Garden featuring Yell stone wins gold at Chelsea

A garden which features walls built using stone from Yell has won a gold award at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Stone from Yell features in the Motor Neurone Disease Association's gold-winning garden.
Stone from Yell features in the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s gold-winning garden.

Burravoe dyker Alan Smiles transported 20 tonnes of Lewisian gneiss stone from the island to London and set about constructing the garden with his son Karl for the Motor Neurone Disease Association’s entry in the show, the ‘Hebridean Weavers’ Garden’.

Today’s gold award can be added to previous Chelsea visits which netted impressive gold and bronze awards for the charity’s design and final layouts.

Martin Anderson, associate founder of the MNDA, said: “Set in the 1950s, the garden reflects the remoteness and bleakness of the islands but also features the many wild flowers prolific in the summer months.

“The artisan imagined to be living in the Black House weaves Harris tweed using natural dyes from plant materials grown in the garden or collected from around the island.”

The stone for the old Lewis Black House façade was planned to come from the isle of Lewis but rising transport costs meant the charity was struggling to bring the garden entry in on budget.


Martin has been a regular visitor to Shetland for many years and keeps in touch with folk throughout the isles, which is how he first came up with the idea for the Shetland Croft House Garden entry which won a gold medal at Chelsea in 2008.


Add Your Comment

    • May 21st, 2013 15:59

    Congratulations to Alan and Karl. The garden was shown on television last night and the stonework looked fantastic.

    Alan Skinner
    New House

  • Liz Nelson MBE

    • May 23rd, 2013 8:41

    Alan and Karl, very many congratulations. It was just super seeing the garden in TV most days and what a lovely pretty site with all the stone work.
    I very much hope everyone votes for you to win the main award. just go to and vote for our MND Garden by Friday morning and hope we win another big prize. Fantastic for awareness.
    Thank you both so very much for all your hard work and for helping the Association to have a garden done for us which has won a Gold Medal and hope you get more gold’s before the end of the week. Liz Nelson MBE AV for West Dorset Branch

  • Derek Taylor

    • June 11th, 2019 15:10

    Well done Alan and Karl. Leith is proud of you.



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