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


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.


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.

From the Highlands, with love

June 18, 2019By Gordon CastleBlog, Gordon Castle, Wedding No Comments

Swapping toasty climates for a cool Highland breeze, Emily and Ian joined us all the way from Florida last June. Although from the US, Emily and her husband Ian had spent a great deal of time in Elgin while working out of Lossiemouth with the RAF. It was during this time that the Highlands became a special place in their hearts and they wanted nothing more than to share it with the people they love!

Emily and Ian invited 22 of their closest friends and family as they tied the knot in the Orangery before moving to the upper octagonal hall, beautifully decorated by Wild Gorse Studio.  The Orangery was then transformed allowing guests to dance the night away to The Dandy Ceilidh Band. 

The details

Venue – Gordon Castle Estate
Photographer – Steven Gallagher Photography
Band – The Dandy Ceilidh Band. 
Florist – Wild Gorse
Cake – Laura Love Lane
Hair – Suzanne McMahon Hair

Our favourite annual event is back…

March 29, 2019By Gordon CastleBlog, Gordon Castle 2 Comments

Our favourite annual event is back…


From caber tossing to equestrian stunt riders, Gordon Setter gatherings to chainsaw displays; the Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair returns on Sunday 19th May 2019 with an eclectic mix of entertainment for all the family. Entering its ninth year, the annual Fochabers Games looks set to welcome 10,000 national and international visitors to the one-day family event in the north east of Scotland.

Held in the historic grounds of Gordon Castle, the event brings together traditional Scottish entertainment and country sports performances to ensure something for everyone. The heavy events arena will play host to the Scottish 28lb Weight for Distance Championships, as well as the ever-popular caber toss, massed pipe band parade and tug o’ war.

Having featured in several BBC and STV productions, Riders of the Storm will be headlining the country sports arena and delivering an exhilarating equestrian performance showcasing incredible skill, balance and control. In addition, the arena will also feature regular favourites Mordor Gundogs, Ore Country Terriers and Speyside Falconry Display.

Also headlining the Country Sports arena is the castle’s latest campaign. Launched in February 2018, the owners Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox have sent out a nationwide plea to save the Gordon Setter breed from disappearing as Kennel Club UK* reports a 60% decline in registrations. In a bid to raise awareness for the dog, Angus and Zara have invited Gordon Setters and their owners to join them in the Country Sports arena at 12pm on 19th May as they attempt the largest gathering of this iconic breed.

Another new addition for 2019, Gig at the Games will be held on the evening of Friday 17th May as part of the Highland Games programme. The musical performance will feature multi-award-winning folk band RURA, supported by local favourites Calum Jones and the Trad Project.

For foodies and craft lovers, our two dedicated marquees return once again to showcase the finest local artisans and crafters. For gin lovers, the Gordon Castle Gin bar will continue to be a popular feature in the Castle’s orangery as it showcases the award-winning botanical gin.

Together the family event – brought back to life in 2011 by the current owners – offers a diverse programme showcasing some of Scotland’s greatest talents. The event will be held in the picturesque grounds of Gordon Castle Estate in Fochabers on Sunday 19th May 2019 (10:00 – 17:00). For information about the event visit

And as always, we’re 100% dog friendly!