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?
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.
In the summer of 1996 a Princess came to tea 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.
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.
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, Liz a volunteer and other occasional volunteers – some of whom come and stay in the castle for a week or two under the WWOOF programme.
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Some kind words from our previous guests…
The Best. June 2018