Lynne O’Rourke: ‘I check the basket and choke on my coffee’

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I HAVE been trying to visualise our garden as a fragrant haven, which isn’t easy when all around is cold and dank.

Not the sort of setting to inspire and as I have to pass through the ice box that is our extension to reach it, there is even less incentive to venture out.

Last year, having been inspired by writer Josie Curran’s bright and beautiful houseboat, I planned to fill the garden with colour. There would be pretty bunting; I would pick up second-hand metal chairs for next to nothing and hand-paint them; bright planters (again hand-painted in all likelihood) would be full of equally bright blooms... Well, none of that happened. Then I was inspired by TV regular Nadia Sawalha’s herb garden – she had around 100 fragrant pots, I managed six; we’re now down to four.

I decide to do a bit of online research. I start looking at plants – hardy ones I hope might survive. The suggestions of what work together are endless. It all looks so good, so achievable. I start putting things in my virtual basket. I remember you should plant in threes or fives to stop your solitary plant being lost – you see, I have learned something from my mistakes – and add a few more. I chuck in some bamboo. And eucalyptus. It’s all coming together – I’m really good at this. I check the basket and choke on my coffee. I decide to drag one of those huge trolleys round the garden centre instead in a bid to remain within the realms of spending reality.

This week we take a look at actress Monica Gibb’s beautiful Victorian villa in Edinburgh’s Liberton area on page 4. The property has undergone a transformation and has a light Scandinavian feel to it. There is a great mix of vintage and modern finds in Allen and Michelle Bell’s stylishly renovated Glasgow flat on page 10. And we get the story behind the revival of the Kailzie House glasshouses.