‘Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint and the soil and sky as canvas’  Elizabeth Murray

In the early Summer, at the end of June and into July, the garden is at its loveliest. Wander along colourful herbaceous borders, feast your eyes on the luxuriant climbing rose which clings to the red brick walls of Gardener’s cottage and across garden gateways. Originally bred by French gardener Renee Barbier, Rosa Albertine is a popular ‘Walled Garden rose’ because the lightly scented salmon pink flowers grow well, the colour off setting traditional red clay brick which was used to construct walls and buildings.

At last, after a cold, slow growing spring, piercingly blue Delphiniums, fragrant lilies, larkspur, cosmos, bright dahlias and astilbe bring life and colour.

And ‘oh,’ the famous Gordon Castle sweet peas, just waiting for more sun, to burst into multicoloured bloom.

Bouquets of garden flowers welcome visitors to the café and to stay in the castle beyond. A unique Gordon Castle bouquet subscription service is a lovely way to enjoy a monthly bouquet of seasonal garden flowers, delivered to your door within a 15 mile radius of the gardens. Subscribe here

Take time to stroll though fragrant purple lavender beds, past a lily filled pond, further into the heart of the garden; inhale scents redolent of summer accompanied by the hum of contented bees as they flit from flower to flower.

It is so good to see them back at work for they had a tough start this year when a cold spring meant that Beekeeper Jim fed them until temperatures improved.

In a wonderful way, the rejuvenated Walled garden has come full circle, fulfilling the purpose for which it was originally built many generations ago. The gardeners harvest a daily supply of fresh produce and flowers for the castle itself, the garden café and to sell in the Potting Shed Shop. Visitors can enjoy a stroll in the garden, perhaps a meal or snack in the Café then take a living memory in fresh produce and flowers home with them.

In the Potting Shed Shop you will find fresh salad leaves, tender young Kale, Mangetout, sugar snap peas, the first sweet juicy strawberries and more as crops ripen.

The first early potatoes are ready. Maris Bard, is a smaller creamy white slightly waxy potato with excellent nutty flavour.  Then Arran Pilot, an old favourite early variety. The white fleshed oval shaped potatoes have a firm sweet flavour and waxy texture ideal for salads. Cook new potatoes rapidly in boiling, salted water, drain well, steam dry and enjoy! Without doubt, the unmistakable taste of a new potato heralds the arrival of summer!

Head gardener Ed Bollom commented that, the cold spring has, in his opinion, contributed to the low yield of first early potatoes although the flavour is excellent. Later maturing, main crop potatoes are developing well.

The large greenhouse tomato crop is falling behind due to a colder spring and early summer weather. Tomatoes stop growing in temperatures under 10degrees centigrade. Ed Bollom’s advice to tomato growers is to ‘slow down watering and feeding as tomato growth slows down, but, when conditions warm and growth speeds up do the same with increased watering and feed.

Planted beneath the tomato vines, aromatic parsley and basil add to the fragrant anticipation of ripe fruit to come. There is nothing like a freshly picked, home grown sweet Scottish tomato!

A pervading scent of freshly trimmed rosemary will direct you to the herb garden on the right beyond the large greenhouse where we hope at last the tomatoes will ‘speed up!’

The gardeners are summer pruning fruit trees to allow light and air ripen apples and pears more evenly. This exercise also helps keep shape offering a chance to tie in supple new growth.

A short burst of warmth with some refreshing rain and ‘wow’ the wild flower meadows are blooming into an increasing riot of colour.

The pinks and softer hues of the sweet pea meadow on the left contrast with bright gold and red in the Crab Apple meadow which is on the right further into the midst of the garden.

The lush green open air theatre lawn is cut and ready, a fabulous setting.

On Wednesday evening we had Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” which had a great turnout (despite the weather forecast!)

On the 10th of July we have “Peter Pan” a favourite for children of all ages! Book here

View our other events here

The Garden Café is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am till 4 pm the menu reflecting freshly harvested garden produce.

Book a table here

Gordon Castle Walled Garden Cafe

A warm welcome awaits all who visit the gardens which are open daily from 10am till 4pm. A feast for the eyes, where, in a life of constant activity, this summer garden, in all its glory, offers a peaceful place to pause, reflect and be renewed in the wonder of mother nature.

With such fresh quality garden produce little is needed to make a feast, here are a few ideas…

Arran potato salad
Serves 4

225g cooked new potatoes
1 teacup cooked garden peas
2 or 3 spring onions – chopped
Freshly chopped parsley

Dressing:-
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Grinding of black pepper.

Cut the potatoes into evenly sized chunks and put into a bowl with the peas and spring onions. Put the dressing ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well. Pour enough over the potatoes to moisten and mix well. Snip plenty parsley over the top and serve. Delicious made with warm potatoes and peas.

Hot ‘n’ spicy tatties and greens
Serves 4

1 level teaspoon each – mustard and cumin seeds.
1 clove garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 level teaspoon each of ginger, coriander, cayenne pepper
2 spring onions – trimmed and chopped
Sunflower or other cooking oil
500g (1.2lbs) potatoes – peeled and cut into chunks
6 large leaves of green cabbage/kale – washed, trimmed and blanched first in boiling water for 2 minutes, drained, then plunged into cold water and drained.
Pinch of salt

Heat the oil and add the spices and stir fry till the seeds begin to pop. Add the potatoes and stir well together. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons hot water, stir, reduce the heat and cover the pan to steam the potatoes for 10 minutes stirring occasionally and adding more water if needed to prevent sticking. Shred the blanched cabbage and add to the potatoes, stir well cover and simmer 3 or 4 minutes. Season with sea salt and stir together – serve with snipped chives.

 

Fruit smorbrod
Based on a recipe from Scandinavia
Serves 4

2 bagels – split
500g tub crème fraiche or quark
12 fresh strawberries – hulled and sliced
Handful of blueberries – washed
Raspberries
Cinnamon if you like it
Icing sugar to dust.

Spread one side of the bagel thickly with crème fraiche. Arrange the fruit on top Dust with icing sugar and cinnamon if liked and pudding is served.

 

Hot fruit sundae
Simple heat any soft or over ripe soft fruit and cook a little in their own juices. Sweeten to taste with icing sugar. Pour over cold ice cream and enjoy.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

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