Alan also has extensive experience in landscaping. He created the concept for the Inverness Botanical Garden (Formally the Inverness Floral Hall and Demonstration Gardens) in consultation with the council’s architects. The project was designed to create a horticultural oasis in the heart of the council’s plant nurseries. The initial concept was to create an indoor “winter garden” that could sustain horticultural excellence and provide a demonstration shop window for aspiring horticulturalists.
Alan applied to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to secure the initial funding to create the main greenhouse structure. This was followed by landscaping and creating external demonstration gardens immediately surrounding the glasshouse.
Phase 2 saw the creation of the cacti house inspired by the donation of a comprehensive cacti collection from a former council employee. For this, an existing greenhouse was excavated, creating the illusion of depth and height and the cacti house and floral hall now sit alongside one another.
It quickly became apparent that there was a need to train young people in horticultural skills based in Inverness, rather than having to travel further south. Another grant application was made to the European Social Fund to create the Horticultural Training Unit; a teaching and training resource based at the nurseries. The entire project was funded by European grand aid and has now evolved into a major tourist attraction in Inverness. This project is something that has been described by many as a masterpiece of landscaping.