1. How did you get into gardening/ horticulture?
My mum used to work down at the local bowling club and during school holidays i would go down and ‘help’ old Sam the green keeper although I’m sure i was more of a pest! I remember being so excited when he let me walk on the green- that was a big deal- and being in awe of the perfect stripes and neat edges.
Think the Gardening bug really hit when during exam time at school. Don’t think i enjoyed the studying part of that time and would rather nip out to the garden to tidy it up. I remember getting a garden magazine that had a free seed tray and pack of marigold seeds, i followed the instructions and was so chuffed with myself that they all germinated. I had so many I didn’t know what to do with them all!
I used to tidy some of the elderly neighbours gardens and then my dad told me to go for an apprenticeship place at Craigtoun Country Park. I, like a lot of people, just though gardening was grass cutting and weeding and couldn’t believe all the different and exciting jobs i was now doing.
Within days, the enthusiasm, knowledge, skill and fun that i was getting from the experienced gardeners made me realise this was the life for me. I’ll never be able to thank my first head gardener and the rest of the team enough for what i got from them.
(I also met the girl who was to be my wife at Craigtoun so all in, happy days!)
2. What are your gardening likes and dislikes?
I’m not sure there’s anything to dislike is there? Sometimes i don’t get as much pleasure being a head gardener as what i thought i would spending more time doing managerial tasks and not out in the gardening doing the tasks I enjoy best.
Oh yes there is one thing actually, CAR PARK PRUNING!!! I find it so sad seeing plants like Cotoneaster, Potentilla and what should be beautiful winter coloured stems of dogwoods attacked with hedge trimmers cut at waste level and with square sides. 
I’m very lucky I enjoy all of what I do in gardening, I see myself as a ‘jack of all trades and a master of none’ and that’s how I like. I want to know a little of everything.
Gardening/ horticulture is so vast a subject- glasshouses, lawn care, plant conservation, veg growing, bulbs, conifers, annuals, perennials, hedges, alpines, topiary, plant hunters, garden history the list goes on, how could you not enjoy everything? I’ll be interested in gardening to the day 1 drink my last cup of tea and I’ll still only learnt a fraction.
I also like how there is generally more than one way to do a gardening job (just as long as the final job is left neat and tidy when it’s finished). I’ve really enjoyed watching the next generation of gardeners on the programme this year, they are so creative and full of new ideas and I’m picking up so much from them. I’ll now add what I’m seeing from them to how i like to do things and keeping it fresh for me.
3. Favourite and least favourite plants 
That’s a tough one. I go through phases of having favourite plants and right now I’m enjoying learning about training plants such as preaching lime trees and apple trees into spindles as much for the structure it will give the garden in the winter.
Favourite plants will be those can give us more than one season of interest like Rhododendron luteum, bright yellow flowers with amazing scent, nice background for summer plants to flower against then cracking autumn foliage.
I love alpine plants, I can’t forget about them and mountain bulbs too. That’s from my time in the amazing alpine department of the RBGE. 
And trees, I love trees too.
Ach, told you this was a tough one.
I don’t have much interest in roses if I’m honest. I know I’m being harsh but there’s too many diseases that can affect those and I hate spraying chemicals to keep a plant looking good.
Goes against what being a gardener is all about in my eyes.
4. What is your role at Scone Palace?
I manage 100 acres of gardens and grounds around Scone Palace. This also extends to the tree collection of the designed landscape that surrounds the Palace. Desperately trying to develop the four acre, 200 year old walled garden moving this space into the 21st century.
I’m also keen on setting up a Plant Nursery here too. 
To help me realise all my dreams and ambitions I work with an amazing garden team including a great bunch of volunteers who I hope they too get as much satisfaction form what they are doing as I do. Scone Palace, like lots of gardens these days would be lost without volunteers.
5. What your home garden is like?
Up until the lockdown of 2020 it was mostly just a play area for the kids but I’ve really enjoyed the extra time I’ve been able to spend with my family in the garden now creating something for all of us.
I’ve got my wee wildflower lawn in the front with our family apple tree and a bird feeder at the front window next to a Sambucus niger ‘Black Lace’ plant. I’ve a glasshouse with a collection of alpine bulbs which has my alpine crevice garden in front.
With the help of my boy, who is the hardest head gardener I have ever worked under, we are now expanding our herbaceous border to create room for more plants and we are creating a woodland garden down at the bottom hoping to have Trillium, Meconopsis, Cardiocrinum plants in here to name but a few.