Team talk – Meet Sarah

Sarah is one of the new recruits to the team at The Green Room. Here she’s tells us all about her love of gardening!

What attracted you to a career in horticulture?

I realised my “flow state” is when I’m outside pottering in the garden, tending to plants, propagating, sowing seeds, learning about pests, disease, beneficial insects, companion plants etc. On days off I am outside in my garden first thing in the morning with my dressing gown on and I can easily stay there until the sun goes down without realising how much time has passed!

I started studying horticulture during lockdown. I gained my HNC in Horticulture with SRUC and completed half of my HND before realising my areas of interest were not covered in the remainder of the curriculum – these are flower farming, permaculture and forest gardening. Last summer I spent time volunteering with local flower farmers, as a creative individual it opened my eyes to the possibilities when combining plants with artistic flair. I have seen and assisted in creating some truly beautiful wedding displays using locally grown flowers!

I have also volunteered with The Aquaponics Garden in Cupar while they were running plant trials growing a variety of food and flowers under LED lights – the range of Asian vegetables they grew was interesting! At the start of this year I was running my own gardening company working in The Walled Garden of Arkleton based in Langholm and now I find myself here!

What’s your ideal garden?

In an ideal world I would love a ½ acre garden where I can grow a variety of flowers, fruit, vegetables and herbs – enough to feed my family on and most, if not all would be perennials to keep gardening jobs nice and easy! Plants would be placed to mimic that of a forest garden, where I can harvest my own dinner each night with year-round offerings. I would have plenty patches of comfrey and nettles to attract the ladybirds and to use as an organic fertiliser. My pest control team would consist of ducks to keep on top of the slugs, chickens to eat the pests and to fertilise the soil and a couple doggos to keep the rabbits and deer away!

What do you plant in your outdoor space?

In my garden I’ve removed all the grass to get as many plants in as possible! I plant tomatoes, cucumbers and dahlias in my greenhouse, my garden is a mix of fruit bushes, apple trees, vegetables such as courgettes, broccoli and cabbage. I also grow a range of flowers I can use for drying like zinnia, scabious, loads of allium and I have about 8 hydrangea bushes! It’s a bit of an eclectic mix that has evolved while I’ve been learning. I just wish I had more time to spend in it.

What’s the one thing we should all be doing to be more sustainable in our gardens/outdoor spaces?

I’m a big fan of soil health. Heavy mulching with woodchip in autumn will provide your plants and soil with a slow release of nutrients throughout the year. I also grow comfrey on every bed in the garden and follow the “chop and drop” technique where you simply chop the foliage and lie it on top of the soil. Not only does this suppress the weeds, it also provides nitrogen to the soil. I’m a big believer in no-dig (should be called only dig if you need to) – laying cardboard, sheep-fleece then a 4 inch topping of compost, topped with mulch. This helps massively with suppressing weeds and with water retention, making watering a lot easier during the summer months. I learnt recently that some weeds need only a millisecond of light to germinate, it just takes one turn of the soil for it to happen! I’ve noticed a huge difference in my garden since establishing no dig beds.I could go on forever, I’ll stop now!

If you have any questions for Sarah, pop into the shop for a chat!