Everyone at the gardens and many beyond are celebrating the prestigious award of being voted best historic walled garden in Britain. However, the ferocity of storm Arwen brought a bit of a wake-up call. Sadly hundreds of ancient trees did not survive, one of the oldest, a gigantic beech tree, fell across the avenue and is thought to be over 300 years old. It was completely hollow inside and it makes one wonder about tales of how Robin Hood evaded capture, it was said, by hiding in such a tree in Sherwood forest!
Trees grow strong roots on the side that will withstand the prevailing wind, because the storm came from a different direction it caught many of them literally off guard. It will take a long time to clear the fallen trees across the estate, some have landed in a dangerous position which will require specialists to remove them safely.
The good news is that were was minimal damage to buildings, none to people and the walled garden remained unscathed sheltered by the high surrounding red brick walls.
Now the gardens are being put to rest for the winter. A new gardener, Marie, has started work here, a trained florist, she has already been involved in wreath making. An apprentice gardener, Cathy is learning through work experience with the gardeners for the next six months. Head gardener Ed is delighted to have these two additions to the team ‘ It will make a huge difference and give an opportunity to pay more attention to detail, such as dead heading and smartening the garden in general.’ He said. Bulb planting is now completed and the vegetable beds are being cleared and tidied ready for next year’s crops.
During the month, wreath making workshops have been very popular and there are some exciting plans for 2022 including the use of the old shop as a teaching venue. In March and April 2022 vegetable and cut flower Grow Your Own courses will be held here, they are also available online. Each participant will learn much from experts and return home with a large goodie box which includes a comprehensive course manual, notebook, garden gloves and all the bits and bobs needed to start their own growing project.
‘Plot to Plate’ events are also planned. At these Ed Bollom will conduct guests on a garden tour where they collect fresh produce to be prepared and cooked for them by a chef on site while they enjoy a tipple or two of Gordon Castle Gin, beer or cider. More details to follow.
Meanwhile Christmas afternoon teas continue in the restaurant and newly published book, a Taste of the Highlands by Ghillie Basan, which includes a feature about Gordon Castle is on sale in the gift shop. Ghillie will be doing a book signing in the cafe on Friday 17th December.
Plans for next year’s planting programme are coming together – more about the exciting ideas of growing heritage varieties next month.
We wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas and may 2022 to come be a good year for you when we look forward to welcoming you to the gardens once more.
Very best wishes
All at Gordon Castle Walled Garden