Whisky Magazine Issue 42
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In a new series looking at different distillery careers, Richard Jones talks to Hilary Lamont – distillery gardener at Linkwood
There's really no such thing as a typical day,” begins Hilary Lamont, gardener at Linkwood distillery. “As any gardener will tell you, your work is dictated by the season and the weather. You might have a plan for a particular day, but then the heavens open and you have to change what you were going to do.
Once it starts, you can't just turn the taps off. Considering its location, Elgin actually has an extremely mild climate. As one of the nurserymen at my previous job said, ‘If you can't grow anything in Morayshire, don't bother trying anywhere else.'”
Born in Aberdeen but brought up in London for much of her childhood, Hilary Lamont has tended the greenery at Linkwood distillery for more than 25 years.
She is one of the last of a dying breed. “As far as I'm aware, I'm the only person in the industry still employed as a full-time gardener. Historically the gardens at Linkwood needed special attention because it was close to the company offices in Elgin.
There wasn't much free space at the headquarters, so they wanted the distillery to look pristine for hospitality events, meetings and the like.
“The Linkwood grounds cover 10 acres, and close to the distillery the gardens are quite high maintenance and cosmetic.
“Every year I plant seeds for between 8,000 and 9,000 bedding plants, and the same for wall flowers. In this section the grass is manicured and cut short.
“But as you move away from the distillery, the more naturalised everything is allowed to b...