Tag: Gardening

Simmer Dim

Burra rowers

Welcome to this month’s issue of Shetland Life. This is the Simmer Dim, or midsummer, and we are spoiled with daylight –  basking in it for up to 19 hours a day. This means more opportunities to get out and about. With this in mind, Shetland Life have been getting out too. This month we head to Fethaland, Hoswick Visitor Centre and Alex Garrick-Wright takes to the water to find out about competitive rowing as the season kicks off.

Having so much daylight has other implications, and demands other aspects of our time – in the garden everything is bursting into life. Shetland has a very short growing season – under 100 days – that means that most of our growing is done now. With this in mind Ali Grundon Robertson visits local producers at Turriefield in Sandness and Misa shares some of her tips for the garden this month.

And you’ll remember Fenton and Friends from last month? Yes, they’re back for more adventures this month!

Next month the schools break for the summer holidays, and we would like to help you make the most of them. We’re compiling a summer holiday bucket list for you to cut out and take on your adventures. But we need your help. Do you have a favourite place to visit, picnic or play? If so, get in touch and let us know and maybe it will be added to the list. Send your suggestions to sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk. And, whatever you’re up to, we love to hear about it, use our hashtag for the chance to be featured online or in the magazine #myshetlandlife.

Even if you’re not in Shetland, you can still keep up-to-date with all the latest. Remember you can subscribe to Shetland life online at https://shop.shetlandtimes.co.uk/pages/subscriptions#shetland-life and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions at sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk.

As ever, have a great month and enjoy Shetland Life – OUT NOW!


Welcome to this month’s issue of Shetland Life. April has come in with a bang, the clocks have changed, and we’re beginning to really feel the returning sun in the evenings.

Join Shetland Life for this April issue as we take to the seas again, but this time we’re heading underwater to discover the fate of the Spanish Armada vessel, El Gran Grifón, with Dr Colin Martin who led excavations on the wreck in the 1970s. We also hear the poignant and tragic tale of HMS E 49 which was lost in the First World War, and Laurie Goodlad takes to the water and discovers the joy of snorkelling in the first of a series where readers are invited to Challenge the Editor.

Elsewhere, Ali Grundon Robertson talks beach cleaning, and Alex Garrick-Wright meets Dirk Robertson on the eve of his exhibition at Shetland Museum & Archives. We also welcome Misa Hay to our team, and she talks us through all things gardening in Shetland. We’re delighted to have Misa with us. She has been growing from her garden in Tingwall for a number of years, producing food for her family and the table, fresh from the garden. She writes a very inspiring blog about gardening at 60 north which you can find at www.myshetlandgarden.com.

There’s so much to shout about in Shetland at the moment, and with the clocks springing forward we’re now enjoying longer days, so please let us know how you spend the light nights, are you getting out into the garden or perhaps packing a picnic after work and heading to the hills? Whatever you’re up to, we love to hear about it, use our hashtag for the chance to be featured online or in the magazine #myshetlandlife.

It’s been encouraging to see so many new subscribers joining our readership and signing up to the printed magazine subscription during the first three months of 2019. Remember you can subscribe to Shetland life online at https://shop.shetlandtimes.co.uk/pages/subscriptions#shetland-life and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions at sleditor@shetlandtimes.co.uk.

As ever, have a great month and enjoy Shetland Life –  OUT NOW!

Choose Shetland Life

Choose a Life, choose a career, choose Shetland as your base to enjoy what you do.

Our 450th edition of Shetland Life magazine is out on Friday 6th April 2018 and we are delighted to give everyone the opportunity to see our latest design and new content by giving it away FREE.

We’ve chosen to showcase Shetland in our main feature with a photography special and fantastic photos from around the islands. 50 top tips from well know local photographers are also included to help you take your best photos ever. 

An interactive music page, delicious recipes, film reviews, health and wellness, competitions, updated puzzle page and fast paced article sections are just some of our new items.

Choose Shetland Life monthly magazine to keep you up to date with everything we know you love about Shetland and its community life – we’d love you to join our growing readership.

Print and digital subscriptions are available at shop.shetlandtimes.co.uk


February Issue Out Now!

This month, Shetland Life celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit which is so apparent in Shetland.

However, if business isn’t your bag, then there’s plenty of other stuff specially selected to tickle your fancy. If this never-ending winter has sapped your joie de vivre, then take a tip from Pete Richardson and follow his directions for an uplifting walk around the Ness (while warming your lugs with the Fair-Isle headband which is this month’s Speedcrafting creation). Then, you can return home and follow Akshay Borges’ recipe for a deliciously spicy monkfish and salmon dish (take it from me, it’s amazing).

While you wait for the fish to marinate, you can read Vivian Ross-Smith’s article about the inspiration behind her current Bonhoga exhibition, Liam Anderson’s gardening tips and much more.

A secret garden for everyone

If you’ve been for a wander along Park Lane recently, you will have noticed the wonderful work being done on the community garden.

You can read our exclusive feature on this project in November’s Shetland Life. Don’t forget to pop along and plant a bulb on Saturday, November the 5th. The gardeners will be delighted to see you.

Park Life with Liam Anderson

Trainee gardener Liam Anderson is one of two Shetland apprentices who were honoured in the Scotland-wide Lantra awards scheme recently. Genevieve White spoke to him at the Jubilee Flower Park in Lerwick where he is developing his horticultural skills.

On the wall of the staff kitchen at Lerwick’s Jubilee Flower Park, the front cover of a 1997 summer edition of Shetland Life shows the park in full bloom. Award winning apprentice gardener Liam Anderson smiles as he points it out. “I would’ve been about two years old then.”
Although Liam adds that he “probably wasn’t doing much gardening at the time,” it seems that his lifelong interest in gardening did not take long to flourish.

It was Liam’s late grandmother who nurtured his love of gardening and the outdoors. “I remember my granny teaching me all the Shetland names for wildflowers and finding it really interesting.”

His childhood home at Gonfirth, near Voe, also provided him with inspiration. “We had a lot of trees in the garden – a mixture of willow, whitebeam and fir. My dad was a fairly keen gardener, but I think that my granny did more gardening than anyone else.”

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Liam started to get serious about gardening as a teenager, when a neglected polytunnel provided him with a blank canvas on which to experiment. “I would’ve been about 14 or 15. The first couple of years my parents did quite a lot with the polytunnel, but by the third year they were too busy.

“I decided to get to work on it myself, and started growing lobelia, tomatoes, peppers and lettuces. It was amazing having that space all to myself.”

As a high school student, a biology lesson got him interested in propagation. Liam laughs as he remembers his teenage antics. “I think I drove my parents mad. I had plants propagating all over the place – in the kitchen, in the bathroom and in the utility room. I don’t think there was a spare bit of windowsill to be seen in the whole house. At that stage I was experimenting with some weird and wonderful plants too: I had a Venus fly trap which I enjoyed feeding – and some cacti.”
This love of gardening has never waned. In addition to his full time apprenticeship at the flower park, Liam tends his own garden in Yell, which he describes as being “quite different” from the relative order of the Jubilee Flower Park.

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“It’s a lot more exposed. There are no trees, and there are a lot of alpine plants. Actually, it’s a bit mad. I love growing things in strange containers – I’ve got plants growing out of a tea pot, a cement mixer drum which I found in a quarry and a rusty bread bin.”

Liam feels “privileged” to work in the Jubilee Park gardens. “I’m allowed to use my own initiative, and the work is both relaxing and fulfilling. I’m really interested in the art and design side of gardening, and every year I’ve been given a bed to do myself.”

Liam has certainly risen to the challenge, with last year’s Celtic knot design (a mixture of bedding plants and topiary) standing out as an example of his artistic talent.

The young gardener’s enthusiasm, talent and knowledge are very much in evidence in the popular blog he co-writes with Diane Inkster.

“Diane and I were encouraged to start a blog by SIC chief executive Mark Boden, who saw it as a way of encouraging more visitors to the garden. I really enjoy writing it. It has photographs of what’s going on in the garden, describes the work we’ve been doing, and it’s a space to answer the questions we’ve been asked by visitors.”

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Unsurprisingly, Liam likes visiting gardens in his spare time. He names Lindaal, near Tingwall, as his favourite Shetland garden. “I like the different levels in this garden – it just flows nicely. It feels hidden too – no one realises it’s there.” Outwith Shetland, he cites Kellie Castle Garden in Fife as a favourite. “I like old fashioned walled castle gardens, and this is a great example. There are fruit trees trained to the wall – it’s beautifully done.”

Asked whether he ever tires of the challenging Shetland climate, Liam admits that he sometimes gets frustrated.

“Yeah, there are times when I’ve spent time growing something, then a gale comes along and finishes it off. I think why am I doing this?”

With characteristic positivity, Liam sees these events as learning experiences and tries to work around them. “I’ve spent time researching which plants do well in windy places. Apparently, Argentina is one of the windiest places in the world, so I’m looking up things which grow well there”.

Our interview over, it’s time for Liam to get back to work. The flower park is bursting with signs of spring and the sky overhead is blue. It’s hard to imagine a more pleasant way to spend the working week; it’s equally hard to envy this hard working young man his richly deserved success.

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Photos: Dave Donaldson