The Walled Garden of Kincardine Castle dates from about 1830. It was originally square in shape and divided into four quarters – a design that harks back to the ancient Persian walled gardens. The Persians loved their gardens so much they made carpets showing their layout.
Like most walled gardens in the UK this was originally a garden to provide food for the household. There were many mouths to feed as there were lots of servants working in big houses together with gardeners, grooms and so on. In the 1890s they rebuilt this castle and as it is much larger than the previous building it required a larger staff. Thus the old square garden, was too small to feed these extra mouths and the garden was enlarged. If you walk down the path below the greenhouse you can see the join in the wall where the new section starts. It seems the Persians had the same problem and here’s a carpet showing a garden with six sections, like ours.
Notice that the wall is granite on the outside but the two side walls are brick on the inside. Do you know why? The reason is that the bricks heat up in the sun and release their heat more slowly than granite and this helps ripen the fruit on the trees that grow on these walls. Very rich people went one better and had walled gardens with double walls and fires were kept burning to heat the walls so that fruit such as peaches could be grown far further north than they could without the extra help.
All walled gardens have a gate or gates at the bottom. A door would be no use. The reason is that frosty air would be trapped by the wall and the garden would be colder than the outside. So, the cold air, which is heavier than warmer air, flows out through the gate and the problem is solved.
It is said that having a walled garden creates a habitat of somewhere 500 miles nearer the equator. Certainly we have days here when the temperature within the walled garden is noticeably warmer and the wind much calmer than outside. Notice too how the birdsong echoes off the walls.
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Some kind words from our previous guests…
“Thanks to Andrew and Nicola’s hospitality and their extraordinary home. We forgot we were on a business meeting. Absolutely a superb experience”.