Rosie Nixon, plant expert and garden photographer

As a child, I used to follow my grandfather around the garden. He had a huge segmented garden and knew so much about fruit, vegetables and flowers. I loved picking petals from the flowers, pressing them into books, and making beautiful pictures with them. I learned how to propagate plants and grow unusual ones from seeds.

I like telling a story through my images, I want to capture concepts and feelings. In a group of daisies, one flower can stand out, or some might be shy and lean on others.

I grow poppies from the seed because they have such elegance with graceful curves and leading lines. Hoverflies love the nectar from the poppies and I always have to keep my mouth closed because there are so many that fill the air. I enjoy observing nature in the garden so I don't like growing F1 hybrid plants. I prefer single open flowers that wildlife can benefit from them.

READ MORE: A-Z of Scottish Gardens – our guide on where to go and what to grow

When I first moved to Scotland from Northern Ireland, I wanted to develop my garden so I took photos and sent them home by email every time I made improvements. The photos depicted the changes over the years and it eventually developed from nothing into what I finally wanted. However, a garden is never finished, it continually changes so I never stop.

Some plants struggle to grow because of the cold, wet Scottish winters so my advice is always to grow plants that suit the garden's soil conditions. I go for textures, colours, shapes and then the flowers.

I like plants with strong architectural qualities. I choose large leaves contrasting with small intricate leaves, grasses that move in the breeze and soft woolly leaves next to spikey ones. Put them together with all the hues of green, red and yellow that occur throughout the season and you've got a recipe for good garden structure.

READ MORE: A-Z of Scottish Gardens – our guide on where to go and what to grow

I applied for a job at Dobbies and even brought my photographs to the interview. I love it there because people come to me for advice on gardening and individual plants. It's a lifestyle; I go to work and get to do my favourite hobby every day and share my passion. Once customers get some confidence with their plants they can continue to expand their garden. I learn a lot from customers too and have made many friends that way.

There are lots of plants I can't grow as I've run out of room so I enjoy photographing plants in other people's gardens. I like visiting Branklyn Garden in Perth to photograph their national collection of Meconopsis poppies.

I've never claimed to be a tidy gardener as my love of garden photography runs deep within me. I start out with the best intentions but the flowers, bees, ladybirds, and beautiful light falling in a certain way is always a photo opportunity – the weeding or mowing has to wait a bit longer.

READ MORE: A-Z of Scottish Gardens – our guide on where to go and what to grow

A garden is a place for people to lose themselves: it's a peaceful, satisfying sanctuary to escape the stress of life. I like the changing seasons: from new growth in early spring to graceful decay in autumn and early winter. There is beauty in every season to be enjoyed and captured.

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