Alison Stewart

About Alison Stewart

Freelance science and medical journalist, based in Edinburgh and gardening in Argyll, western Scotland, and Edinburgh

A Mediterranean cottage garden

The British really do take their love of gardening with them when they move to other parts of the world. I’ve just come back from a short stay in the Haut-Languedoc region of southern France. It turned out that our self-catering apartment was half of a house, and that in the other half lived the owners, Tom and Frank, who moved there around 6 or 7 years ago when Tom was made redundant from his job in Manchester. Continue reading

Honey, I moved the lawn

I have just moved about 8 square metres of turf from the east coast of Scotland to the west. It’s the sort of daft thing I do these days. My years of “sensible” gardening on a smallish surburban plot in Cambridge seem a distant memory. Now I try to juggle living most of the time in a rented house and garden in Edinburgh with maintaining – and trying to renovate – an acre and a quarter of wet, weed-infested hillside in Argyll. Continue reading

R.I.P. Henry

Well, Henry’s gone. I guess he’d had a good innings. No one seems to know how old he was. Despite several close shaves over the last 8 years, somehow he always seemed to pull through. But an unscheduled amputation in the spring brought things to a head and his days were numbered. Continue reading

Mud pies

It’s raining again – or should that be ‘still’. Scotland had the wettest spring on record this year and the wettest August for 60 years. Argyll was the wettest place in Scotland, and I bet our peninsula was the wettest place in Argyll.
You’d think that a garden on the side of a hill, with rock not far below the surface, should be well-drained. The water should find a few channels and flow happily down them to drain into the sea. Right? Continue reading


We bought our house in the west of Scotland in autumn 2003. After 20 years in flat, agricultural Cambridgeshire we longed for hills and water: Sherbrooke, a huge and stately mid-Victorian house with 0.5 hectares of terraced garden and views across a broad salt-water channel to the wild north-west coast of the island of Bute, was irresistible. Continue reading