its usage has altered over time. The north to south borders echo the layout of the site when it was a tree nursery in the 1800’s, whilst the retained tram lines and the chimney reflect its industrial past.

The Garden has also been strongly influenced by a range of horticultural and cultural traditions, both Celtic and Asian. This is reflected in the organisations of routes and spaces, and in the choice of plants.

In the old factory floor, similar species of native and exotic trees are planted together in blocks to highlight their common and unique qualities. Pines, rowans and hawthorns of both Scottish and Asian origin are planted side by side.

The square route of Caithness stone that delineates the front area of the Gardens echoes sacred paths around hills, stupas, temples, mosques and monasteries.

Plants significant to different cultures and belief systems occur throughout the Gardens. Bamboos, rowans, magnolias, hazels, winter flowering plum trees were all suggested as cornerstones of the planting scheme by local people.

Within the central open space a Gingko Biloba tree is planted. Gingko Biloba grew worldwide some 160 million years ago, including in Scotland. It is therefore both exotic and native. The Gingko, now virtually extinct in the wild, exists here as a monument to common origins. It is planted on top of three stones from the summit of Mount Sinai, a place sacred to Islam, Christianity and Judaism.