John Hawley, Head Gardener, Gordon Castle Walled GardenOctober 24th 2015
John Hawley, Head Gardener, Gordon Castle Walled Garden, Fochabers
I count myself privileged to be part of, what is currently one of Scotland’s largest horticultural renovation projects. I started work here at Gordon Castle Walled Garden at the beginning of 2015 after working in horticulture for over twenty years, with much of that time spent as a Head Gardener with the National Trust.
Gordon Castle’s eight acre walled garden, like so many across the country, fell into disuse until three years ago when owners, Angus and Zara Gordon-Lennox decided it was time to give the garden a new lease of life. Until 2012, apart from a fine collection of wall trained fruit trees, the garden was simply a field. The brief of the Arne Maynard design was to produce an aesthetically pleasing but highly productive garden which would supply a new on-site café/restaurant as well as a shop and on-line business selling an array of products. Although the garden is contemporary in design there is very much a nod to the gardens 200+ year past.
So, we are currently approximately half way through the renovation with the main emphasis this season being on the central area of the garden which consists of vegetable and flower beds as well as thousands of lavender. The first full year of opening is almost complete and visitors have been fascinated to see the project progress and hear about future plans such as the maze, soft fruit garden, themed gardens and knot gardens. As well as the intricacy and beauty of the design its often the sheer size and scale of this ambitious project which people find breath taking. For example, this winter we plan to erect eight large pear tunnels and continue to plant some of the 750 step over apple trees and goblets. Work will also begin on the herb knot gardens and preparation for the Saffron garden.
Please do keep up to date with this exciting project as it develops via the website www.gordoncastlescotland.com