A first for Scotland as shop for underwater gardening opens
Store is first in the country dedicated to the Japanese art of aquascaping
A Courier Country duo have opened up Scotland’s first shop dedicated to an underwater art form.
Rowan Woods and James Richmond opened the doors of The Aquatic Gardens, which specialises in aquascaping, on Castle Street, Tayport.
Mr Woods said he turned to the art form – which is essentially underwater gardening – as a means of coping with depression and seasonal affective disorder following the death of his original business partner and best friend, Connor Craig, in March 2016.
The Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design student died aged 23.
Aquascaping is the craft of arranging aquatic plants, rocks, stones, cave work and driftwood in an aquarium, giving fish a natural environment, free of plastic ornaments, to thrive in.
The art form started in Japan and has become increasingly popular across the UK.
The Aquatic Gardens in Tayport is the first shop of its kind in Scotland and sells all the plants, tools and supplies needed for those who are involved in the practice, or would like to get started.
Mr Woods and Mr Richmond previously ran a pet supplies store in Dundee.
Mr Woods said: “Aquascaping has become quite popular in the UK.
“I find it therapeutic. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder, and there has been a lot of documentation about the therapeutic effects of aquariums.
“When we started out as a pet supply shop, we got more and more interested in aquascaping. People are tending to lean towards really natural-looking aquariums, more natural environments.
“It is much more therapeutic to see an animal in its natural environment.
“We don’t use as many chemicals. It is all about a closed system using the natural world as an inspiration. We don’t have plastic plants – we use real, natural environments.
“It is an art form. You create contained ecosystems where the plants are happy and the fish are happy.
“You don’t have to do as much as you would in a normal aquarium. You can go a month without a water change.
“Connor and I started the business, and a picture of him will be up in the shop. He was my best friend.
“Aquascaping helps me to remove myself from the stresses of the modern world. It is an escape, a very good escape. My work is what keeps me sane.
“Connor used to always tell me to do what I enjoy.”
The shop officially opened on Saturday, with the community invited along to view a 6ft aquascape exhibition, depicting the Tentsmuir coastline, which was specially made to mark the occasion.
The details of the first ever Scottish aquascaping competition were revealed at the event, which also saw two workshops take place.
It helps me to remove myself from the stresses of modern life. It is an escape, a very good escape. My work keeps me sane
James Richmond, left, and Rowan Woods hope to help others discover the Japanese art form.