My main interests have always been growing plants, eating food, adventuring on beaches and I've a keen interest in the environment. I have been fortunate to live in a few of the remoter islands of Scotland (Colonsay, Islay and Orkney) farming and growing crops in very challenging maritime climates.

Primarily I'm a gardener, a mother, (now!) a wife and I teach, write and haiver about it all when I can. 

I started growing vegetables on a small island as the local shop offered a range of 'bendy veg', so I got inspired to try and grow some. Studied a correspondence course and that set me off. After land based SVQs at a local psychiatric hospital I moved on to study formally in Edinburgh. I studied plantsmanship/horticulture at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 2000/1 specialising in edible and herbal plants suitable for the Scottish Climate. I moved to Orkney, growing herbal and edible plants for local farmers markets whilst studying and for a BSc in Sustainable Development and Environmental Management in Orkney in 2001.

After a while, needing more study, I moved back to mainland Scotland to further my botanical studies, gaining an MSc Plant Taxonomy and Biodiversity in 2006 from Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. Throw in a few thousand insect bites from a field trip to Belize and arctic wet wellie foot from dissertation study on Moneses uniflora in a remote woodland in the north of Scotland, in Golspie. That kinda sums up that time!

I have also worked in several nurseries in Scotland - from helping to renovate Johnny Walkers walled garden in Islay, to small specialist breeders of species of Primula and Meconopsis nurseries in Ardrishaig. For my shame I can't stand Rhododendrons - the west coast of Scotland sickened me of them and their blousy habits.

One of my favourite times was at a nursery in Fife propagating and growing hardy perennial plants for the Scottish climate. On a windy site a gnats throw from of the forth of firth, the nursery boasted a keen reputation for very hardy plants, grown in polytunnels and greenhouses cunningly named after prisons! I owe so much of my inspiration from the time I spent in the cold potting shed with my companion Alison - who kept me sane during the 400-5000 Tropeolum speciosa root cuttings (2 inches, a cross in the bottom of the pot, two per pot - repeat and repeat and repeat). No electricty - no tea breaks - just a lot of plants and humour!

I returned to Orkney in 2006 joining a local enviornmental company part time helping Highland Park with their peat extraction to avoid habitat degredation. I also worked at the Agronomy Institute team at Orkney College as a part-time technician, latterly my PhD research looked at the practicalities of Willow SRC as a biomass crop in the Orkney climate combining my two main interests of plants and the environment.
Nowadays - I gallivant about working in a few gardens - doing a bit of vegetable garden teaching and I work for a local recycling charity part time. I'm a keen gardener that hasn't changed. But, I love research and teaching too. 

We relocated to Fife in 2014 and have now a garden, with wind and lots of interesting challenges to boot. I'm working locally for a large estate, helping them with all sorts of plant related things including propagating perennials and with their snowdrop collection.

I share mostly nonsense (haivers) on here, its a space to reflect, connect and live. Enjoy living. 

If you think I might be able to help you with something plant related, please get in touch, we can chat about something I can do for you perhaps. To keep the wolf from the door.


  1. From one Moneses enthusiast to another - nice to have met in the wood the other day. Moneses was the icing on the cake after Bettyhill rocks, plants, eagles and badgers. Orkney too is a favourite - especially Scapa Flow and its remarkable war history. I don't go in for blogs myself being a retired forensic scientist with a strong BACKROOM BOY philosophy; but the adrenalin fairly flowed in the High Court witness box!

    1. How lovely for you to pop by. It was indeed delightful to see you in the forests containing such gorgeous plants. I'm so pleased you had such a lovely break. If you dont' find the thesis on line and do want to read it please let me know.

      Sounds like a memior written by yourself would be well worth a read! Flowers are much more rewarding than witness boxes I'm sure but probably just as interesting!

  2. I bet it's been wet up there this year. It certainly has here in the north of England.

    1. Probably you've suffered more than me Enduring Gardener. We've had it wet lately but not as wet as elsewhere in the UK. I think we've been lucky. Thanks for popping past! I appreciate it.

  3. The Vegetable Garden Displayed! It is our bible up here on our welsh hills, or rather I should say it is my husband's bible. I have a sneaky preference for Anna Pavord's kitchen garden book because I like her obsession with what things look like as well as what they taste like. Husband thinks function is all!

    1. Hello Elizabeth. I have both to hand, I like the practical and the pretty. Drives the chap I work with insane. Function and beauty now there's the key. I also have a hankering over the way Alys Fowler grows everything cheek by jowel in the garden side by side. One day, I'll manage that!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Sorry Damien, I'm in this purely for the crack, no endorsements fit my lifestyle. But thanks for the offer!

  5. Hi
    We're now just weeks away from our move to Orkney and I found your blog while searching for info on windbreaks. New house is in an east facing valley on mainland so actually has trees on the land. Where we live atm in north of England we have our tiny back yard filled with the hen run and the greenhouse. Most growing is done on our 2 allotments.

    I'm also an apple identifier, although I suspect I won't be carrying on with that on Orkney since I've only found a few people who grow apples, and anyway even the Scottish varieties I'm familiar with will look different grown on Orkney.
    This is where I must admit that I'm going to be transplanting and bringing with me most of my 50 plus apple cordons....... well I've got nothing to lose since whoever takes over our plots (sobbing here already about my awesome asparagus bed and enjoying the last fresh asparagus I may ever get) won't pay me for the trees.

    Of course the Victorians did a lot of growing 'tree-fruits' under glass and I have my Thomas Rivers book ready for advice on that. One of the trees is a new variety I've developed and grafted on - being evaluated commercially. Anyway, I'm trying to find where I can learn from other people who enjoy the challenges of gardening in wind. Are there courses, professional advisors, clubs/groups, sources of info?

    Current thoughts are a polytunnel but covered in windbreak fabric for most of the trees, with some of the trees planted between the existing native trees in the little woody area. My Pitmaston Pineapple will have to be in a regular polytunnel though - it struggles outside on the allotment. I'm hoping my Winter Nellis pear might be a goer though.

    After the comments from the Orkney removals firms who have visited to quote, I'm surprised that the 'mad English lady with 50 apple trees' isn't already featuring on the Orcadian 'laugh of the week' ;-)

    1. So you didn't see that giddy limit strip then.....(joking! hope you've settled in well)

  6. Sorry, forgot to add that you can contact me through this page:

  7. Hi there,

    I recently came across your The Wind and the Wellies blog and was wondering if there were any sponsored post opportunities available? I represent a number of gardening clients who are looking to sponsor posts with a contextual link in the text itself.

    Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in, or if you have any similar alternatives and we can discuss further and make arrangements.

    You can contact me on



  8. Hi, love your site. Would you take a look at this and see if you can pass it on in any way? Thanks!
    A unique “self-sufficiency” work & life opportunity for the right creative person.
    Due to the tragic death of the MAUREEN ROOKSBY, life-partner in EL POCITO ( - a project to create an edible forest in SW Spain - and also creator of MONKEY & SOFIA ( – a very special crafts enterprise - a new muse/ goddess is sought. Maureen loved: wilderness, planting trees, growing the food we eat (both organically and bio-dynamically), she was also a passionate vegetarian and always surrounded by many cats. I hope therefore her successor will share some elements of all those qualities, as well as bringing new ones.
    The offer is for an equal share in EL POCITO, located in Almonaster la Real, and MONKEY & SOFIA (which is planned to expand as a shop in the future), in return for a life partnership working to develop both projects.
    If this is of any interest to you, please study the pages of both sites and then write directly to me by post or email:
    Phil Rooksby
    El Pocito
    Oficina de Correos
    Huleva, SPAIN

    Also, if you could pass this on and reproduce it in any way you feel fit, to friends/ volunteers/ staff/ customers/ anyone you can think of, anywhere, it would be a great help at a time when even the simplest task is awesomely difficult. Many thanks for sparing the time to read this.

  9. Hi there,

    I hope you’re well today?

    I’ve been reading your blog and I really enjoy your posts, so I’m contacting you as I hope you would like to get involved with a project B&Q are working on at the moment. I think you would enjoy it, especially as you're keen on recycling so you must care about the environment.

    Basically, B&Q have a new packaging solution called easyGrow™ which gets rid of all the polystyrene that bedding plants normally comes in so it’s very environmentally friendly. As you know, so much of landfill sites are filled up by polystyrene - this is something we have been conscious of and are working towards a better solution.

    As there’s no fiddly packaging to deal with, this makes it really easy to use too. We’d love to send you a tray of these plants for you to plant as a mini fun project, take photos while they grow and let us know what you think.

    Do you think this is something you’d like to get involved in?

    If you have any questions, please feel free to call me on 020 7861 3242 and I’ll be happy to help.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Best wishes,


  10. Hi there, I have just seen that you have put a link to my blog from your site. A huge thank you for that, its nice to get visitors from different walks of life and certainly weather wise you couldn't get more different than Orkney to Extremadura in Spain! It's nice to read about the rain and the lushness of your photographs has me quite envious - but only just now while the sun is so relentless here, once the rains come in Autumn we shall be green again... its worth waiting for. It's also really nice to know that others out there are as passionate about sustainability, growing food and protecting the environment as much as possible as we are. Although we can't claim any professional qualifications which fit us in any way for our current lifestyle we are having a go all the same. I shall put a link to you from my home page and I hope you get some extra traffic coming your way. If you ever fancy coming to see our wildflowers in the spring let us know - we love visitors and we don't get enough!

  11. Love to get in touch, check out my site: Phil

  12. I'm a bit late to the party but you sound suitably nuts, so I'm looking forward to reading from the beginning,
    We, that's myself, my wife and the 'Wonky Crew' ( 3 dogs, Benson, Hope and Wonky... who was chucked in a bin with broken legs and distemper as a puppy ) will be moving up to the Orkneys, or the Hebrides, or Western Isles during the next year.
    We currently live on our small Quinta ( 5000sqm ) in Central Portugal making lots of wine and producing organic olive oil and trying our best to grow vegetables in the searing 40C heat. Not easy.
    Sooo......North we go, avoiding England, up north and right by the sea and looking forward to the challenges that can bring but without the heat.