Dorothy Graham Robertson was born in Perth in 1898. She married John Renton in 1922, after which they bought Barnhill Orchard, Perth. They began to build a house, Branklyn, and laid out new gardens. Detailed notebooks were kept of works at the gardens, a feature of which was the use of new plants from distant locations. Most plants were grown from seed collected from China, Tibet and Bhutan. Renton won the Scottish Rock Garden Club Forrest medal in 1934, 1936, 1937 and 1950. She gained the Royal Horticultural Society Veitch memorial medal in 1954 for her work with the introduction of new plants.
The first of three rock gardens was created in 1925. Dorothy Renton and her husband were founder members of the Alpine Garden Society in 1929. Renton was also an early proponent of peat-wall planting. The gardens at Branklyn were created from the basis of function, as the layout was designed for the particular needs of the plants being grown. However, Renton was also skilled in laying out new species together in a complementary way.
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