Our Green Tips

We know from experience that people involved in gardening tend to care deeply about looking after and nurturing our natural environment.  In this section we share some eco-friendly ideas and tell you about the steps we take at Merryhatton to help the environment.


One of the big UK supermarkets keeps telling us that “every little helps”.
This sentiment could not be truer than when we consider the little steps we can all take that help care for our precious environment. Sometimes it’s simply a case of effective recycling; other times we can help by taking positive steps.
But all the small steps add up to make a difference in helping our planet, and in this section we highlight some easy and helpful eco-friendly ideas.

Where can you start?

Pot colour matters

Currently local authority recycling centres cannot “see” black pots and so they go to landfill.
Growers are beginning to use different coloured pots that can be “seen” and recycled, – but it takes time to do this.

Meantime, bring your black pots back to our pot exchange at Merryhatton where they’ll either be reused by other customers or we will send them to specialist recycling.

Pots & Crocs

Recycle your broken terracotta pots to help your plants grow!
Traditional gardeners will already know that broken croc at the bottom of the pot helps provide drainage,  retain moisture and ensure that the compost gets plenty air circulation to keep it fresh.

If you don’t have any, we often have croc available at Merryhatton and customers are very welcome to help themselves.

Coffee grounds

Spent coffee grounds are good for the garden.
Put them (and the filter) into your compost heap to add nitrogen and organic material.
Use them as fertiliser to help aerate, drain and retain water in the soil – earthworms love them and they’re good for the soil too!
However, it appears that slugs and snails aren’t too fond of caffeine, so you can also use spent coffee grounds to protect your favourite plants.

Recycle pallets

There’s lots you can do with old pallets, but we were particularly impressed with this bespoke garden furniture.
Of the pallets delivered to us, blue pallets are 100% re-useable and are collected to be reused as pallets.  Even broken ones go back for repair and reuse.
But we also get a lot of non-blue pallets that we cannot recycle – so if you’d like some to try making your own garden furniture, just ask.

Plant Companions

If you’re looking for a non-chemical way to protect your plants from pests, consider companion planting.
Generally the companion plant will have a strong scent that confuses or deters pests.
The use of ‘sacrificial’ plants is also successful by luring the pests away from the plant you want to protect.
Click below to see some suggested companion plants.

Creating compost

We’re fortunate in East Lothian that the local authority recycles our food waste, but why not keep some back and create your own compost?  It makes a fantastic mulch, adds structure to your soil and costs you absolutely nothing!
If you’d like to make your own compost and recycle some of your food waste to improve your garden soil, click below to see how:

Peat-free compost

We know that peat-based compost is a tried and tested growing media that delivers great results.
Our compost producers are members of a peat-reduction scheme which aims to reduce the volume of peat in compost and they are continually testing substitute materials which deliver similar results.
If you want a peat free compost, click below:

The pallet garden

If there’s not a lot of room in your garden, why not create a garden in an old pallet?
We receive many non-returnable pallets, and our customers seem to get lots of fun coming up with imaginative uses for them!
The idea of a pallet garden is popular for all ages, so if you fancy having a go – just ask us for spare pallets!

Merryhatton & the environment

We take our responsibility for the natural environment seriously, these are some of the steps we take to reduce our impact as far as we can.

We aim to reduce pollution, emissions & waste


We currently recycle all of our

  • glass
  • plastic
  • metal
  • food waste
  • spent cooking oil
  • cardboard & paper

Reduce food waste

To minimise food waste, we:

  • regularly review and update our menu
  • offer customers the option to take home their leftovers
  • monitor food waste levels

Recycling coffee

Did you know that spent coffee grounds are good for the garden?  We

  • explain how (see ideas above ‘Where do you start’)
  • offer the grounds free to customers

Minimise food miles

To minimise our food miles we:

  • Buy locally where possible
  • Focus on seasonal produce where we can

We aim to reduce the use of raw materials & energy


Our buildings are heated by a ground source heat pump which runs our underfloor heating system. With this, for every unit of energy used to run the heat pump, between 3 and 4 units of heat energy is delivered to the building.
This compares to electric, gas or oil systems where one unit of energy in delivers a maximum of one unit heat energy out.
As far as we’re aware, this is the most efficient means of heating available.

Generating our own electricity

We have been generating electricity for a number of years now through the use of solar panels on the roof.

We installed photo-voltaic panels in 2011, and with this system we are able to continue to generate electricity throughout the year even when light levels are relatively low in our Scottish winters.

We consider the impact of our purchasing decisions

Plant health & biosecurity

We believe that biosecurity is one of the most important responsibilites that a plant retailer has, and as a member of the HTA we follow the agreed protocols designed to protect plant health in the UK.  

Sustainable timber

All our timber furniture has been manufactured with wood from responsible forests, where trees are replanted to replace those that are harvested.

This symbol is your guarantee of responsible forestry.

Working with suppliers

We work closely with our suppliers and contractors to ensure that they comply with required environmental legislation.  We will always give preference to suppliers who take steps to exceed the minimum legal standards.

Peat alternatives

We will always offer a non-peat compost for our customers.
We will only deal with growers who use compost from suppliers complying with government directives to reduce peat content.

In our plant area we also

Our policy

Healthy plants have optimum resistance to attack and competition from weeds, pests and disease.
We always seek to use good husbandry and non-chemical controls to encourage the healthy growth of our plants.

Quality plants

We source quality plants from reputable growers, inspect them on arrival and communicate any issues immediately to the grower.
We follow best practice guidelines as identified by our trade association.

Practice good husbandry

Simple steps such as sweeping benches regularly and ensuring good air flow around the plants reduces the possibility of disease and helps avoid the need for chemical intervention.

Use non-chemical controls

Hand weeding, pruning dead or diseased parts, companion planting and careful and appropriate feeding and watering regimes all optimise plant health and so minimise or avoid the use of chemicals.