Scottish distillers Highland Boundary have made a feature of native botanicals in their spirits, but have also put their money where their mouth is on-farm too, with a number of 'rewilding' initiatives to encourage biodiversity on their land.

Over the past 12 years at Kirklandbank Farm, Alyth, near Blairgowrie, Highland Boundary has created a wildlife pond which is now thriving with aquatic and wetland plants, and associated insects and animals, and planted several wildflower meadow areas with local seeds sourced from Scotia Seeds in Angus.

They have planted new hedgerow areas with common species such as blackthorn trees, from which they will harvest sloe berries in the years to come, as the hedges provide a welcoming place for local wildlife to call home all year round.

In this time, tree numbers on the farm have been increased five-fold and the number of different wild plant species has been trebled from 54 to 162, vastly increasing the biodiversity on the farm.

There has also been great progress in Kirklandbank's 'apothecary garden', growing medicinal herbs and plants for traditional healing remedies. The team have been planting a range of apothecary plants and native Scottish species, some well-known such as borage and sweet violet and some that are rare in the wild, which are being used in ongoing research and development of plant-based flavours and products.

Distiller and founder, Dr Marian Bruce, has used her scientific background to research and create Scottish spirits that showcase the flavours of wild Scotland, creating remarkable multi-award-winning spirits aimed at re-connecting people with the native, natural flavours of Scotland and their cultural traditions.

Renowned as wild flavour innovators, Highland Boundary has drawn on ancient recipes and ethno-botanical uses of Scotland’s flora, then used innovative distilling and extraction techniques to capture nature’s wild flavours from which they create contemporary spirits and exquisite wild cocktails.

Dr Bruce is helped by a small and passionate team, who care about the environment; harvest with great care and sustainably; only use recyclable materials in their bottling and packaging; and have solar-PV and biomass energy sources for their business.

The business' name comes from its location – the distillery sits on the geological feature called the Highland Boundary Fault. This is the dividing line between the Highlands and lowlands of Scotland – appropriate because their spirits are made using botanicals collected in the forests of the Highlands and grain spirit from cereals grown in lowlands.

But not wanting to hide all this tasty Scottish biodiversity under a Blairgowrie bush, the company has this year taken itself south to support two gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show 2022.

Partnering with Jane Porter, designer of the 'Sill Garden' at Chelsea, Highland Boundary concocted the 'Still Garden Glee' cocktail, which celebrates the tradition of distilling and the wild flavours of Scotland.

“The Still Garden Glee cocktail celebrates the current distilling renaissance in Scotland and showcases the flavours from the wild plants in the landscape that inspired Jane’s design," said Dr Bruce. "We’ve loved collaborating with Jane on her garden and are delighted to help her celebrate here at Chelsea.”

Cocktail: Still Garden Glee

Larch & Honeysuckle Wild Scottish Spirit

Scot’s Pine syrup

Rowan tincture

Garnished with larch needles

As founding members of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, Highland Boundary are keen to promote the resilience that biodiversity brings to our countryside, so also celebrated the 'Rewilding Britain Landscape' garden, designed by Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt, which includes a whole ecosystem of native plant species, trees and shrubs and a carefully crafted beaver dam (without the beaver!).

Marian explained: “Beavers are keystone species in the British landscape and the recent re-introduction of this species across the UK ensures that they are now able to do their work as ecosystem engineers, creating wetland habitats that benefit a multitude of insect, amphibian and fish species as well as wetland plants.”

So the 'Wild Landscape' cocktail features one of the beavers' favourite trees, the birch, along with hawthorn and honeysuckle syrups and is garnished with sweet woodruff, an aromatic woodland flower – species that are all present in the garden.

Cocktail: Wild Landscape

Birch & Elderflower Wild Scottish Spirit

Hawthorn Flower and Berry syrup

Honeysuckle syrup

Garnished with sweet woodruff