COLUMNIST: LYNN HILL
I want to share with you one of my favourite projects, at Nick Nairn’s restaurant Port of Menteith, to draw out tips and ideas that you can take for yourself and apply to your own outdoor space. Named by The Sunday Times as a top spot for alfresco dining in the UK, it is easy to see why, as it is brimming with colour and taste, both in the garden, and on the plate!
The first step to success when designing a kitchen garden, is to understand that different plants do well in varying conditions. It is the old mantra of right plant, right place. So throw away the idea of a single veg patch, where all your edibles will grow, and embrace a more eclectic mix.
In Nick’s kitchen garden, creating different environments has broadened the choice of fruit and veg that can be grown. Some plants do well in a sunny spot, such as broad beans and thyme, whilst others such as chives and mint, prefer moist, shadier conditions. So getting to know the particular preferences for what you want to grow will go a long way to keeping them happy.
Get to know the conditions in your garden and choose plants that are suited to the conditions.
A polytunnel allows for tender plants that like a bit of shelter and heat, like tomatoes and basil. It will also allow you to extend the growing season, which is perfect for an early salad.
Mix ornamental plants with your edibles and reap the benefits. Not only does this look good, it can help to keep down pests, and encourages bees and other pollinators to do the job of pollinating the fruit and veg.
Nasturtiums are brilliant plants to include: they look great, are effective pest deterrents, and are edible too. These are one of Nick’s favourites, and he loves to include them as an ingredient in his pesto.
Nick wants his guests to feel at the heart of things, with tables nestled within this wonderful space - a fabulous principle to adopt, as you immerse yourself in the experience. Creating a lovely spot for eating, surrounded by planting in your own garden will allow you to take in the ambiance as you enjoy dining alfresco, and marvel at the fruits of your labour.
Lynn will be joining Nick this summer to offer a Masterclass in Garden Design at his kitchen garden, Port of Menteith. Discover more here.
Designer and Director of Lynn Hill Garden Design, Lynn loves creating wonderful green spaces. She has been honoured with many awards, and has contributed to Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Flower Show, and worked with the BBC as design consultant for Beechgrove Garden.
Green spaces can be sanctuaries that nourish us, inspire us, even heal us. Lynn encourages us to view our gardens as an extension of our home and embrace the benefits they bring to our health and wellbeing.
A member of the Scottish Ecological Design Association, and the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Lynn has a 1st Class Honours Degree in Community Education from Edinburgh University, and an HNC with Distinction in Garden Design.
Follow Lynn on Instagram, and find lots of professional garden design inspiration on her website.