March & April – ‘Nature’s bridge from winter into Spring.’

April 4, 2024By Gordon CastleBlog, Gardening advice, Recipes No Comments

Despite the continuing cold, wet weather, seed sowing is in full swing, the greenhouses so full of seedlings that the gardeners are finding it difficult to make a space! Ed, The Head Gardener reckons that this year will grow from seed a total of 20,000 plants! The seeds are sown, propagated and germination has gone well so far.

Over 300 varieties of flowers including the famous Gordon Castle Sweet peas plus numerous vegetables like peas, broad beans and brassicas fill the greenhouse, steadily growing protected from low temperatures by a simple lining of bubble wrap.

In the seed nursery seedlings are pricked out and potted on to gain size and strength.

Several trays of which are already lining up outside to be ‘hardened off’ to transplant into the garden.

Gardeners Mhairi and Liz have also found time to construct a frame to support the greenhouse roses as they start to grow. Colourful bright ranunculus opposite are also supported by a strong net.

In the cold wet days of March an intrepid garden team created a wonderful growing support tunnel from local willow. Well worth a visit to admire anticipation of the  flowers, and climbing squash which will cover the structure sheltering courgettes and pumpkins growing beneath.

Monday 25th March heralded  ‘Potato planting week.’ It is important to plant before the end of the month because it gives the tubers time to grow over the next three to four weeks.  ‘Tattie lovers’ will enjoy the prospect of a variety of different heritage and more modern varieties to taste and try come Tattie lifting time!

April has arrived and all planting stations are go!  Sweet peas, broad beans, and brassicas, like kales and cabbage first into the prepared vegetable beds. Warmer weather will allow more direct seed sowing of carrots and beetroot.

The rustic wild flower meadow near garden cottage lies dormant filled with the promise of an explosion of colourful flowers, ‘bee food’!! Birch Wigwams in the pastel wild garden stand erect, a golden path of wood chippings meanders through the beds and all is anticipation! Mother nature never disappoints.

Ornamental yew hedging planted into the beds painstakingly prepared over the winter months offer a chance to follow their growth journey to maturity. In their youth the dark green saplings contrast with golden young bark chip mulch at their roots.

New apple and pear trees are planted too. I wonder if there will be fruit to taste this year?

The soft fruit garden welcomes six new strawberry varieties. With names like Red Gauntlet (redolent of Sir Walter Scot) Florence and Mawling Ace ( perhaps with a Wimbledon connection?) There is nothing to beat a freshly picked Scottish summer strawberry!

Blueberries; Spartan, Duke and Jersey will join the soft fruit team this spring.

A Gordon Castle fresh soft fruit salad this summer I think!!

The climate in Moray tends to be dry during the soft fruit growing season so a clever ‘membrane of leaky pipes’ has been installed to irrigate the soft fruit area. The results of the trial will be assessed later in the year.

Look for newly planted hazel trees situated between the pathway arches.  As they grow and mature they promise a harvest of filberts and cob nuts. Hazel trees are lovely to look at; the nuts delicious to eat.

Herb bed re-planting is an on going project as the new shape and plant collection evolves.  Sweet rocket recently planted in the shelter of rosemary bushes promises the first cut flowers this season. Gardener Mhairi assures me the flowers are fabulous!  I always thought of rocket as a salad leaf so you learn something new every day!

There is a lot to look forward to in the Walled Garden this spring.

Kitchen Garden Workshop
6th  April from 10am till 3pm including lunch and refreshments.
How to grow your own vegetables. Book here

Gordon Castle Walled Garden Heritage Vegetables

The Cut Flower Garden Workshop
20th April from 10am till 3pm including lunch and refreshments.
Enjoy a garden walk, demonstrations and the memory of a lovely day in the flowers you take home. Book here.

The Garden Café is open daily Wednesday to Sunday from 10am till 4pm.
The Walled Garden welcomes visitors daily open from 10am till 4pm.
The Potting Shed is open too selling colourful spring bouquets, daffodils and plants.

‘My winter heart is lifting as dreams of spring abound
Tulips tipped in sunshine, a crocus carpet ground
A panoply of pansies will display their violet hues
And double –headed daffodils will also pay their dues
Snowdrops will spread gently and their fragile heads will rise
As hyacinths bring splendour lilies reach for the skies
Primroses preen proudly and irises stand tall
A floral fest of colour as spring now comes to call’

Karen Stokes from The Friendship book 2024.

Spring recipes to try:

Tattie Scones
Left over mash makes delicious tatties 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 instead of wheat flour.  Roll thinly and bake till crisp – delicious with a dip.

A fresh Spring Rhubarb Cake
Not long now till the first tender stalks of spring rhubarb appears.
Makes a cake 23cm x 5cm (9in x 2in)

You will need:
175g (6oz) butter or margarine
85g (3oz) soft brown sugar
30g (1oz) honey or golden syrup
2 large eggs – beaten
175g (6oz) self raising flour sifted with
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (if liked)
115g (4oz) chopped rhubarb
Topping:-
30g (1oz)  self raising flour
60g (2oz) chopped walnuts
30g (1oz) soft brown sugar
30g (1oz) melted butter or margarine

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan) 350C, Gas 4. Oil and line the cake tin. Cream the margarine and soft brown sugar. Beat in the honey or syrup and then the eggs alternating with a little flour. Fold in the rest of the flour and cinnamon along with the rhubarb. Pour into the prepared tin and spread evenly. To make the topping measure the dry ingredients into a bowl, pour in the melted margarine and stir to mix. Scatter over the cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till risen, firm and the point of a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out cleanly. Cool in the tin.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

March Fishing Round-Up

March 27, 2024By Kirsty AllanBlog, Fishing No Comments

Blog 2 – March 27th 

March started off with the river levels continuing to drop off from the high water in February. With not many guests out on the river, this gave us more time to continue the tidy up from the winter floods and also doing some preparations for the season ahead. We have installed solar power and a log burner into the upper brae hut along with some other minor works to “modernise” the hut.

On Saturday 9th while Angus was dropping off the pictures to finish off the upper brae decorations, Andrew Davie got the estate off the mark for the 2024 season with a cracking 7lb fish from the rock pool. Proving that unless you’ve got your fly in the water, then there’s no chance of getting a fish!

We went into the following week full of hope and with the river looking a perfect height, a fish was sure to be on the cards? Alas mother nature showed us how she dictates our season as a huge landslip on the Rothes and Aikenway beat turned the river into a mix of sand and clay. At times we felt there was more chance of finding an Oompa Loompa wandering by the chocolate river as opposed to some salmon in it! This coloured water lasted all week with it only dissipating on the Saturday afternoon after a small rise helped to wash the worst of it out.

As the month continued, we’ve had a fluctuation of water and weather conditions going from 17 degrees in glorious sun to 4 degrees with a bitter north / easterly wind and now great big dumps of snowflakes are falling, threatening to cover the grass. Whist this made it hard for casting, the conditions made the log burner in the huts all the more welcoming. We have had the odd offer of a fish but nothing that has been confirmed to be Salmo Salar.

It’s encouraging to see fish being caught further up and some fantastic specimens with multiple 20lb+ fish have been caught so there must be some quality fish swimming past us. After all, they aren’t taking the bus!

We still have availability throughout the spring and even a couple of weeks later in the prime season. To find out our availability and to enquire for your trip to Gordon Castle please contact Toby on Factor@gleco.co.uk or search for Gordon Castle on Fishpal to book online.

Look forward to welcoming you soon!

Lewis Webb – Middle Brae Ghillie

Gordon Castle Fishing

March 15, 2024By Kirsty AllanBlog, Fishing No Comments

After a very destructive off season, with 5 significant storms, which caused considerable damage to our river banks and tracks, we did manage to get fishers on the river for Monday the 12th of February.  Boats repaired and painted, huts revived, logs chopped and stacked, tracks graded, ghillies refreshed, equipment serviced, river blessed – we were off.

We had a wonderful opening day in which the sun (which we hadn’t seen since September) shone and the river behaved herself as if she hadn’t run rampage for the previous three months.

The storms and associated high waters have changed our pools considerably.  It’s going to take Ian, Lewis, David G and David B the beat ghillies, a bit of time to work it all out.  Actually, I detect an air of optimism for this year.  The challenges of a harsh off season may actually be beneficial!  Otters cave, particularly is unrecognisable – it seems to have turned into Otters Loch and has eaten its way into the left bank by 15-20 metres.

Spring is certainly upon us.  There is evidence of green shoots all around and birds are in abundance.  We have already started this years battle against the Invasive species – we hit the knotweed hard last year and are hoping we can really push it back this year.

Whilst our summer fishing is quite full, we still have opportunities for March, April and May.  All the signs are that this year will be significantly better than last.

Castle Water Hut under siege during the October 2023 floods.

Winter Blog

February 9, 2024By Gordon CastleBlog, Gordon Castle 4 Comments
‘Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall, is missing the best part of the whole year: for gardening begins in January with the dream.’
Josephine Nuese

January

Pouring over seed catalogues, planning and ordering has kept head gardener, Ed Bollom, busy, working to create an ambitious planting programme. Something old and something new seasoned with heritage varieties of fruit, vegetables and flowers looking forward to the seasons ahed. Time to watch plans take shape as the gardeners plant, tend and weed!!

Battling against bitter cold, snow, rain and high winds the gardeners have pruned their way round two hundred and fifty fruit trees which grow round the garden walls. The trees, almost 100 years old, have grown to quite a height, but, with the aid of a 4 meter high scaffold the annual task will soon be completed. The remaining job is to prune the Gordon Castle Plum trees, propagated by famous head gardener, John Webster who lived and worked in the garden until his death in 1890. Ed Bollom, the present head gardener, reckons that the trees are between one hundred to one hundred and fifty years old, the trunks hollowed with age, however, they still produce a prolific harvest of rich golden fruit which contributes to the unique flavour of Gordon Castle Plum Gin.

It was decided to dig out the bed growing Jerusalem artichokes, but, easier said than done because this root vegetable is, to say the least, invasive. It took a week for a mechanical digger, excavating to a depth of 1 meter!  Now a new space offers the chance to grow different native flowers – unusual snapdragon, dahlias and summer flowering bulbs such as gladioli, lilies and freesias, joined by some ‘everlasting’ blooms, to use in wreath making courses at the end of the summer.

February

Work beings to move the mountain ash ( rowan trees) to a different area of the garden replacing them with four varieties of cultivated hazels know as filberts and cob nuts. Once the trees are established it is good to anticipate a tempting harvest of fresh hazelnuts.

The main job this month is labelled ‘ The Herb Beds.’ The task to clear the existing area in order to replant with an easily maintained, interesting range of culinary and medicinal herbs. Some, not so well known, like hyssop, loosestrife, feverfew, rare thymes and sages. Mints of which there are many, can be invasive however it is planned to grow in a contained way to prevent a mint ‘ take over!!’

 ‘Fruit tree pruning, and any pruning is less of a science than it is a conversation. You prune, the tree answers, you prune again.’
Ann Ralph

 A fruit tree pruning course led by Ed Bollom the head gardener on 2nd March will offer gardeners the invaluable opportunity to learn more about the importance of pruning skills, and,  how to train apple, apricot , pear and plum trees. It is a half day course from 10am till 12.30pm including refreshments at a price of £59.50 per person. Book here.

The Garden café and gift shop is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am till 4pm.

At this time of dreary dark days and stormy weather, to lift spirits, let us remember , American author ‘Minnie Aumonier’ who advises – ‘There is always a garden!’

The garden is open seven days a week from 10am till 4 pm. Come visit no matter the weather to find signs of spring, where snowdrops ring their snow bells in welcome and the first cherry blossom braves the cold in defiant beauty.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

I heard a bird sing in the dark of December

December 18, 2023By Gordon CastleBlog No Comments
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December,
A magical thing,
And sweet to remember:
“We are nearer to spring
Than we were in September.”
Oliver Herford, “Hope,” in The Century Magazine, 1914

 

As the garden is ‘put to bed’ for the winter it is wonderful to reflect that under the chilly earth the promise of spring is beginning to stir.

This month snow and ice has been a big issue which has caused much extra work to keep the roads open for staff and visitors alike.

The vinery for the moment is a ‘wreath making production line’, where freshly harvested greenery is transformed into a variety of stunning Christmas Wreaths. All the workshops were a sell out success and saw another forty two newly trained ‘wreath makers’ go on their way rejoicing!

Gordon Castle hand-made natural wreaths will be on sale until Christmas Eve at the price of £25.00 for a small and £40.00 for a large wreath, these are for sale in our potting shed.

The potting shed shop is bulging with fresh vegetables; the all important brussels sprouts, parsnips, leeks, potatoes, cabbage and kale join the never ending supply of Gordon Castle heritage apples. Local, no food miles, ideal for the canny Christmas cook or chef!

The gardeners are on the last tidy up of the year, weeding, edging and sweeping up piles of autumn leaves added to the composting collection to break down into ‘leaf mould’ which will enrich the soil in the future. Sets of secateurs and loppers are honed sharp ready to start pruning fruit trees and bushes at the start of the year.

The gardeners are keen to make sure all is tidy before a well earned break however; the garden still welcomes visitors while the café, serving freshly prepared festive fare, remains open Wednesday to Sunday over the holiday.

Plans are already in place for some exciting happenings in 2024 so watch this space!!

There will be seventeen courses and workshops taking place over the year and here are ideas for the gardening diary.

‘Grow your own flowers and vegetables,’ during April is followed by ‘Hand Tied Bouquet’ work shops from May until August. The autumn will see a return of the ‘Dried Flower Wreath’ making course and, off course, the very popular ‘Christmas Wreath’ making in December.

New, fun workshops for children start in spring with ‘Seed Sowing’ and an exciting one entitled ‘ Make your own Flower Crown!’

Look for a new ‘garden experience’ opportunity! Treat yourself or friends and family to a special visit to the Walled Garden through the purchase of vouchers on the website.

Not forgetting the opportunity to join the Gin School and create a bespoke gin ‘ just to your taste!’

Everyone involved with the Walled Garden would like to take this opportunity to thank visitors volunteers and friends for your support in 2023 and look forward to welcoming back into the garden in 2024 when Head gardener Ed Bollom says ‘the garden will be even more beautiful than ever!’

Blog Snow March Gordon Castle Walled Garden

“May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; 
The spirit of Christmas which is peace; 
The heart of Christmas which is love.”
–   Ada V. Hendrick

Some more recipes from the Walled Garden to enjoy:

Sticky cranberry and redcurrant sausages
Serves 4 people

8 thick pork, beef or venison sausages
2 tablespoons Gordon Castle cranberry sauce with red currants
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1 dessertspoon honey
Salt and pepper
Grated zest of 1 orange

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan), 350F, Gas 4. Line a roasting tin with foil and oil well. Prick the sausages, lay in the tin and cook for 10 minutes in the oven. Mix the cranberry sauce with the marmalade, honey, salt and pepper and orange zest. Remove the sausages from the oven and coat well with the cranberry mix. Roast a further 10 to 15 minutes till tender and caramelised. Serve hot or cold.

Bisc’oat’ie
A Scottish take on an Italian favourite.

85g porridge oats
45g plain flour ( gluten free flour works too)
1 teaspoon baking powder
75g caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
45g pistachio nuts
30g dried cranberries
Grated zest of an orange
1 large egg

Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan) 325 F, Gas 3. Oil a baking tray and line it with non- stick baking parchment. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the orange zest and the egg. Mix well till the mixture forms clumps then bring together using your hands. Turn out onto a floured board and knead into a long torpedo shape approximately 23cm (9in) x 6cm (2 ½ in) wide. Lay onto the lined tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes till pale golden and set – the mix will spread a little. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire tray for 10 minutes. Turn down the oven to 140C (120C fan) 275F, Gas 1. Using a sharp long bladed knife slice the cooled torpedo shape into diagonal slices about 2cm (3/4 in) across. Lay flat on the baking tray and place into the middle of the oven to dry out for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning once. Cool on the tray and store in an airtight container – will keep for up to 4 weeks. Drying the slices at a lower temperature keeps the colour of the pistachio nuts.

Helensburgh Toffee
 An old family recipe.

1 teacup ( 150mls) milk or water
115g  butter
900g  granulated sugar
1 tin condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Oil a tin approximately 30cm (10in) x 20cm (8in), .Melt the butter and water in a pan. Add sugar. Stir until dissolved and boil slowly 5 minutes stirring all the time. Add the condensed milk and stir till boiling. Keep stirring. Fill a cup with cold water. When the mixture darkens and begins to thicken, test by dropping a little into the water. When it forms a firm chewy ball as it falls to the bottom of the cup the toffee is ready for the next stage. Remove from the heat, allow to settle and add the essence. Beat with a wooden spoon till it begins to grain then quickly pour into a prepared tin. When set mark into squares.  Turn out onto a clean board, break into squares and store in an airtight tin or put into bags, seal and share with family and friends.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

The earth is growing quiet

November 29, 2023By Gordon CastleBlog No Comments
“The earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.”  In November by Cynthia Rylant

The earth is quietly resting. However, the gardeners are not, for they are tackling two huge projects which will take several weeks to complete.

The planting of a new yew hedge in the north west side of the garden has begun. Part of the long-term garden plan it will stretch 130metres to enclose the cherry orchard. It is an ongoing project designed to provide more interest by creating ‘garden rooms.’

Evergreen and slow growing a further yew hedge will reflect a similar one which is now established round the soft fruit area.

Already trenches are dug with wooden edges in place awaiting 20 tons of top soil prior to planting the 500 yew trees which will create the new hedge screen.

Project number two is labour intensive and will take some time to complete. ‘Watch this space,’ as they say because the renovation and replanting of the 70 square meter herb garden is ‘quite some undertaking!’ One consolation is that digging out aromatic plants such as fennel, lemon balm, camomile and rosemary releases heady aromas redolent of the approaching festive season, scented candles and cosy winter nights by a crackling log fire.

Planting a combination of medicinal and culinary herbs is at the planning stage. Head Gardener Ed Bollom and his team continue to remove overgrown plants while retaining the rosemary hedges which divide the area. The groundwork is almost half way to completion; followed by replanting to create a diverse area of interest which will be more easily maintained.

With the flower beds tidied and the garden put to bed for the winter, this is the best time to prune because the apple and pear trees are in a dormant state. The pear trees which grow over the archways are first, to encourage new spring growth to further cover the arches. It is a long job taking several months to complete.

Meanwhile the Potting Shed Shop is bursting with apples, freshly dug leeks, parsnips and winter cabbage. This much overlooked vegetable grows well here, there are an abundance of tasty recipes to be made. Brussels sprouts sweetened by a nip of frost will soon be on sale. There are also on request, Jerusalem artichokes, which though fiddly to prepare make a delicious bowl of soup.

Then there is the enjoyable task of decking the halls with holly and more in time for;

Christmas afternoon tea served in the Garden café from the end of the month.
Find more information here.

The Walled Garden Gift shop is filled with unique decorations and gifts, I love the baubles filled with plum or raspberry gin! What a clever idea! Come have a browse, our shop is open 7 days a week 11am-4pm.

Now is the time to think about ordering a Christmas Wreath. Completely hand made with foliage and flowers specifically grown in the gardens for this purpose. No ‘plant miles’ or ‘plastic ‘ involved. Made with care and joy to provide pleasure and cheer deck your halls for Christmas. Pre-order your wreath here.

At this time of the year a cook’s thoughts naturally turn to cakes and more besides, so here are a few recipes to try using fresh garden produce;

JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE SOUP
Serves 3 to 4 people

You will need:
440g Jerusalem artichokes – scrubbed, trimmed and chopped
150g potatoes – peeled and chopped
50g butter
500mls vegetable stock
½ teaspoon fresh lemon thyme or garden thyme
Zest of ½ lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper

Gently cook the artichokes and potatoes in the butter slowly stirring for 5 minutes. Add stock, lemon thyme and zest. Bring to the boil, then simmer 20 minutes or till the vegetables are tender. Add lemon juice and season to taste. Blend smooth and serve hot.

 

GARLIC BUTTER WINTER CABBAGE WITH OATS AND WALNUTS
Serves 4

Wash and shred half a winter cabbage. Melt 30g butter in a saucepan, add a crushed clove of garlic along with the cabbage and stir fry for 2 or 3 minutes. Season well with salt and ground black pepper add a splash of water and steam for a few minutes till wilted and tender. Remove from the heat, drain retaining the juices. Keep warm.

Topping:-
30g butter
30g chopped walnuts
60g porridge oats
Salt and black pepper

Melt the butter, add walnuts and oats and keep stirring to toast. Toss onto the cabbage while hot. For those who like a spice add chilli or garam masala to the mix. Alternatively freshly chopped herbs like parsley or coriander.

 

RASPBERRY GIN CRANNACHAN
Serves 2 people

You will need:
5 tablespoons Gordon Castle Raspberry Gin Liqueur
60g (2oz) medium oatmeal
115g (4oz) raspberries
30g (1oz) honey
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
150mls double cream
15g caster sugar
Toasted jumbo oatflakes

The day before, put the oatmeal in a bowl, cover with the gin and stir in the honey. Cover and leave to soak overnight. The following day stir in the raspberries and crème fraiche leaving 8 whole fruits to decorate. Whisk the cream with the sugar till thick. Toast the oatflakes. Assemble the dessert in tall glasses. Add a spoon of oatmeal mix then one of cream, repeat then decorate the top cream with toasted oat flakes and fresh raspberries.

 

GORDON CASTLE PLUM GIN CHRISTMAS CAKE 
There is nothing like the tantalizing aroma of a slowly baking Christmas cake to herald the feast to come.

You will need:
225g (8oz) currants
225g (8oz) raisins
225g (8oz) sultanas

To soak the night before baking the cake:
2 tablespoon Gordon Castle plum gin liqueur
4 tablespoons hot water
Cover the bowl and leave in a cool place.

115g (4oz) cherries- washed and dried
115g (4oz) mixed peel
175g (6oz) chopped ready to eat apricots
350g (12oz) plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
225g (8oz) butter
175g (6oz) soft brown sugar
60g (2oz) honey
The grated rind and juice of 1 orange
5 eggs – beaten
2 tablespoons Gordon Castle plum gin

To feed the cake:-
Gordon Castle Plum Gin Liqueur
Put the currants, raisins and sultanas into a bowl add the water and gin and soak overnight. Oil and line a baking tin 23cm (9in) square. The following day, heat the oven at 160C (140C fan) 325F Gas 3. Weigh the cherries, mixed peel and apricots into the bowl of soaked fruits and stir together. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl. Cream the butter, sugar and honey till light then beat in the orange rind and juice followed by the eggs alternately with a spoon of flour to prevent curdling. Fold in the remaining flour along with the gin. Fold in the fruits and soaking juices. Gently spoon the cake mixture into the prepared tin and lightly tap the base of the tin on the work surface to even the mix. Wet a clean hand in warm water and use the palm or back of the knuckles to flatten and smooth the surface, particularly in the middle to help prevent the cake rising to a peak while baking. Bake 60 minutes then reduce the oven heat to 150C (130C fan) 300F, Gas 1 for a further 30 minutes. Test the middle of the cake by inserting a skewer or point of a sharp knife. If it comes out cleanly and the cake feels firm and springy to gentle pressure, the cake is ready. If not bake a further 15 to 20 minutes and repeat the test. Cool in the tin. Pour over 2 tablespoons of plum gin while warm and repeat twice as the cake cools. Leave 24 hours to set in the tin. Remove, wrap in foil and store in a cool place. Bake the cake at least 1 week in advance to allow flavours to mature. Marzipan and ice as required.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

‘Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.’

October 16, 2023By Gordon CastleBlog No Comments
“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.”  ( Robert H Schuller)

In The Walled Garden nearly one hundred varieties of apple trees grow, so there are apples a plenty to harvest. Already one ton of freshly picked fruit has been sent to a local producer to be pressed into Gordon Castle apple juice which will be on sale in the shop and served in The Walled Garden Café.

The Potting Shed Shop features a stunning display from russet golden fruits, to shiny reds and vivid greens with names like Stirling Castle, raised in 1820 by nursery man John Christie who kept a toy shop at Causey head near Stirling, Ingrid Marie, a juicy red skinned apple of Danish origins dated 1910, or St Edmunds pippin from 1875, a sweet russet English apple bred in Bury St Edmunds; even winter banana an aromatic sweet apple from Indiana! Each and every apple has a story to tell.

The Walled Garden’s number one apple for 2023 is called ‘Joybells.’  A large fruit with a reddish orange striped green skin and crisp sweet-tart flavour. A dessert apple, with a delicious crunch, it adds a distinctive ‘appleness’ baked into puddings and pies. Raised from seed in the late 1800’s by Robert Lloyd, head gardener at Brookwood Hospital in Woking Surrey and subsequently introduced by William Taylor of Godalming Surrey. Previously known as ‘Lloyd’s Joybells’ this apple won ‘The Award of Merit’ from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1922 but unfortunately there is no record of its parentage.  What a happy name! I like to think of patients enjoying freshly picked fruits from the orchard in the hospital grounds.

There is a good crop of pears with up to 500 fruits neatly laid in trays to ripen in the small greenhouse. Pears do not keep well once they are ripe and ready to eat so the café and Potting Shed Shop have a steady supply at present.  However the season is a short one as pears unlike apples do not keep over the winter time. They are best enjoyed fresh or turned into preserves, cakes and chutneys.

Ed Bollom, the head gardener has taken delivery of 10,000 spring bulbs; including thirty different tulip varieties such as Angelique pink, Purple Prince and Green Star;

The gardeners will be hard at work planting them into the flower beds and spring pots over the next six weeks. Buried treasure they promising a blaze of colour to greet spring 2024 when it arrives! The flower and vegetable beds must first be stripped out, all goes for composting and then it is down to the planting!!

A prolific crop of pumpkins decorates the café. All weird and wonderful shapes they are for sale in the shop along with a myriad of colourful gourds which; unlike their pumpkin kin; will keep well up to Christmas time and beyond.  On the last weekend of October, follow the Halloween trail to find pumpkins hidden in secret places all round the garden!

The Walled Garden Café open weekly, Wednesday to Sunday from 10am till 4pm is planning a seasonal menu!

A new Gordon Castle Walled Garden calendar for 2024 features unusual high quality seasonal garden photographs. There is a limited supply, on sale from the beginning of November.

The potting shed shop has plenty fresh garden produce for sale including the last of the heritage tomatoes, leeks, kale, potatoes, ready to eat pears, an assortment of delicious apples (eaters and cookers). Once frosts arrive there will be parsnips sweetened by that first nip of cold.

We only have a few of our the popular Christmas Wreath making workshops left available for booking.

It is never too early to order a special festive wreath for collection from The Walled Garden here, or take advantage of our pre-made dried wreaths in our shop! There are also still some fresh Autumnal flower bouquets and dried flower bouquets for sale in our shop and potting shed.

The shop is full of luxury products from Gordon Castle’s own range of locally produced jams, chutneys and honey from our own hives, special seed packets to grow your own vegetables or flowers, a cook book of recipes from the Walled Garden.

Buy a bottle of the famous Gordon Castle Gin or Liqueur and save yourself money with refills. Or try making your own at the Gin School – book online.

With fine weather the enduring sun illuminates fiery hued autumn leaves on bush and tree in a walk round the garden, perhaps anticipating an enjoyable meal or tea and cake in the café, then a visit to take a wee bit of the garden home with you from the Potting Shed shop. A day out to enjoy before winter chills set in!

No matter the weather a warm welcome always awaits.

Try some of our delicious Autumn recipes below:

OLD FASHIONED APPLE GINGER

 1.35kg (3lb) cooking apples – peeled cored and sliced
85g (3oz) root ginger – peeled and grated
The juice of 2 lemons
1 teacup of water
450g (1lb) granulated sugar
1 level teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)

Wash and sterilise up to 10 jars 250 ml capacity.  Put the sliced apples, ginger, lemon juice and water into a deep pan bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.  Add the sugar and stir continuously till the mix boils, reduce the heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add chilli if liked.  I jar some without chilli and some with to cater for all tastes. Serve with roasts, fish and a tangy cheese. Store in a cool place and use within 2 months. To extend the ‘shelf life’ add 1 teaspoon of citric acid before bottling.

 

AUTUMN APPLE SPONGE CAKE
Makes a cake 20cm (8in) diameter
Bake at 190C (170C fan) 375 F, Gas 5

Sponge:-
3 large eggs
75g (2 ½ oz) caster sugar
30g (1oz) honey
75g (2 ½ oz) self raising flour
20g ( ¾ oz) rolled oats
2 large cooking apples – peeled cored and sliced

Icing to finish:-
Icing sugar
Lemon juice

Turn on the oven to heat the oil and line the tin. Whisk the eggs, sugar and honey till thick and creamy.  Sift in the flour and add the oats. Stir in gently and then pour into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Lay apple slices in overlapping rows over the surface of the sponge and then bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the middle of the oven. Remove from the oven when firm and springy to touch. Cool in the tin. Drizzle with lemon water ice when cool, cut and serve freshly baked.

 

RUSTIC CIDER APPLE CHEESE SCONES
A quick scone recipe easily made at the last minute.

175g (6oz) self raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
45g (1 ½ oz) grated eating apple
45g (1 ½ oz) chopped walnuts
60g (2oz) grated mature cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
60g (2oz) melted butter
1 egg beaten with
Gordon Castle cider to mix
Handful of rolled oats

Turn on the oven to heat at 200C (180C fan) 400F, Gas 6. Oil and line a baking tray.  Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the apple, walnuts, cheese and a small handful of oats and mix together. Stir in the melted butter then stir in the egg with enough cider to make a soft, elastic dough. Flour the baking tray and turn the scone mix out onto the middle of it. Dust with flour and pat out to a round approx 2.5cm (1in) thick. Mark into 8 wedges with the blade of a knife. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes till risen and golden. Cool on the tray. Cut into wedges and eat warm and freshly baked.

 

FUDGEY CHOCOLATE PEAR CAKE

115g (4oz) margarine or butter
115g (40z) soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
140g (5oz) self raising flour
30g (1oz) cocoa powder
2 eggs – beaten
2 pears – peeled, cored and chopped
Turn on the oven at 180C (160C fan) 350F, Gas 4. Oil and line a square baking tin20cm (8in). Cream the margarine, sugar and syrup till light, beat in the eggs and then fold in the sifted flour, cocoa and chopped pears. Pour into the prepared tin, even the top of the cake, tap the base of the tin on a hard surface to remove any trapped air. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes till risen and firm and the point of a skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Cool in the tin. Serve warm with cream or ice cream as a dessert, or cold dredged with vanilla sugar as an afternoon tea cake.

 

PEAR AND GINGER CRUNCH
Makes a tray

85g (3oz) rolled oats
175g (6oz) self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
150g (5oz) margarine
115g (4oz) soft brown sugar
115g (4oz) chopped pears

Topping:-
60g (2oz) margarine
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon ginger
115g (4oz) icing sugar
Turn on the oven at 160C (140C fan) 325F, Gas 3. Oil the baking tin. Cream the margarine and sugar till soft and fluffy, stir in the other ingredients and spread evenly in the prepared tin. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till firm and golden. Leave to cool while you make the topping. Put all the topping ingredients into a pan and heat over a medium heat stirring till the mixture boils. Remove from the heat, cool a little then pour over the base. Spread evenly and allow to cool and set. Cut into fingers and serve. Store in an airtight container.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

This morning, the sun endures past dawn.

September 11, 2023By Gordon CastleBlog No Comments
“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.

Glorious July

July 25, 2023By Gordon CastleBlog No Comments
Glorious July, flowers bloom, fruit and vegetables ripen, the garden beckons!

A giant hare statue, redolent of psychedelic art, stands on sentry duty. He is one of 40 exhibited throughout Moray & Aberdeenshire to raise awareness of Clan Cancer Support, which will be auctioned later in the year to raise funds for the charity. Hares had a significant presence in Roman mythology; a unique coincidence for this month takes its name from the famous Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.

After a ‘hare raising welcome’ I like to think he would have enjoyed a leisurely stroll in the garden grounds taking time to appreciate his surroundings because Romans were themselves dedicated gardeners.
The garden overflows with colourful flowers of every shape size and hue. Local florists save flower miles coming each week to select and pick fresh from the garden and, of course, the gorgeous Gordon Castle bouquets on sale each weekend are without doubt a wonderful way to take a lasting garden memory into your own home.

Lavender beds surround the lily pond in a sea of every imaginable shade of purple.


Sit a while, relax, listen to the buzz of happy honey bees, inhale the soporific perfume of lavender and let the world fade away.
The lavender flowers will be harvested at the beginning of August to extract the essential oils used in the fragrant garden bath and beauty range, so popular with visitors.

Each day fresh soft fruit and vegetables fill the new fridge in the Potting Shed Shop. The selection includes freshly picked garden peas, broad beans, courgettes, raspberries, and strawberries, black, red and white currants. Kale, cabbage and calabrese are also on sale. Don’t forget the potatoes, several varieties are harvested as they mature, Arran Pilot and Red Dukes of York so far have proved a plentiful and flavourful crop.

Take care when boiling the latter variety which tends to be a floury quickly cooked potato which disintegrates if over cooked. Simmer slowly to cook quickly through then drain and steam, they also make crispy roast potatoes and chips.

In the large greenhouse tomatoes are slowly ripening, clever planting of marigolds and basil at their feet serves to produce an aroma redolent of all things Italian tomato, mouth watering and appetising!!

In the middle part of the greenhouse, Jenny Abde, a local potter, is staging an exhibition of her work called ‘ Earth Informs Clay’ which is inspired by single use plastics. Last year Jenny displayed her pottery beside the lavender beds, and is delighted to return with her latest designs.

Summer pruning of espaliered, step over and arched fruit trees is necessary at this time of the year to keep their shape thus letting light and air circulate to allow the fruit to ripen. Head gardener, Ed Bollom, anticipates a smaller crop of apples, pears and plums this year. The cold spring affected blossom pollination because the pollinators found it too cold to venture forth – as we all did! The lack of rain in June has also caused some growing fruit to drop. However, there will be plenty of fruit come the autumn just not the bounty of previous bumper years.

And ‘Oh’ the wild flower meadows! Simply exquisite! On the left just beyond the big greenhouse lies the ‘Sweet Pea’ meadow. Twig wigwams covered in a profusion of pastel coloured sweet peas watch over an abundance of different wild flowers.

In bright contrast, beyond the herb garden, on the right ‘Crab Apple’ meadow is aflame with hot oranges, crimsons, yellows and reds. Both are worthy of a photograph as an enduring summer memory to illuminate cold darker days.


On the far side of the garden lies the grass maze, fun to walk; where you may be lucky enough to find some common spotted orchids, which Ed hopes will spread and grow more prolifically as the years pass. Wander here slowly listening for a skylark ‘soaring ever singing’ in the lazy summer air.

The Walled Garden Café serving a rich variety of freshly prepared garden produce is open 10am till 4pm Wednesday to Sunday. The Walled Garden Shop and gardens are open seven days a week from 10am till 4pm.

A warm welcome awaits; wind down and relax.

Take a taste of The Walled Garden home to enjoy, all fruit and vegetables fresh each day at the Potting Shed Shop.

Here are some recipes to try;

GARDEN SUMMER VEGETABLE SALAD

You will need;
225g broad beans – blanched and skinned
1 baby courgette thinly sliced
225g sugar snap and mange-tout peas sliced and quickly blanched
1 ripe tomato chopped
3 spring onions – peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Spicy sweet and sour dressing 
1 tablespoon each of;
Cider vinegar, tomato ketchup, salad oil and soft brown sugar.
Mix together and season to taste with chilli powder and a little sea salt.

Prepare the vegetables, mix together adding the parsley last, then stir in the dressing and serve.
A similar mix can make a stir fry.

STIR FRIED SUMMER SALAD
Heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan, add garlic and chilli to season then toss in the vegetables and stir fry for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt. Add 1 tablespoon water or stock, cover the pan to steam for 1 minute, stir in the dressing and serve.
For the adventurous instead of water add whisky or gin. Flambee and when the flames die down stir in the dressing and serve.
The above recipe is just a guide line. Use any mix of tender freshly picked summer vegetables, they are at their best just now. Use any dressing of your choice mayonnaise, vinaigrette the list is endless.

ERDBEER KUCHEN
German Strawberry cake
Makes a round tin 20cm (8in)

You will need;
2 eggs
60g (2oz) caster sugar
60g (2oz) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
100g  (3 ½ oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
175g (6oz)  strawberries
Raspberry or strawberry jam

Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan) 375F, Gas 5. Oil and line the base of the tin with greaseproof paper. Whisk the eggs and sugar together till thick and creamy, stir in the butter, flour and baking powder very gently to keep as much air as possible in the mixture. Pour into the prepared tin and tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes till risen and firm to touch. Cool a little in the tin then loosen the cake with the blade of a knife. Place the tin sponge side down onto a wire cooling rack, tap gently on the bottom of the inverted tin and the cake should drop out onto the rack.  Leave to cool. Lift onto a flat serving plate.

Spread the top with jam. Trim and slice the strawberries, then lay overlapping on top. Melt the rest of the jam with a little water and brush gently over the fruit to glaze. Enjoy with lashings of whipped double cream!!

You can make a similar cake with raspberries – Himbeeren in German!

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.

June the gateway to summer when…

June 21, 2023By Gordon CastleBlog No Comments
June the gateway to summer when…

‘The sun shines for you, birds sing for you, flowers bloom for you so don’t forget to smile for you!’ (Marjory Pay Hinkley)

We all love bright sunshine and warmth but there has been little or no rain this month so the gardeners are flat out watering plants to keep them alive. Almost everything has been planted out, the cut flower beds are full and the vegetable beds are catching up!

The longest day has passed along with a bumper fresh asparagus crop for this year. Already fresh produce is being picked for use in The Walled Garden Café, Castle kitchens and to sell in The Walled Garden Shop.

Mangetout, sugar snap and garden peas; salad crops cut fresh each day;delicious mixed leaves with names like little gem, salad bowl, the pink tinged leaves of lollo rosso and easily recognisable ‘freckles!’

Soft fruit is ripening, starting with strawberries which are smaller this year due to dry weather but still sweet and full of summer goodness.

Not long now till the first new tatties are ready. A variety called Casablanca looks to be first out of the soil. This potato has a white fluffy flesh, excellent for steaming, boiling, roasting and chipping. Next up will be Arran Pilot, it is recommended as a flavoursome first early potato, I look forward to a taste test boiling of these; sprinkled with a little oatmeal – a feast.

This year the tomato plants were planted directly into the greenhouse soil. They are growing well and developing trusses of fruit indicate that there will be fresh tomatoes ready to eat soon. Growing at their feet are edible marigolds and basil. The aroma of all three together is mouth watering.

The continuing high temperatures mean it is hard to keep up the pace of work in the garden.

Round the garden flowers of every shape and hue are bursting into bloom. In the trial beds clarkia and unusual dahlias are joined by helichrysuim and Statice. The later two are suitable for drying with a view to creating a dried flower arranging workshop in the Autumn.

The central herbaceous borders are coming into their own and the lavender meadow surrounding the pond is liberally dusting with a haze of purple.

The Gordon Castle bees delighted!!
‘How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower! (Isaac Watts)

A large variety of flowering and vegetable plants are on sale at The Potting Shed Shop.

Gin School Weekends are very popular. Join Michelle Myron to forage botanicals from the garden then learn the art of distilling to make your own small batch gin.

Booking is essential, secure your session here.

The Walled Garden Café features freshly picked garden produce on the menu and is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am till 4pm.

The outdoor theatre kicks off this year on 2nd July with David Walliam’s ‘Bad Dad’ performed by Heartbreak production. Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility follows on July 7th and on 29th July the company perform MacHamLear by Michael Davies.

Tickets available here.

There is much happening at The Walled Garden, vegetables are growing, plants are flowering, bees are buzzing . July beckons when the garden is certainly in full bloom and production.

All are welcome in this wonderful place of vibrant colour and great peacefulness.

 

Quick Spiced Walnut & Oat Salad Topping
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
85g Hamlyn’s porridge oats
60g chopped walnuts
30g pumpkin seeds
1/8th teaspoon chilli flakes
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Toss in the other ingredients and keep stirring till hot and toasted. Serve hot over a green salad . Cool and store in an airtight container and use on salads as needed.
Use peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, herbs instead of spices.

Warm 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scottish Tomato and Syboe Salad
Serves 4
4 large ripe tomatoes
3 or 4 spring onions or Syboes
A few chives if you have any
Dressing made as above.
Choose a wide flat dish. Cut the tomatoes in half. Cut a small v round the core/stalk and remove. Lay flat onto a chopping board and slice thinly. Discard the end pieces. Lay onto the plate in an overlapping circle starting at the outside. Snip the spring onions and chives over the top. Drizzle with dressing, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Kindly written by Liz Ashworth for Gordon Castle Walled Garden.