Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Gardening with Scott Smith: Tempus fugit – time flies

Meet our new gardening columnist, Scott Smith.
Meet our new gardening columnist, Scott Smith.

The sands of time trickle relentlessly on. No matter who you are, we are all subject to the never-ending tick of the second hand.

Times change, trends change and people change.

If I were to be told a year ago I would be approached to write this very column you are reading, I would have been highly dubious.

To follow on from the genuine gardening legend that is Jim McColl, a stalwart not only of the north-east gardening scene but recognisable to anyone green fingered UK-wide, is no small feat.

You might say I have mighty big beets to fill (no, not that kind; we’ll talk about growing those in later columns).

Jim McColl has decided to retire after a 40-year association with the P&J. Pic: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.

I’ve fondly watched many an episode of Beechgrove Garden with Jim at the helm, and after being fortunate enough to briefly present and showcase Pitmedden Garden on the programme recently, I gained a newfound respect for him.

It was certainly not as effortless as he made it look, far from it.

It seems only fitting to also mention that Jim’s original Beechgrove Garden co-host was George Barron, who also happened to be head gardener at Pitmedden Garden from 1948-1978.

Small world huh?

Let me introduce myself

Who then, is this comparative whippersnapper that you’re sparing your time to read about? Well, my name is Scott H. Smith and I am currently the head gardener for Haddo House and also Pitmedden Garden, for the National Trust for Scotland.

It’s worth knowing that I am no natural-born gardener. I stumbled into gardening by chance after leaving a university cyber-security course I couldn’t stand.

I have not come from a long lineage of proud gardeners, nor award-winning Chelsea designers, I am but an individual that was lost in life and found salvation through horticulture.

Scott looks after the gardens at NTS Haddo House.

Gardening gave me a path, a purpose and a career. Most importantly, it gave me a passion. It is a passion that only burns brighter the longer and more committed I am to it.

It also happens to be one that I love to share.

One thing I always find about the gardening community is that we are always very generous with our information, our time and even our resources.

What you can expect from me

In the coming weeks, I aim to continue the wise and salient gardening stories, insights and advice that Jim has generously given in this publication over the past 20 years.

During my own 11 years working in horticulture, I have been a volunteer, an apprentice gardener, a seasonal gardener, a full-time gardener, a head gardener of a small team at a private estate, and now I am a dual head gardener of two sites with many staff and volunteers.

The then Duke of Rothesay surveying the damage done to Haddo Country Park after Storm Arwen. Picture by Kami Thomson / DCT Media.

My experience ranges across various heritage gardens, public parks and within private service. Although I’ve a long way to go before reaching the heady horticultural heights of Jim McColl, I’ve crammed a lot into my comparatively short time in the industry.

Highlights would have to include taking Prince Charles – now King Charles III –  around Haddo House following the devastating Storms Arwen, Malek and Corrie.

It would also include leading the implementation and recent completion of a large project at Pitmedden Garden to re-interpret a parterre garden, designed by award-winning designer Chris Beardshaw.

Never stop learning

I fill my free time between work and raising a young family with studying for the Master of Horticulture award (MHort) through the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

I am addicted to learning more about horticulture. It is a field so vast that nobody could ever truly know it all and as such it creates wonderful networks of individuals all able to share their expertise.

Mediums such as this publication are powerful tools to lecture, educate and share. It is with trepidation then, that I have agreed to writing a weekly column.

I will strive to inform, entertain, amuse and maybe even inspire you to get out there and garden.

Scott with Chris Beardshaw at Pitmedden Garden.

Whether you have a small balcony, an allotment, a big garden or even no garden, it is my aim to help you find some way to get your hands dirty.

Most importantly of all, I aim to change the image of gardening. It is not all about local show growers or village cliques. It is not only for the retired or the unacademic as my school days indicated it was.

Scott also has responsibility for NTS Pitmedden Garden.

That’s not to say I’m going to write insufferable acronyms and portmanteaus to try and appeal to the uninterested, but rather that I will be earnest, open and accessible to all.

I will be sharing my mistakes and successes, passing on (hopefully) words of wisdom to help you gain your own victories – but hey, the mistakes are fine too.

Take care and happy gardening.