The Borders

‘I love twigs’: botanical painter Emma Tennant interviewed

Hermitage, where the heel of Roxburghshire kicks into the once-lawless Debatable Lands, seems an unlikely place to find a botanical artist. It’s hard to make anything grow here, let alone an exhibition-load of rare and sometimes exotic plants. Lorded over by Hermitage Castle, a menacing hulk of medieval brutalism described by George MacDonald Fraser as ‘shouting “sod off” in stone’, this is a remote, rarely visited stretch of the border. Once the playground of reivers, and the graveyard of their victims, today it’s a land of sheep farming, forestry plantations and cruel May frosts. But there, hunkered against the wind in the foot of the Hermitage valley, is the studio