Bloomberg Businessweek

The Green Dream

Running your own greenhouse may seem idyllic. The reality is not for the faint of heart
A greenhouse on the Cambo estate in Fife, Scotland

With the exception of a few years in the late 1800s when some rowdy servants burned down the manor house by mistake, the Erskine family has peacefully occupied the sprawling Cambo estate in Fife, Scotland, for more than 350 years. Along the way, they’ve been patrons for generations of agricultural workers who’ve tended the grounds.

The cost of that support has become increasingly steep, so five years ago the Erskines turned Cambo’s gardens into a charitable trust with a mission to educate young adults in the art of rural agriculture. “Scotland is very short of young people going into rural occupations,” says Catherine, Lady Erskine. “There is a skills gap.”

But first they had to build new greenhouses. The existing ones, dating from the early 19th century, had “become quite shabby” says her husband, Sir Peter Erskine. The wood frames were rotting, glass panes had been patched haphazardly, and maintaining an

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