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A day in the life: Hamish Martin, the Secret Herb Garden

Hamish Martin, owner of Edinburgh's Secret Herb Garden, gives us a glimpse into what a typical day in his life at the Garden entails

Published: August 6, 2015
5am: As the sun starts to rise earlier, so do I. No alarm is needed, but I always wake just before sunrise and, at this time of year when the actual sunrise is about 4.30am, I force myself not to get up for another half an hour. Once we return to a later dawn, I’ll make sure I’m sitting at the top of the hill in the garden to watch the sun come up. I love welcoming the day like that. I then have the whole garden to myself to tinker around with the herbs and work out what needs to be done for the coming day. We are open seven days a week, so there is no weekend, just a busier two days.
10am: This is a critical time of the day for me, as it is when I have my coffee. I’ll find my wife, Liberty (pictured, with Hamish), and we’ll find a spot to sit. I always have a five shot Americano and lots of chocolate on the side  – happy days if the kitchen have made tiffin for the café. I then feel replenished, so I can carry on throughout the morning, which entails 101 tasks with the plants. There is also a huge greenhouse to manage, which is filled to the brim with herbs and seating for our customers.
The Secret Herb Garden. Picture: TSHG

The Secret Herb Garden. Picture: TSHG

Noon: There is no real lunch break; both Libs and I will grab a mug of soup at sometime around noon and have it on the go. I love being around the garden to help people choose herbs while I work away.
6pm: By now the café/garden has closed, we have tidied up and Liberty has fed Violet, our two-year-old. This is the part of the day where we sometimes have a glass of wine, relax and chat. There are also three older children, Rory, Francesca and Nicholas, who may be around to catch up with us.
7pm: I love to bathe Violet then read her a bedtime story.
9pm: After tidying up, feeding the dogs (five of them), locking up and having a last walk around the garden, I get ready for bed. I’ll read a few pages of a book and then fall into a deep sleep, hopefully filled with dreams.
Find out more about the Secret Herb Garden here.  Open 10am until 4pm daily.

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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