Gordon Castle Arne Maynard walled garden development gains pace

Gordon Castle Walled Garden near Fochabers, one of the oldest and largest walled gardens in the country, has begun work on the next stage of its redevelopment.

Along with their team of gardeners, owners of Gordon Castle, Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox, are following a bespoke design for their historic 8.5-acre walled garden, created by garden designer, Arne Maynard.

Over winter, eight pear tunnels were planted and with brick edging now being laid and a path running underneath, the pear trees can now be admired by garden visitors from below as they grow.

The quince meadow, which was planned over the winter season, has now been added. Eleven varieties of the deciduous tree have been planted, including Serbian Gold, considered to be the best for the UK climate, and Portugal Bush, which the microclimate of the North East may just favour.

In the four vegetables beds early peas and beans that had been sown under glass have been planted out. along with garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, ruby, white and yellow carrots, various colours of cauliflowers, pumpkins and squashes.

In the next few weeks, the Victorian Mackenzie & Moncur glasshouse, which the team recently restored, will feature a sizeable number of heritage tomatoes that will fill up one end of the glasshouse. It will also house a variety of chilli plants to provide a fiery display of colour in the middle section.

The new season has brought colour to the garden, with 3,000 crocuses and the four themed cut flowers beds of tulips introducing a rainbow of greens, whites, purples, dark reds, yellows, pinks and blues to the Speyside garden. Once the tulips have flowered, the beds will feature an array of cut flowers, such as sweet peas, dahlias, cosmos and salvia. 

Some 3000 blue and white lavender plants, which were planted last year around the dipping pond will eventually, along with other plants and herbs, be distilled into essential oils used in the Gordon Castle Scotland range of bath & beauty products.

The garden's vegetables and the fruit from the 259 blossoming espaliered apricot, pear, apple and plum trees, will also be used throughout Gordon Castle's product offering. The Walled Garden Café will use the fruit and vegetables in its seasonal menus, the apples and pears will go into Gordon Castle's fruit ciders and the raspberries will flavour the Gordon Castle Raspberry Gin Liqueur, a product that has been shortlisted at this year's Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards.

A new family of Gordon Castle chickens has been added this spring, providing eggs for the Gordon Castle shop.

Angus Gordon Lennox said: "Spring really has sprung in our Walled Garden and it is pleasure to see new shoots appearing for another fruitful year. The garden team has spent winter preparing and planning so that we can hit the ground running and it's thrilling to see their hard work and vision pay off.  The year 2016 will see the next stage of the restoration take shape and we've said before that this is not an instant garden, which is put together in days, this is reality and Mother Nature takes her time. We're so pleased with how it is going and also to see the same faces returning again and again to witness the progress being made for themselves."

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