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Meet Andrew Glaister from Castle of Mey

June 2nd 2017

I started my career in gardening whilst still at school by growing vegetables on the railway embankment behind my back garden at home and in my father’s garden.

When I left school I studied at the famous Scottish Agricultural College at Auchincruive, Ayrshire and for three years I worked in the lovely gardens situated beside the River Ayr.

During my holidays from college, I worked at home with a local landscape gardener, where I gained lots of practical life experience. During my longer summer holiday’s I worked as a gardener at the Castle of Mey gardens over 2003 and 2004. There were four gardeners and we worked under the direction of the Head Gardener. It was a fantastic experience and opportunity.

By this point I had left college with a BSc in Amenity Horticulture and I travelled to Surrey and worked as a gardener at Little Mynthurst Farm – one of England’s best kept private gardens. I worked with a large team of up to 5 gardeners under the direction of a very experienced and knowledgeable Head Gardener.

After two fantastic years, I fancied moving back to my native Scotland and I worked as a single-handed Head Gardener on Glenogil Estate, Angus. I created a lovely kitchen garden within an old walled garden and maintained the walled garden and grounds beside the Lairds residence.

After seven great years, I took up employment as the Head Gardener at the Castle of Mey. This was almost like a dream come true as I had so many fond memories of working here as a young apprentice gardener. My job consists of maintaining the 2-acre walled garden with fruit and vegetables, herbaceous borders, hedges, roses and two glasshouses.

My team consists of one full-time gardener with occasional part-time help. One of my biggest achievements was building up a team of up to nine dedicated volunteers and we have also welcomed horticultural students on work experience placements.

I have helped develop and plant a new large herbaceous border and it is important to prepare the ground well and carefully plan the heights and spreads of the herbaceous plants before positioning and planting them.

One of the challenges of gardening at Mey is the constant exposure to high winds, to help protect our young vegetables plants, I like to make a shallow trench using a draw hoe and I plant the young vegetables into the trench, this offers them some extra shelter from the wind.

I get a lot of satisfaction when I see visitors to the gardens marveling at what we manage to grow in this northerly walled garden. I love working by the coast in this most Northerly walled garden.