Walled Garden Tea
At St Martins Abbey tea has been planted in the walled garden which had been abandoned for many years. Before the First World War there were 27 gardeners working on the estate and this was a working garden growing fruit, vegetables and flowers for the main house and estate workers. . It was built on a slope and there were tidy raked paths and clipped box hedges as edging for the beds.There is a tower in the north east wall from which a bell was rung each morning for the estate workers to go up to the chapel in the house for a short service. The southern wall has chimminies along half of it with fireplaces along the bottom for coal fires which were lit to heat the peach houses in the lower walled garden.
- Black tea
- Green Tea
- White tea
- Steamed and roasted green tea
- Handrolled artisan tea
- Teas made at The Scottish tea factory
Clearing the Walled garden
Times have changed and formality and order have been traded in the 1.8 acres top walled garden to establish a tea garden. Luckily the soil was the right pH but during my childhood the walled garden was used as a donkey field and then left to go feral. There were shoulder high weeds, dockens, raspberries, nettles, thistles, you name it so we topped it and then had a winter of 5 enormous pigs that routled about and cleared all the roots etc. It was then ploughed and harrowed in preparation for the tea plants.
Napail & Georgian tea plants & fruits
We have tea plants growing from both Nepal and Georgia, the varieties have been kept separate and infact have different traits. In 2019 we invested in a polytunnel to try and bring on some of the plants to be able to extend the growing season and develope different teas. The whole family have been involved in taming the walled garden and three generations of us helped to plant the rows of tea, tending the plants and building the irrigation system. Around the edge of the walled garden we have a huge variety of different and quite unexpected fruits. This seemed vital for enticing help from younger family members !
- Cold hardy - large leaf camelia sinensis
- Irregation & fertilizers
- poly tunnel nursey
- Rare fruit bushes
- Honey bees
- Poppies & favourite flowers
How easy is it to grow tea?
I really believe nothing in life is meant to be too easy and this was exactly that......we had such challenges. Tea hadn't been grown on any scale in Scotland before so there was no manual, we found it loved the long hours of daylight of our summer but struggled badly with the harsh winter winds and prolonged minus degree days. Our plucking season is very short with the plants coming out of dormancy around April, but not forgetting we can get late frosts into June, and going back into dormancy in October again.
Tea Making and tea education
Learning about tea has been a joy. Full immersion into the tea plantations of Sri Lanka, learning from the experts out in the field and in the many tea factories that we visited. So many people have been incredibly generous with their knowledge and encouragement and it has been up to us to translate that information into how it can be adapted to growing tea in Scotland. A UK Tea Academy Tea Champion course run at the Scottish Tea Factory by Beverley Wainwright was particularly informative as well.
Would you like to buy our tea?
We have for sale small samples of our experiments of both black and green tea.
Proceeds will go to The British Legion Poppy Appeal.
3 gram tins - UK Deliveries only.
This will be updated as we have more tea available to buy
Tea Gardens of Scotland
2020 we plucked over twice the amount of tea that we plucked last year but still we are heavily pruning our tea bushes each spring to maximise the amount of plucking tips and we don't expect a full crop until 2024.
Our plucked tea goes to the Scottish tea factory where Beverly Wainwright performs her magic on it, carrying out many experiments with our leaf before producing a tea that she is happy with - she's a total perfectionist and her results are reknowned.
- Rolling tea
- Sampling tea
- Tea experiments