“This morning, the sun endures past dawn. I realise that it is August: the summer’s last stand.”
– Sara Baume

Not so much a last stand but an ‘on growing’ bounty of fresh produce. The daily harvest is on sale at The Potting Shed Shop.  Head Gardener, Ed Bollom, describes this time of the year as the garden being ‘ in full swing!’

Indeed it is, with Victoria plums ripening, along with the numerous varieties of eating apples.

This week the gardeners picked Laxton a delicious, crisp sweet aromatic apple. There are vegetables a plenty:- purple and green cauliflowers, cabbages which are particularly flavoursome this year, plus a wide variety of kales to suit every taste! A bumper crop of runner beans, mange tout and sugar snap peas, in the large greenhouse a prolific crop of steadily ripening tomatoes.

The onions have done well this year and lie in the sun to dry, this will help them to keep longer.

Courgettes large and small and of course freshly dug potatoes, Sarpo Una on sale just now with Pink Fir apple, Cara, Sarpo Kylie British Queen and other heritage potatoes to look forward to.

Gordon Castle is taking part in a trial with Orkney International Science Festival using rock dust to fertilise and mineralise soil. Charlotte potatoes grown with and without rock dust have been produced for the finale event at Orkney College UHI on 8th September when results will be revealed. It is thought that use of rock dust also aids carbon capture.

A small number of honeydew melons grew successfully in the small greenhouse along with the cucumbers.

Everlasting flowers like status (sea lavender) Billy buttons and straw flowers are hung to dry suspended from The Potting Shed Roof in preparation for a 2 hour workshop on 23rd September. A sample wreath lying in the Potting Shed caught my eye so I took a photo to share on this blog. Booking for the Dried Flower Wreath Workshop can be viewed here.

Cutting lavender growing round the lily pond is in progress after which the aromatic flowers will be distilled to produce essential oils used in the Gordon Castle skin products.

Apples picked each day travel to a local producer to be pressed into Gordon Castle apple juice and fermented in to Gordon Castle cider.

The wild flower meadows slowly changing into autumnal hues punctuate the mature garden which is laden with ripe fruit and vegetables. Still flowers everywhere as the seasons change.

Protected in the large greenhouse bloom chrysanthemums and roses – worth a peep in the door!

The garden’s summer visiting Hare is moving to a new home for he will soon be auctioned with his hare friends to raise money for Clan Cancer. We shall miss him and his friend’s who move onto pastures new.

The garden café serving a cornucopia of fresh garden produce is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am until 4pm. Book a lovely homemade lunch here.

The garden and shop is open daily from 10am till 4 pm. It may be summer’s last stand but the garden remains ever changing ever welcoming. Time to squeeze in one last summer adventure! Book garden entry tickets here.

Bacon floddies

A great recipe – make it veggie omitting the bacon.
I tend to use par-cooked tatties now to make because it gives a crisper result. A wee bit like Swiss Rosti.

1 large potato – cooked and grated
1 small onion – peeled and chopped
60g (2oz) bacon – chopped
30g (1oz) mushrooms – chopped
1 egg – beaten
Oil for frying
Pinch of thyme if liked
Salt and black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper adding thyme if liked. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and cook spoonfuls of the mix. Cook on each side about three minutes and turn to cook the underside till crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen towel and enjoy freshly cooked.

You can make these with other meats – what do you like?


Tattie Scones

225g (8oz) mashed potatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
15g ( ½ oz) butter melted
115g (4oz) self raising flour

Mix all together and knead into a smooth ball. You may need more flour depending on how wet the potatoes are. Divide into two. Roll out each into a thin round and cut into four or 6 triangles. Heat a frying pan or girdle on medium heat and bake for 4 to 5 minutes till golden on each side. Cool in a clean tea towel on a wire tray.

Enjoy freshly baked.
You can use gluten free self raising flour and a little gum instead of wheat flour.

Courgette and walnut cake
Based on a recipe baked by Orkney friend Barbara Todd’s mother.

175g (6oz) plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
175g (6oz) caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs beaten with
75mls (2 ½ fl oz) oil
175g (6oz) grated courgette
60g (2oz) chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan) 350F, Gas 4. Oil and line a 450g (1lb) loaf tin.
Sift the flour, baking powder, spice and sugar into a bowl. Mix the eggs, oil and courgettes and add to the dry mixture along with the walnuts and stir together. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour till risen and firm and the point of a skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Cool in the tin and eat freshly bake. Store in the fridge.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

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