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Shopper’s Diary: Secret Herb Garden in Scotland

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Shopper’s Diary: Secret Herb Garden in Scotland

June 28, 2016

“A big glasshouse stuffed full of flowers, herbs, cake, and vintage furniture— well, that’s my idea of paradise,” writes blogger Jen Chillingsworth of Little-Birdie.

Ours too. So we asked Jen if we could tag along with her to Scotland to visit Secret Herb Garden, which opened in 2014 in the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh.

There we found a glasshouse full of fragrant potted herbs for sale; a café that serves quiche for lunch (and perhaps more important—fresh-baked cakes); and an adjacent shop featuring one-of-a-kind vintage furniture, garden tools, and baked goods to go (a slice of strawberry and basil cake made with herbs grown in the garden is £2.50).

Photography by Jen Chillingsworth.

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Above: “One of the first things you see when you arrive is the old VW Beetle in the corner, boot and bonnet up, herbs and flowers tumbling out of both,” says Jen.

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Above: Inside the Volkswagen plants grow on the seats as well. “The driver’s door is unlocked and you can nestle in amongst the greenery,” says Jen.

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Above: Owners Hamish Martin and Liberty Kidd have more than seven acres of herbs, flowers, fruits, and fledgling orchard.  Plus honeybees.

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Above: In the café, food is served on enamelware and you can choose to eat in the café, or go take a seat in the glasshouse and have lunch there,” says Jen. “We ate in amongst the herbs and flowers.”

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Above: “I must admit that as soon as I entered the cafe and saw the cakes I was in baking heaven,” says Jen. “But I managed to resist the cakes as I was keen to try the vegetable quiche with the secret herby salad.”

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Above: The glasshouse is designed to encourage wandering. “Paths divide seating areas, each with a selection of vintage and rustic furniture, surrounded by perennials, herbs and climbers,” says Jen.

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Above: A group of artists were sitting on two overstuffed sofas surrounded by sunflowers they were painting. “I managed to grab a quick shot whilst they went to lunch, although they’d left all their jackets and equipment,” says Jen.

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Above: The owners’ goal: “We wish the Secret Herb Garden to be a place where people can ‘open the door to the magic of herbs’.”

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Above: Martin and Kidd grow more than 500 different varieties of herbs in the garden.

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Above: For sale: potted herbs and vintage garden accessories.

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Above: One-of-a-kind vintage garden tools on display.

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Above: “There is a room devoted to vintage finds for sale, with lots of beautiful baskets, larder cupboards, and galvanized watering cans,” says Jen.

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Above: Secret Herb Garden also runs a school, offering classes in beekeeping, herbal medicine, and yoga.

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Above: The idea for Secret Herb Garden was born, the owners say, on a walk they took together in 2011. At that time, Kidd was a banker and Martin a wine merchant: “On a first date, dog walking, the seeds were sown for a café and shop full of charm.”


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Above: Secret Herb Garden also may be rented for weddings or other events. For more information, see Secret Herb Garden.

For more photos and the story of Jen’s visit to Secret Herb Garden while she was traveling in Scotland, see Little-Birdie.

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