Visitors triple, 15 news jobs & £1.75m turnover at The Secret Herb Garden

Visitors to The Secret Herb Garden, featuring a 100-seater café and outdoor glasshouse, botanical gardens, gin distillery, beehouse, vintage furniture, event and education space and new rose garden, have tripled in the last year, from 7,000 to 21,000, resulting in the creation of 15 new jobs, including two apprenticeships and an estimated turnover of £1.75m.

Hamish Martin and his wife Liberty founded The Secret Herb Garden, set in idyllic surroundings at the foot of the Pentland Hills where Hamish grew up, spanning 7.5 acres in October 2012, with the aim of creating a green space which captured their love of herbs, food and all things vintage and now have 28 employees including gardeners, distillers, bottlers and customer service staff.

The rapid expansion and diversification of the business, supported by Business Gateway Midlothian, has resulted in people travelling from across the country and south of the border to pick up everything from unique plants and herbs including lemon verbena and over 50 different mints to vintage furniture and local produce from the café.

Visitors are also flocking to the award-winning Old Curiosity Gin distillery on site, which is the only gin botanical garden with a distillery in the UK, created by Hamish in 2017.

Tours and tastings of the six flavours of the natural, floral, colour changing gins take place every weekend, which include Lemon Verbena, Cornflower and Chamomile, Apothecary Rose, Lavender and Echinacea, Geranium and Mallow, and just launched Pink Elderflower and Jasmine – all made from herbs and botanicals grown in the gardens, hand harvested, then dried, distilled and infused on site.

The range is available in eight countries, including the USA, Switzerland, Italy, Hong Kong and Japan and in UK stores, including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum and Masons and M&S.  

The ongoing support from Business Gateway Midlothian includes strategy and marketing development and linking up to the Council’s employability team to provide apprenticeships with young people.

Hamish said:

“We are delighted with the growing success of The Secret Herb Garden and to be able to welcome even more visitors than ever before.

“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 award winning café and gin tours, all making for a great day out.

“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.”

The Secret Herb Garden, which can be hired for private events, including small weddings also features an educational space where they host various workshops and courses including herb and gardening, bee keeping and floral wreath making.

Ann Marie Macaskill, Head of Business Gateway Midlothian said: 

“The Secret Herb Garden is a fantastic local business that puts sustainability and nature at the heart of its offer.

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

Business Gateway Midlothian provides expert support and guidance to new and existing businesses, including free advice from experienced business advisers to help start-ups and growth businesses planning to expand or find new ways of doing business. 

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