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Talk – ‘Tea Growing in Scotland’

6th February @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of growing Camellia sinensis var sinensis (tea) at 57 degrees N. Lat.

Speakers: Kate Elliott and Susie Walker-Munro

Kate and Susie will cover the complexities of growing tea in Scotland. They are two of a group of nine women who came together to form Tea Gardens of Scotland – their company now supplies the Rare Tea Counter at Fortnum and Mason.

This talk covers the suitability of our Scottish soils, light levels, and terroir for growing tea in Scotland. The pro’s and con’s of cuttings V seeds. Less is more, yield V plant health. Bringing on tea from seed – (poly tunnels V glasshouses). Transferring to the field, planting distances, mulch or not to mulch, irrigate or not to irrigate. Plant disease and pests. Dormancy and winter behaviours of Camellia sinensis var sinensis and finally a brief description of how you actually make tea from the leaf you pluck.

Kate Elliott: After a degree in Mediaeval History at St Andrews and a corporate career in London, Kate completed various RHS and garden design courses. She is now developing a 3 acre woodland garden on a windy slope in Fife where she also farms with her husband. The garden opens from time to time under Scotland’s Garden Scheme. Kate grows tea singlehandedly on a small scale and has raised several thousand tea plants from seed on site.

Susie Walker- Munro has been growing tea on their farm in Angus since 2007. In 2015 she proved the concept that beautiful tea can actually be made in Scotland with her own single estate tea Kinnettles Gold which she makes at their processing unit at Kinnettles Tea Garden. The tea is sold to Pekoe Tea in Edinburgh.
In 2016 the Tea Gardens of Scotland group hired glasshouses and run by Susie they produced 40,000 seedlings germinated from Nepali and Georgian seed, proving also that tea genuinely could be grown from seed in Scotland. From these plants the group went on to combine their leaf from their tea gardens, hence their Nine Ladies Dancing black tea, which is sold in Fortnum and Mason. She is a member of the RHS, but has still never had the chance to visit the Chelsea Flower show which for now has to remain on the bucket list as tea is an all consuming passion!

This season our talks will take place in-person only as we do not have the facility to live-stream them.  Where possible, we will record the talks and the recording will be made available on the members’ page of the website as soon after the talk as possible.

The talks will take place in the Lecture Theatre at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. All talks will begin at 7.30pm. Our talks are free and are open to non-members.  All we ask is that you make a small donation at the door or perhaps buy a raffle ticket if you can.  For those who have not attended a lecture at RBGE before, entry is via the main reception: 20a Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR (not far from the East Gate).


6th February
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Lecture Theatre, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20a Inverleith Row
Edinburgh, EH3 5LR United Kingdom
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