Gardening Hints & Tips

Advice and growing tips for our varied Scottish climate. The huge diversity of landscape, weather and light conditions make gardening in Scotland both a challenge and a delight.  We do experience all four seasons (sometimes all in one day) although in some parts of Scotland the timings of the seasons may feel different!  

Scroll down the page to download some of our fantastic information sheets – very useful if you are new to gardening or if you just want to brush up on a few things. We also have some handy videos.

Don’t miss the regular updates on activities and progress with fruit and vegetable growing from the Caley Demonstration Allotment in Edinburgh which feature on our blog page. 

Information Sheets


Summer Fruit Pruning


Winter Fruit Pruning

Hazel Catkins on the allotment

Hardwood Cuttings


Propagation of Herbaceous Perennials




Leaf Mould


Grow your own

Useful Videos

Plants for Scottish Gardens

When Ken Cox and Raoul Curtis-Machin started the research for their book ‘Garden Plants for Scotland’ they realised that the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Award of Garden Merit (AGM) was of little use to Scottish gardeners as it was too south-of-England orientated.  Scotland has a very varied climate that suits a huge variety of plants. There are many plants that struggle in Scotland, due to lack of heat, the winter wet or other factors. On the other hand, there are many that perform better in Scotland (e.g. Meconopsis, Trilliums and Tropaeolum speciosum.)

The most serious flaw in the system, from a Scottish perspective, was the then standard RHS H4, defined as “hardy throughout the British Isles”, but in reality, many plants were not reliably hardy in colder/inland gardens even in parts of England, and many more were tender in Scotland.  To help gardeners in Scotland they assembled an impressive group of Scottish horticultural expertise, to consider which plants should receive a Scottish Gardenplant award. Sometimes there was agreement, sometimes not. 500 plants were awarded the Scottish Gardenplant Award. It is not a definitive list (and there will be new varieties that should be considered) but it is a useful list to point you in the direction of the most reliable, tried and tested garden plants that are the best of their type for Scottish gardens.

Reading Material

There are a variety of books and websites that will give you information on different aspects of growing. Some useful books which address Scotland’s growing conditions include:

  • Fruit and Vegetables for Scotland, Ken Cox and Caroline Beaton ( 2012)
  • Growing your own vegetables, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2012)
  • Garden Plants for Scotland, Ken Cox and Raoul Curtis-Machin (May 2008)(2nd Edition 2015).

For those of you interested in growing fruit trees, the online pollination checker from Ashridge Nurseries is an  excellent and easy to use tool  which will ensure you find the correct pollination partner for your tree.

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