Foraging Experiences at Woodside


We were delighted that guest forager, Jonathan of HartyCulture, led foraging experiences as part July’s mini garden festival. We are hoping he will be joining us again in September, so I thought you might like to read his summary of the day’s sessions.

Foraging Experiences in July

“We had great fun on our voyages of discovery and they were enjoyed by young and old alike. We hardly had to leave the car park with so much there to discuss and digest.

We started off with the wild Geranium family, finding a few varieties of cranesbill, which is handy for anyone with radiation poisoning, heavy metal toxicity or sows scouring. The pineapple weed was as popular a surprise as ever, with one lady aptly asking, “What was it called before they discovered pineapples?” I didn’t and still don’t know, but we then spotted some escaping apple mint, which saved face. Great crop of edible hogweed, which we didn’t touch due to potential photo toxicity. Their broccoli heads were mainly out and the cumin replacement seeds will be ready to harvest soon. The ground elder is starting to flower, which brings it into the danger zone of umbellifer confusion with hemlock; however the celery like, unstained grooved stems of the goutweed was safely sampled by all.

Disappointingly, there weren’t too many nettles, but I rattled on about their many benefits anyway; sure the Red Admiral has to lay her eggs somewhere after floating up from the Med. Nevertheless we found some supertall ones down by the stream along St. Cuthbert’s way, which would be great for cordage. Masses of marestail, great for so many things. We haven’t run out of oil yet, there’s 500 million years of giant equisetum during the carboniferous period to thank for that, however I suspect Emma wouldn’t object to a pet dinosaur keeping it under control. It’s high levels of silica perfectly compliment the bone knitting properties of the comfrey, flowering among the bees buzzing in a corner near the white willow, which is good for everyone and nearly every ailment.

The beech leaves have gone well chewy and was disappointed not to find any porcelain mushrooms growing on the fallen ones. Loads of yew down the woods, which is exciting in chemotherapy and the brave had their heads blown off by green wild garlic seeds. Wood avens in abundance for those with mouth ulcers. Found my first wonder violet among the hazel and lime trees. Some huge wellingtonias, great for totem poles and a sweet chestnut too.There was so much on offer: St. John’s wort, green alkanet, hedge woundwort, common nipplewort, wood-rush, flowering currant, Leopard’s-bane, burdock, ladies mantle, even primrose, which we resisted sampling due to scarcity.

However there was no scarcity of wild strawberries, with banks full of them, but we did keep running out of time, which might have made some late for their lunch, but thankfully no one complained of hunger and for those who mentioned friends and family who would be keen to come too, all being well, I’ll be back to Scotland in September, which will bring a whole new element to the harvest.”

Booking for September Foraging

If that report has tickled the taste buds, please sign up to the newsletter to be the first to hear about the date in September.

Numbers will be limited so I reccomend early booking once details have been released.

About Jonathan

Jonathan is usually based in Northern Ireland, so we are very lucky to be able to book his expertise to share with Woodside customers. Established in 2007, HartyCulture is a family-run business based in the heart of the beautiful orchards of County Armagh, Northern Ireland, offering a wide spectrum of horticultural and landscaping services to private, public and third sector clients, with a focus on quality, sustainability and listening to our customers’ requirements.  They have also contributed a regular gardening column to the lifestyle magazine “Flavour”, and always enjoy presenting to community and other groups on areas of horticultural interest.  Most recently, they have introduced year-round Foraging and Nature Tours in a range of locations across Northern Ireland, where they explore our natural environment during a guided walk through beautiful countryside.


This blog was updated on 16th July to include the July session report.


Photo by Cam James on Unsplash

Bedding Plant Bonanza

Pots and rockery plants

We have a  bedding plant bonanza for you this week with lots of colourful bedding plants to brighten up your gardens, patios, window boxes and containers.

Here’s what we have to offer you:

Argyranthemums (Crazy Daisies) in a choice of colours £4.99 each

Callibrachoas in both single and double flowered forms in a good choice of colours including popular orange shades. Just £2.99 each or “Mix & Match” with any other £2.99 bedding – 6 for £15

Bacopas are back in stock again – we thought we’d seen the last of them, but another batch has become available, also another batch of bright cheerful Bidens. All £2.99 each, “Mix & Match” 6 for £15. We’ve some special varieties of Biden available too – the BEE series – very attractive flowers and ferny foliage. These are in bigger pots and are £3.99 each

We also have a batch of trailing Nepeta for hanging baskets and troughs – a really pretty variegated foliage plant with long trails, and one of the best and fastest growing trailing plants around.

Our “Shades Carry Packs” are back in stock again – packs of 6 plants in Blue Shades, Hot Shades or Pink Shades. No need to worry about plant selection or colour schemes as the choice has already been made for you! We’ve also got Upright Fuchsia Carry Packs and Non-Stop Begonia Carry Packs. All Carry packs priced at £14.99 each.

We’ve got a good selection of “Trixies” again. These are pots of three plants planted as one, and you can simply plant into a container or basket to give an attractive display of flower colour all summer long. These are the perfect choice for novice gardeners as the hard work has already been done – just plant and enjoy! Don’t forget to regularly feed and dead-head all your bedding plants to keep them looking good right up until the first frosts of the autumn.

Pre-Planted Troughs

If you can’t be bothered to plant up your own containers, or want to give one as a gift, we also have a selection of planted bowls, troughs and hanging pots priced from £19.99. These are planted with a selection of bright and cheerful bedding plants, to give a welcome splash of colour to the garden or patio.

Chocolate Cosmos

This incredible plant for chocolate lovers is now available at Woodside for the first time this year. Attractive foliage is topped by deep maroon cup-shaped flowers which smell strongly of chocolate. They look really effective planted in a pot either just on their own or mixed with other plants, or you could mass plant in the garden for a showy, scented display. They are not reliably hardy for overwintering (although the green-fingered amongst you may be able to succeed) so are best treated as a bedding plant, with overwintering a lovely bonus if it happens. Our plants are in 1.5 litre pots, so are a good size already, and are £7.99 each. Hand over a full loyalty card and you can purchase 3 Chocolate Cosmos for £20.

House Plants

We now have houseplants in stock at Woodside, including the famous award-winning Streptocarpus from Dibley’s nurseries. Other plants include Begonia Rex, Spider Plants, Wandering Sailer plants, and Zantedeschias. So there’s no excuse for you garden to be prettier than your house this summer!

Mini Garden Festival – 9th June

Tinnisburn Plant Nursery

Our next “Mini Garden Festival” is this coming Wednesday, 9th June.

We will be welcoming back Helen from Tinnisburn Plants , a small family run nursery from Dumfries and Galloway. Half a Hedgerow from Kelso will also be exhibiting their garden obelisks and ornaments once more.  We are also hoping that we will be able to offer Streptocarpus  from indoor plant specialists, Dibley’s – fingers crossed that the delivery arrives in time!  The event will run from 11am – 4pm.

Last month we had an issue with parking with everyone turning up early – don’t panic, there is enough stock for everyone, so please don’t feel you have to attend in the morning as there will be plenty of plants available all afternoon too! If the carpark is full, please be patient – we will fit you in as soon as we can.

This week in the Plant Centre

The plant centre is bursting to the brim with plants, so there is still plenty on offer if you can’t make Wednesday. We have our best range of shrubs yet – look out for
Cistus (Rock Rose) corbariensis, purpureus and Snow White, Olearia haastii, Ozothamnus Silver Jubilee, Skimmia Kew Green, Spiraea arguta (Bridal Wreath). We have so many perennials in stock that some are being temporarily displayed on pallets, highlights include:

  • Anemone Wild Swan – a much sought after perennial with white flowers and a distinctive blue back to the petals
  • Geum Totally Tangerine – probably the best of all the orangey geums with good vigorous growth masses of flowers
  • Geranium Pink Penny – a really pretty hardy geranium and one of the longest flowering varieties available
  • Digitalis luteum – a perennial foxglove with small creamy yellow flowers
  • Brunnera Jack Frost – one of the most popular silver leaved Brunneras with delightful forget-me-not type flowers
  • Euphorbia characias wulfenii and robbiae – we’ve been waiting all season for these to come in stock and they are selling fast!
  • Persicaria bistorta Superba – a magnificent perennial with candy pink spires of flowers held above vigorous ground cover foliage.

We have also received a new delivery of bedding plants and vegetable plants for you to squeeze a few extra into your garden.

Hardy Geraniums and Rosemary

hardy geraniums in bloom

We have a lot of new plants in stock for the weekend including hardy geraniums and rosemary, which many of you have been requesting. Even though the weather is disappointing we are very busy in the plant centre with new arrivals of soft fruit, hydrangeas, bamboos and our biggest range yet of bedding plants.

Hardy Geraniums

We’ve been struggling all season to get hardy geraniums in stock. A combination of a cold spring slowing down plant growth and a reduction in production both in 2020 and this year due to lockdown, has lead to plant shortages. However we’ve now managed to get some hardy geraniums for you to enjoy – choose from Johnson’s Blue, sanguineum Album and Brookside. Next week we’re expecting even more varieties to come in. Sign up for the regular emails for up to date stock information.


So many of you have lost herbs this spring, with almost all local gardeners saying they have lost their rosemary plants. This weekend we will have another batch of Rosemary available after being without for a couple of weeks. Other herbs include Basil, Mints, Tarragon, Lemon Verbena, Thymes and plenty more.

Water Gardening

We have a good range of water plants currently in stock including oxgenators, marginals, bog plants and water lilies. Our beautiful selection of water lilies includes pygmaea varieties for small ponds and larger varieties in a range of colours for larger ponds.

We also stock barley straw pouches for clear water, aquatic compost and baskets for re-potting water plants, and aquatic plant fertilizer for feeding existing plants.
We’ve just had another delivery of coldwater fish – our selection now includes: Goldfish (Comets), Blue or Golden Orfe, Shubunkins and new this week Koi Carp and Ghost Koi.  We also stock a good range of fish food, fish treatments and nets for catching them up.

Job Opportunities at Woodside

The tea room at Woodside

We  are currently recruiting for these two job opportunities:

Kitchen Assistant

Working a shift pattern of 3 days on and 3 days off (with flexibility to do extra shifts when required). Duties include preparing light lunches, making sandwiches, icing cakes, baking scones, making soups and quiches, clearing tables, washing dishes and cleaning.

Plant Centre Assistant

A part time position to include some weekend work. Duties include till operations, customer care, answering phones, plant maintenance, off loading deliveries, pricing up goods and everything else involved in a busy garden centre. Multi-tasking abilities essential!

Both positions require excellent levels of fitness. If you are interested, call Emma on 01835 830315 for a chat. If I don’t pick up the phone, just leave a message.

Latest Plants in Stock

water lilies for sale

We are an independent plant centre, so we like to treat our customers to some specialist plants – ones that will make their garden stand out from their neighbours. We also stock plants that will survive our Scottish weather – very important given the recent late cold snap.  Here are a selection of the more unusual varieties we currently have in stock:

Japanese Maples

These beautiful little trees will enhance any garden and look good in pots, as well as in borders, near water features and in oriental inspired plantings. Our plants are coming into leaf and are hardened off so can cope with the current cold weather.
Acer palmatum varieties:

  • Emerald Lace
  • Trompenburg
  • Dissectum
  • Enken
  • Osakazuki
  • Jerre Schwattz
  • Red Feathers
  • Bloodgood
  • Garnet
  • Katsura
  • Acer conspicuum Red Flamingo
  • Acer shirasawanum Aureum
  • Acer shirasawanum Jordan


Gorgeous full potfuls of plants. We have four varieties available just now:

  • Fargesia angustissima
  • Fargesia Rufa
  • argesia robusta Pingwu
  • Fargesia Jumbo

Water Lilies

If you are visiting our new aquatics department and are wanting to plant up your pond, we also have good choice of water lilies for both large and small ponds

  • Gonnere (White)
  • James Brydon (Red)
  • Marliacea Chromatella (Yellow)
  • Mrs Richmond (Pink)
  • Odorata sulphurea (Yellow)
  • Pygmaea helvola (Dwarf Yellow)
  • Snow Princess (White)
  • Vesuve (Red)
  • Xiafei (Red)
  • Attraction (Red)
  • Charles de Meurville (pink)
  • Sioux (Pale Pink)
  • Albatross (White)

This is just a small selection of the range of plants we have in stock, so please come and browse, if you are not sure we are always happy to advise you.

Pond Supplies

Pond supplies - ornamental fish

One of the most rewarding garden features is a pond, and we now have everything you need to build a brand new one, or to improve an existing one. Enjoy the sound of running water with a fountain or waterfall, encourage wildlife with our range of plants and water treatments and relax watching your ornamental fish.

Pond Supplies

As previously reported we now have an aquatics department here at Woodside. We stock the Oase range of pond pumps to suit a range of features, from a solar powered pump for small ponds and barrels, to large pumps to create a stream or waterfall, and everything in between. We sell Gordon Low Greenseal liner by the metre, so you can buy as much or as little as you require to suit your design. For existing ponds we have a range of water and fish treatments including organic barley straw pellets to keep your water clear. Look out too for “Water Bombs” which are a bacteria filled capsule which will kickstart your filter system to create a healthy habitat for pond fish and wildlife. We’ve just had a fresh delivery of water plants, including water lilies and oxygenators to enhance your pond.

Ornamental Fish

NEW for this weekend is a range of pond fish, including Sarasa Comets, Golden Orfe, Shubunkins, Blue Orfe, Golden Tench and Goldfish, and we also sell fish food to keep them happy and well fed! Garden lighting helps you make the most of your evenings in the garden and our range is suitable for submerging in the pond or for lighting up other garden features. Stephen is our resident expert in all things aquatic, and he is happy to take appointments for you to come in and discuss your requirements. – just phone in first to check his availability.

We are looking forward to a very busy Bank Holiday weekend with plenty of plants in stock and the tea room open. If you want to book or want to speak to Stephen please call us on 01835 830315.

Due to limited internet access and spending time with our customers at Woodside we may miss any messages via social media. If we don’t answer, just leave a message and someone will get back to you.


Tea Room Re-opening on 26th April

tea room at woodside

You will be delighted to know that the tea room will re-open for sitting in on the 26th April in line with the Government timetable. Due to social distancing measures we will have limited capacity within the tearoom, so we are happy to accept bookings for indoor seating from the 26th onwards. There is plenty of space outdoors for sitting in the garden, and we have spread out the picnic tables to give you all more room. You can also bring your own folding chairs if you wish.

Take Away Service

In the meantime our tea room is open for takeaways, so you can enjoy soups, sandwiches, cakes, traybakes, scones, and hot and cold drinks, as well as daily specials such as pork pies or quiche. As the takeaway service has been so popular, we will continue be continuing to offer this service to customers even when the indoor space is open.

Tea Room staff required

We are looking for a new member of staff to join our hard-working tearoom team. Ideally we would like to recruit someone with cafe experience, but more important is the ability to quickly adapt to learn new skills, good customer care qualities, flexibility to work any days required and a cheerful manner. You’ll need to be available to work regular shifts which will include both some weekdays and weekends, and have a willingness to cover for holidays and staff sickness. A good level of fitness is also a requirement – you’ll be on your feet all day! If you are interested give me a call on 01835 830315 for a quick chat with either myself or Helen and we’ll take it from there. If we are busy, the answerphone will pick up – please do leave a message with your name and number so we can call you back.

Aquatics Department Now Open

Fish food in the aquatics department

We were delighted to be able to open to the public again on the 5th April and to be able to launch our new aquatics department in the walled garden area. You can now buy pond pumps and filters, coldwater fish food, pond plants and oxygenators, pond treatments and pond lighting. Pond liner should be in stock by the end of this week and coldwater fish will be available later this month.

Birdhouse Tearoom

The tea room is now open for takeaways, so you can enjoy our delicious cakes, scones, traybakes, soups and sandwiches with hot or cold drinks.

We have some plenty to tempt you in the plant centre too: roses, peonies, rockery plants, trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, herbs, climbers, seeds and much more. Don’t forfet our stoneware, including statues and bird baths or our Errington pots and planters for added interest in your garden this summer.

Grocery Store

Following the success of our grocery shop over the last 6 months, we are now committed to keeping this opne daily. Items include fresh fruit, salads and vegetables, frozen ready meals, lentils, split peas, organic stock cubes, naan breads, curry sauces, dried fruit, nuts, free range eggs, local honey, dried mushrooms, brioche baguettes, oatmeal, polenta, semolina, gnocchi and much more.

Remember that we get freshly baked sourdough bread every Wednesday and Saturday.

We still have to stick to the rules regarding Covid-19, so please:

  • Wear a face covering in all indoor areas
  • Maintain 2m social distancing
  • Sanitise your hands on arrival

Please be patient with us – you may have to queue during your visit as we will be limiting the amount of people in at any time. We also have two new members of plant centre staff, a new till, new products and a new lay-out, so things will take a bit of getting used to!

We are very pleased to be welcoming you back to Woodside, and we hope you have a relaxing, enjoyable and safe visit.

Garden Centre Opening on 5th April

Pots and rockery plants

Good news at last! The Garden Centre will be re-opening on 5th April, so we are now busy making sure that your return to Woodside will be the best possible experience. We have been busy unpacking new stock for some weeks now. To allow us to fully prepare, the call and collect service will be ending on 31st March. However the grocery shop will be open every day, including all the Easter weekend. From 5th April we will also be offering a takeaway service from the tea room for drinks, cakes, scones, sandwiches and soup. Our summer opening hours of 9:00am to 5:00pm will also start on 5th April.

Garden centre stock

We are delighted to be offering an extended range of potting shed essentials this summer – these include the new range of bamboo pots and seed trays  – an excellent sustainable alternative to plastic plant pots that will last approximately 5 years and are then compostable. Another new product are the Vigoroot planters – these are fabric planters that enourage vigorous rooting, helping them be resistant to harsh weather, pests and diseases.

We have also had a delivery of pots and planters from Errington, Reay and Mims and it will be so much easier for you to chose the perfect pot once the garden centre has re-opened. Last year we introduced a range of Green Man wall plaques which were so popular we have extended the choice this year.

We have some excellent starter shrubs in stock as well as rockery plants, bedding plants, bulbs and seed potatoes.

If you would like to receive regular updates on new stock as it arrives, plus offers, please sign up to the newsletter.