As part of the horticultural practices module of the HND/BSc in Horticulture with Plantsmanship at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Scottish Agricultural College, first year students are each required to design, plant and maintain a plot that includes at least 40% vegetables (these are specified by the course tutor) on which they are assessed at the end of June.

In addition to these individual plots and also as part of the horticultural practices module, the first years were assigned to work in teams to design either a colour-themed border planting (this bed), or an informal potager-style planting scheme (in an adjacent area of the demonstration garden, near the student individual plots). As well as deciding on the overall design and choice of species to grow, each team needed to decide how many plants they would need to fill their designated area.

The brief outlined two colour themes – lime green and purple, and blood red and gold – both striking combinations. The design, propagation and planting for the large segment of this colour-themed border were undertaken by nine students. The smaller three segments of this ‘globe’ bed were designed and planted by a first-year apprentice. All of the plants, as in the students’ assessed plots, were grown from seed using organic methods.

The scheme includes a variety of edible and ornamental species:

Main segment

Anethum graveolens (dill)
Atriplex hortensis (orache, red) ‘Red Plume’
Beta vulgaris (beetroot) ‘Bull’s Blood’
Brassica oleracea var. acephala (kale, red and green) ‘Redbor’ and ‘Winterbor’
Cerinthe major (honeywort) ‘Purpurascens’
Hordeum jubatum (foxtail barley)
Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea) ‘Matucana’ and ‘Midnight’
Limonium sinuatum (statice) ‘Purple Attraction’
Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’
Ocimum basilicum (basil, red)
Pennisetum villosum (fountain grass) ‘Cream Falls’
Scabiosa ‘Ace of Spades’
Verbena bonariensis

Smaller segments (looking left to right)

Centaurea cyanus (cornflower) ‘Blue Boy’
Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’
Foeniculum vulgare (fennel, bronze) ‘Sweet Bronze’
Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’
Beta vulgaris ‘Bull’s Blood’
Pennisetum villosum ‘Cream Falls’
Scabiosa ‘Ace of Spades’
Anethum graveolens
Centaurea cyanus
‘Blue Boy’
Foeniculum vulgare ‘Sweet Bronze’
Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’