Jobs boost as Midlothian herb garden attraction triples up

An attraction in Midlothian that features botanical gardens and a gin distillery has seen its visitor numbers triple in the last year resulting in the creation of 15 jobs.

Hamish Martin (pictured) and his wife Liberty founded the popular venture in October 2012. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The Secret Herb Garden, which also incorporates a 100-seater cafe and outdoor glasshouse, beehouse, education space and a new rose garden, is set at the foot of the Pentland Hills. The business has an estimated turnover of about £1.75 million.

Hamish Martin and his wife Liberty founded the venture in October 2012, with the aim of creating a green space that captured their love of herbs, food and “all things vintage” and now have 28 employees including gardeners, distillers, bottlers and customer service staff.

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Visitors are also flocking to the award-winning Old Curiosity Gin distillery on site, said to be the only gin botanical garden with a distillery in the UK. The gins are made from herbs and botanicals grown in the gardens.

The products are now available in eight countries, including the US, Switzerland and Japan, and in major UK stores, including Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and M&S.

The expansion and diversification of the business has been supported by Business Gateway Midlothian. That support has included strategy and marketing development and linking up to the council’s employability team to provide apprenticeships with young people.

Hamish Martin said: “We have something for everyone from being free to walk in the glasshouse and botanical gardens, smell the flowers and learn more in workshops to a great cafe and gin tours.

“The support we’ve received from organisations like Business Gateway Midlothian has really helped us along the way in so many different areas, including planning and exporting which we are hugely grateful for.”

Ann Marie Macaskill, head of Business Gateway Midlothian, added: “The Secret Herb Garden is a fantastic local business that puts sustainability and nature at the heart of its offer.

“It has been fantastic learning and working with the team as they continue to educate, preserve and grow in Midlothian and create even more local jobs.”