Words With Robyn

Local horticulturist, Robyn Marwick, has recently launched her own business Plantipots.  Here, she talks to fellow gardening expert Coreen Connell about her life and work so far:

What’s your connection to the Lothians?

I grew up in Shetland and Edinburgh, but have been based in Edinburgh since high school. I went to Edinburgh College of Art and studied horticulture part time at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

What’s your favourite local place to visit?

The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBGE) is my favourite place in Edinburgh, I try to go there every other week at least just to get away from traffic, for some calm time and inspiration. Also, I get a lot of my plants for my designs from Kevock Garden Plants where I used to work part time, I like visiting them to pick up my plants and see what interesting things are in bloom.

How would you introduce us to your horticultural career?

I have a BA (Hons) in Intermedia Fine Art from Edinburgh College of Art, I then moved on to horticulture by studying the RHS Level 2 Principles of Horticulture course at the RGBE (which was brilliant). I also did the RBGE practical course in horticulture at Benmore Botanic Gardens and other online courses with the Edinburgh Garden School in Wildlife Gardening and Organic Gardening. Most recently I had a 3 month internship in the Rock Garden and Woodland Garden at the Royal Botanic Garden Kew.

I have been working as a garden designer and gardener freelance for over 2 years now. In addition, this was my first year exhibiting alone at Gardening Scotland, and I got a Bronze in the Floral Hall.

On foot of all of that, you’ve recently started your own business.  Would you tell us about that?

I wanted to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to sending flowers as a gift. I love the instant cheer a planted pot can bring to a doorstep. It’s a nice feeling to be sending out little pots full of life.  Everyone has a doorstep that could be brightened by a planted pot. It’s for people who like to send flowers but who are also interested in sending something that might benefit wildlife and has less of a carbon footprint; I use peat free compost, locally sourced and seasonally available plants –  I source my plants from all Scottish nurseries and I have started to grow some of my own as well. I also use recycled and or/recyclable packaging and carbon neutral delivery.

The name PlantiPots comes from Planticrub, a Shetland word for a type of small dry-stoned walled garden used as a nursery area for kale seedlings.  Planticrub garden design is the name I use for my garden design, and as selling pots mail delivery is an offshoot of my garden design I chose the name PlantiPots.

You’ve described horticulture as a mix of art and science – can you say a bit more about that?

I feel completely at home with that balance. I like the artistry of choosing colours/shapes/texture and the science of choosing the right plant for the right place. I get to use my experience in art to choose the shape of a border, the textures and colours of the plants, but then I also get to use horticultural science to determine soil texture and structure, to identify pests and diseases and care for the plants. It’s such an interesting balance, and why I love my job so much.

Robyn2If you were designing a garden purely for your own pleasure, how would it look?

I would love to design a garden that is open to the public, something good for wildlife and biodiversity that is also a haven for people to escape the city. I love gardens that are full of bees and birds, full of life, but also very peaceful places to sit with lots of secluded alcoves and screening.


And when you’re not immersed in flowers and plants…?

Winter is a big downtime for garden design, so I have used the last few winters as an opportunity to spend time working on my art, there’s no time for it during the rest of the year. With PlantiPots now, I think I will keep busier with my horticulture, especially around Christmas. I am currently working on a body of mixed media pieces for an exhibition with my mother (a tapestry weaver) that will be in the Shetland Museum next summer. I also make and sell jewellery online and curate pop up mixed media exhibitions in Edinburgh during the festival.

I like to get out into nature as much as possible, that’s the best inspiration.  I love hiking and walking. I also read a lot, make art and jewellery, kickbox weekly and am currently studying towards my first skipper’s licence for sailing smaller boats.

You can find out more about Robyn and her work on:



Photograph credits: Gabriel West (headline picture) Carolyn Schmudtke (in text)





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