There is an old Chinese proverb ‘He who plants a garden plants happiness .’

May for Gordon Castle is the busiest month of the year. The gardeners are indeed planting much happiness as they transfer 20, 000 seedlings into the garden ground! It is a mammoth job coupled with the constant battle against weeds which are growing at a great rate of knots!!

Each day more of the garden ground fills up. The peas are sown, leeks, onions and the first crop of brassicas are already growing in the vegetable beds. The early planted mixed salad leaves have survived the cold snap to provide daily fresh salad greens for the Café kitchen.

The cut flower beds are being planted with colourful annuals such as cosmos, larkspur and Ami. New this year is a dark purple poppy named Black Swan which should flower in early June, Head Gardener Ed reckons it is a stunning flower so we wait and watch.

The thousands of tulip bulbs planted at the end of 2022 are now in flower, they seem to march through and across the garden in glorious splendour, majestic and vibrant they catch the eye no matter where you turn. Then it will be the turn of a huge variety of dahlias who will tiptoe in to replace the receding army of tulips as late spring heralds in the blooms of summer.


Wild flower seeds are sown in the meadows and espaliered and step over apple trees are literally laden thick with fragrant blossom bringing happiness to the Gordon Castle bee population! The bees are busy collecting nectar pollinating as they flit from flower to flower.

The tomatoes are planted in the large greenhouse this year directly into the ground in a specially created bed. This should produce a more prolific crop. Fifty seedlings in all; old favourites like gardeners Delight and Ailsa Carig are joined by new ones like pale pink Rose Crush and Green Zebra which appears just as the name implies.

Freshly cut rhubarb and asparagus are now on sale in The Potting Shed Shop and should be available into June.

The shop is open daily from 11am – 4pm until 5th June when it will open from 10am – 4pm.

The Café is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am till 4pm. Fresh salads on the menu straight from the garden each day.

The Walled Garden and children’s play-area is open daily from 10am till 4pm.

The new herbaceous border created by Anna Bollom is now established on either side of the Orangery outside The Castle; blooming with a huge mix of perennials such as roses, delphiniums, geraniums, echinops and salvia.

Filled with colour in time for the Highland Games which takes place this year on Sunday 21st May – tickets are available now online or to buy at the gate.

The cold spring has caused the tulips to flower later, worth the wait they are spectacular in glorious technicolour. Come and enjoy, a warm welcome awaits.


Mum’s rhubarb crisp
A recipe from childhood which remains a favourite.
Serves 4
250g rhubarb – washed, trimmed and chopped
45g granulated sugar
115g porridge oats
60g plain flour
115g soft brown sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
85g butter or margarine – melted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Put the rhubarb into a casserole dish, sprinkle with sugar. Mix the dry ingredients, stir in melted butter and vanilla essence. Spread over the rhubarb and bake at 180C ( 160C fan) 350F, Gas 4 for 25 to 30 minutes till golden and crisp.

Great Aunt Molly’s Rhubarb pudding
Great Aunt Molly reckoned that her simple pudding idea was the very best. Simply stew rhubarb then break rich tea biscuits over and that is it. Perhaps a little cream but add nothing more.

How to stew Rhubarb.
Serves 2
To each 225g chopped rhubarb, instead of sugar allow 1 tablespoon of golden syrup to sweeten which softens the acid flavours. Pop into a pan add a little water and simmer on medium heat till tender. Cool and store in the fridge.
Broken rich tea biscuits on top? As many, or as few as you like.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

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