Courtyard jungle in Edinburgh crowned Garden of the Year by BBC Gardeners' World magazine

Wednesday 25 October, 2023

An urban-jungle garden, nestled in the heart of Edinburgh, Scotland, has been named the Judges’ Choice winner in BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine’s annual Gardens of the Year Awards 2023.

With an array of carefully curated plant species and a thoughtfully designed layout, Clive Johnson-Cooper’s garden in Edinburgh was the chosen winner from almost 1,000 entries by expert judges including: TV gardening presenter and Gardeners’ World magazine columnist, Alan Titchmarsh; BBC Gardeners’ World TV presenter, Arit Anderson; multi-award-winning garden designer, television presenter, journalist and author, Ann-Marie Powell; Yeo Valley Organic Farm’s head gardener, Sarah Mead; BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Editor, Kevin Smith, and last year’s winning gardeners.

When Clive moved into the home in 2005, there was no garden. Clive transformed a makeshift extension, creating an outdoor space and the small Scottish courtyard is now a serene and tranquil oasis, just streets away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh city centre.

This year’s entries to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Gardens of the Year 2023 competition revealed new trends influencing gardeners’ designs, including a notable shift towards gardening in more compact spaces, with a surge in creativity in the use of diverse foliage and leaves. The winning Scottish garden is a tapestry of leaves of different sizes, shapes and textures, with all the plants expertly chosen, positioned and woven together.

The Gardens of the Year judges loved Clive’s sophisticated garden and unanimously agreed that it should be the 2023 Judges’ Choice.

Arit Anderson commented: “I love the views from both the balcony and bedroom, what a wonderful outlook to wake up to. He’s considered the views from both parts of his house. The fact that he’s managed to create a garden here is great.”

Alan Titchmarsh commented: “This is very good. He’s really thought about the scale of the garden and also the texture created by the foliage. He’s brought the garden together very successfully. And I love the cheeky metal signs.”

BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine’s Editor, Kevin Smith, adds: “Clive’s garden proves that you don’t need a lot of space to create a peaceful garden. It’s simple, mostly green, but really beautiful. The mix of different plants makes it feel like a small jungle in the city, and the climbing plants make the space seem bigger. It’s very calming, even in the middle of the busy city. It’s a challenge to get the planting just right in such a small space, but Clive has done an impressive job.”

Clive’s garden is now also entered into BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine’s People’s Choice Award, alongside seven other gardens who made the final shortlist, including:

·         Lyn Buller, Kent

·         Oliver Hymans, London

·         Irene Berry, Scottish Borders

·         Dionne Sambrook, Warwickshire

·         Andy Spray, Leicester

·         Simon Mabury, Leeds

·         Helen Maxwell, Carmarthenshire

All the shortlisted gardens can be found on and inside the November issue of BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.