Dorothy Renton, née Robertson, was born in 1898, in Perth. She subsequently grew up in Edinburgh, but it was her return to her home city with her new husband, John Renton, in 1922, that would see her begin her life’s great achievement.
The pair bought two acres of land known as Barnhill Orchard, for their new house – which would be called Branklyn – and began their journey to creating Branklyn Garden.
Designed for the particular needs of the plants being grown, John took the lead on layout, allowing Dorothy, the skilled botanist and horticulturist, to create a spectacular array of unusual plants.
Sourcing Asian seeds native to Tibet, Bhutan and China, she developed a garden that would be heralded as ‘the two finest acres of private garden in the country.’
In 1954, Dorothy won the Veitch Memorial Medal for her commitment to introducing and nurturing new plants.
Dorothy died in 1966 closely followed by John in 1967, after which the house went into national ownership.