All about us, what we do and how we do it.
My name is Innes Hogg and my wife, Nicola, and I run Craigiehall Nursery, a small nursery in southern Scotland specialising in alpine and rock plants. We operate our nursery entirely on our own, without help. We propagate and grow every plant we sell. We are growers, not traders.
We have been in business on this site growing and selling alpine plants for over 30 years. We have both been in horticulture for over 35 years and each of us has a Diploma in Horticulture. For many years we concentrated on growing alpine plants wholesale for other nurseries and garden centres but we now grow a selected range of plants for sale exclusively through this website. I think this makes us unique - for other nurseries a website is simply another revenue stream, for us, it is our only income. Please note - the nursery does not open to the public.
We are passionate about what we do and want to offer high quality plants with first class, personal service.
About our range (and how we grow it)
We grow a very wide range of alpine and rock garden plants - we have several hundred different varieties on the nursery. Some are quite common, others much less so, but they are all good plants. Some of our range can be more of a challenge to the grower and gardener but the majority stand a very good chance (with a little care and 'gardening') of succeeding in most gardens. We aim to grow plants that you will enjoy and have success with, not difficult, expensive rarities. Our online Plant Shop describes all our plants and offers tips on how to grow them. We don't grow large numbers of any single plant - we try to produce small, succesive batches so we can offer a wide range at all times.
We mostly propagate from cuttings - it's often the only way to raise all the better, named forms and all the variegated, coloured leaved plants which add colour to our gardens. This requires skill and great attention to detail - exactly what we are good at. We also grow some things from divisions and some from seed but avoid the very easy (and cheaper) seed-raised varieties that are widely available.
When I say, "grow", I mean just that - we keep our own stock (mother) plants from which we take cuttings (or save seeds from) and root, pot, water and care for every single plant we sell. We do not buy plants to resell nor do we buy plants to simply pot up and sell. This means we know about every plant we grow and it allows us to offer a selection far beyond what is available in any garden centre. Everything we do is 'hand-crafted'.
Many nurseries specialise in certain plants - we don't, we like to offer a wide range of alpine plants (and only alpine plants). We have collected an excellent range of Helianthemum; we grow many of the better Saxifraga; we have a wide range of named Sempervivum which we grow to the highest standards and we always have a good range of honest, reliable alpines for garden planting. We don't do cheap and cheerful. We are able to offer some plants which are often hard to find - Erigeron 'Canary Bird', our range of Saxifraga oppositifolia and an eclectic range of less readily available, but desirable plants. All packed up with great care and delivered your home.
We mix our own special peat-free compost for almost all our range. We do still use some peat - the few acid-loving plants we grow don't do so well in our peat-free mix - but we're working towards being entirely peat-free and we're almost there. We also include a good proportion of high quality, sterilised loam (soil) in our potting mixes - the plants like it and it really does improve the plants' ability to establish in the garden. Whilst on about 'green' issues, we minimise pesticide use and reduce, re-use and recycle wherever possible. If you order plants they will arrive in reused boxes and packaging so don't be excited (or alarmed) if a box of Finest Scotch Whisky arrives!
Everything we grow spends a good part of its life outside to give a good, well-grown, hardy plant, but given our location we can't over-winter every plant outside, though many will. We have several polytunnels we use but they are completely unheated, well ventilated even in winter and act only to keep the winter rain and snow off those plants which need it. It's not that the plants are in any way tender, but at the early stages of a plants' life they do need a certain amount of protection. That is why nurseries are called nurseries after all - to nurse things. We also like to send plants which are thriving, not simply clinging on to life just because they can and a little winter protection helps us do that for early spring orders.
About our growing conditions and climate
Craigiehall Nursery sits at around 850 feet (260m) above sea level on the very eastern edge of Lanarkshire. We are only 20 miles or so southwest of Edinburgh but well inland and very roughly equidistant from Largs on the Clyde coast and Berwick upon Tweed to the east. We seem to be climatically on the very boundary of the east and west of Scotland - we get rain from both directions! Annual rainfall is around 40 inches (about 1m) a year and we are in a cold area with a short growing season. We experience frequent frosts during winter (often quite severe frosts) and well into spring but we do have good light levels (cloud and rain permitting) which benefits alpines more than anything. The nursery is also exposed to the wind from all directions; in fact, the nursery looks over to a small wind farm with eleven giant turbines just over a mile away - that tells you all you need to know!
How we like to do business
We are conscientious, but the fact is, at some point we (or our carriers) will make mistakes and if that happens, we will sort things out to your satisfaction. We offer a personal service and that person is me (or Nicola). We like to be honest, courteous and friendly. Plants are our business - but they are your hobby and we will bear that in mind.
Innes and Nicola Hogg
Trading in partnership as Craigiehall Nursery, Carnwath, Lanark, South Lanarkshire, ML11 8LH