The Garden’s Restoration

This is the story of the garden’s restoration.

Question 1: Can you name 3 different weeds?
​Question 2: What about 3 different flowers growing in the garden at the moment?

Question 3: Who visited the castle in 1996 and asked to see the garden?

Until 1993 the garden was a productive vegetable garden. Then our old gardener, Leslie Stephen retired and the walled garden was rented to a market gardener who promised to grow vegetables in the garden. He didn’t do anything and, within three years the garden had fallen into disrepair, as you can see from these photographs taken after we’d established lawns in the six central areas to get rid of the weeds which were over our heads.

Weeds like thistles, ground elder and sticky willie covered the whole garden. Sticky willie is fun to pick and throw at someone’s clothes. Did you know you can eat it? It is also known as GOOSEGRASS. Geeese love it!

In the summer of 1996 a Princess came to tea in the castle and asked to see the walled garden. We tried to dissuade her but she insisted and we gave in gracefully. She was not impressed by what she saw and we were so embarrassed that we decided there and then we had to improve the garden. The results speak for themselves.

Before (above) & After (below)


We restored the garden wall, rebuilt the paths, cleared the weeds, and sowed out much of it to lawns, planted the hedges and so began the conversion of this garden into what it is today. Of course the work is never finished and it will continue to evolve.  Follow this link to find out why there are fish in the paths.

After we’d made lawns but before we restored the paths.


Before (above) & After (below)

It was only in 2007 that we were able to turn our attention to the extensive Woodland Garden on the other side of the castle. Like the Walled Garden it also dates from around 1830 but over the last 30 years had been allowed to grow up. Around 150 trees were removed in order let in the light – nearly all were felled by the Laird himself. Many rhododendrons and azaleas have been added to the older plantings. The grass path network was established and four ponds were built. Much more work is planned.

These are gardens with no full-time gardeners. The work is shared by Andrew & Nicky Bradford, Nicky’s sister Verity, retired chef Bob, Liz a weekly volunteer and other occasional volunteers. If you would like to volunteer to work in the garden please contact us.

You have just one more. No. 10 is on one of the walled garden gates. 

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Some kind words from our previous guests…

“This is World Class hospitality”.  2013

Jean Vernet, CFO Expro