Garden of the week: Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Fochabers

This eight acre walled garden is one of the largest in the UK and it is also one of the most productive, providing fruits, vegetables and glorious cut flowers from spring until Autumn. The produce is used in the cafe within the garden and is also available from the Potting Shed shop. The shop also sells Gordon Castle Gin, which is made using botanicals grown in the garden, and cider made from the apples that grow around the walls.

As well as the protection afforded by the walls, the garden also benefits from microclimate of the nearby Moray Firth which, despite its northerly position, enjoys less rain and more sunshine than many other parts of Scotland.

Story of the Garden

The walled garden was built more than 200 years ago in order to feed the household of the Duke of Gordon but like many great gardens, it went into decline during the 20th century, eventually lying empty for many years.

Then in 2013 Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox commissioned award-winning garden designer Arne Maynard to redesign the space and now today Gordon Castle is home to one of the most exciting gardens in Scotland where contemporary features and traditional growing techniques combine to create drama for visitors.

Highlights

From cherry orchards to cut flower beds filled with colourful and fragrant blooms, the garden contains many individual features but all of them have been designed to work together. In August the lavender beds that sit at the very centre of the garden are a haze of blue and every morning the chefs pick salads, herbs and tomatoes for the cafe.

More than 200 different varieties for vegetables are grown here, including carrots, squash, kale, potatoes and beans and the garden is an important supplier to local businesses.

Don’t Miss

The two huge herb beds have been placed in the sunniest part of the garden and as well as flavouring food and drinks, these are also used to make Gordon Castle’s own range of hand cream, shampoo and soaps while tomatoes, aubergines, chillies and melons ripen in the restored greenhouses.

Anything Else to Look Out For?

When the garden was abandoned the hundreds of trees that grew around the walls were all that remained and these continue to produce fruit today. As well as apples, pears, gauges and plums, including the variety ‘Gordon Castle’ which was bred in the 1860s by head gardener John Webster, there are peaches, apricots and figs.

Best Time to Visit

Today and tomorrow Gordon Castle is hosting the Flower Farmers’ Big Weekend when it will be championing British grown cut flowers. And then from 27 August it will be holding an Outdoor Film Festival, when movies including Mamma Mia and Paddington will be shown on a large cinema screen in the Castle grounds.

Any Recommendations in the Area?

Follow the River Spey north from Fochabers to Spey Bay and you will find Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s Scottish Dolphin Centre, from where there are frequent sightings of the Moray Firth’s resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. Visitors also get a chance to glimpse seals and ospreys and to tour Tugnet icehouse, which was once an integral part of the Spey’s salmon fishing industry.

Directions

Travelling west through Fochabers on the A 96, the turning to Gordon Castle Walled Garden is on the right.

Open daily 10am – 4pm

Tel: 01343 612312

Email: restaurantmanager@gordoncastlescotland.com

Www.gordoncastlescotland.com

Logie House stands on a slope overlooking the River Findhorn and the gardens that lie blow it are home to many unusual and interesting plants. There has been a garden here for more than 200 years, but many changes have taken place over that time and within the last 20 years the garden has undergone further improvements in order to make it perform all year round.

The owners, Alasdair and Panny (corr) Laing, are strong supporters of The Hardy Plant Society, and many of the new plants that are sourced and trialled in the garden every year are grown from seed distributed by the Society. Those that turn out to perform exceptionally well are propagated and sold in the adjacent Farm & Garden shop, which is part of a steading complex that is home to a cafe, a bookshop and retailers selling artisan produce.

The garden has many fine collections of shrubs and trees and in recent years a burn that was piped below ground was unearthed and now forms a bog garden of moisture-loving plants.

Two sides of the garden are protected by walls and these help to create a microclimate, allowing the wide range of plants that are grown at Logie House, includuing Leptospermum and Carpenteria californica to flourish, and as summer progresses the trees and shrubs, including Davidia, Cercidiphyllum and many different varieties of Prunus and Sorbus begin to take on vivid colours that intensify as the temperature starts to drop.

Many beautiful trees line the dramatic Findhorn valley, and walks along its bank can be accessed from the Logie estate.

The Steading hosts workshops in woodworking and drystone dyking and it also holds monthly art exhibitionsm while on Thursday, 19 August, an open air production of HMS Pinafore will take place in the theatre within the grounds.

Logie House, Dunphail, Forres IV36 2QN

http://www.logie.co.uk/

 

In association with Discover Gardens. See discoverscottishgardens.org

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992