How to make dried flower wreaths

October 3, 2018By Gordon CastleBlog, Gardening advice No Comments

Dried Flower Wreath Tutorial

If you love the season – but don’t love the garish costumes, pumpkin pie and screaming children that tend to accompany it – then our dried flower wreaths are for you. Plus, it’s not October specific – we have ours on show all year round!

To make our dried flower wreath you will need:

  1. Secateurs or sharp scissors
  2. Jute string or florists wire
  3. A rattan wreath base (ours are 16 inch rattan bases from Hobbycraft)
  4. A selection of dried flowers

The method:

Making a wreath is much more simple than it looks. We use pre-made wreath bases to speed up the process but you can make your own from willow, birch or hazel branches twisted together and held with florist’s wire.

Choose a selection of dried flowers, often just 3 or 4 different types of flower and foliage look better than lots and lots. Always leave 2 – 3 inches of stem on the flowers and simply push them into the wreath, one type at a time, working your way round the wreath.

We find it is best to start off with foliage and larger flowers first and leave smaller flowers until the end.

Dried fruit can be really effective or even nuts and berries but beware the birds may help themselves if you hang the wreath outside!

Don’t feel you have to cover every inch of the Wreath with flowers, you need a surprising amount of flowers to do this and often just a few flowers can look just as effective. If you feel the flowers are not secure on the wreath you can tie them in using string or peg them with florists wire. One of the benefits of dried flower wreaths is that they will last many months inside or out!

Some of the dried flowers we use are:

  1. Craspedia globose
  2. Lagurus ovatus
  3. Salvia horminum
  4. Hordium jubatum
  5. Cornflower
  6. Larkspur
  7. Eryngium giganteum
  8. Nigella seed pods
  9. Daucus carota
  10. Ammi majus
  11. Cardoon and globe artichoke
  12. Orlaya grandiflora
  13. Teasel (don’t go near these with a fluffy jumper!)

To dry our cut flowers we try to cut them just before the flowers are fully open, they are much more likely to retain their colour and petals this way.

Cut them with the stems as long as possible to make them easier to hang.

Hang the flowers upside down in small bunches (only 6-8 stems) in a cool dry place with good airflow and out of direct sunlight. Bright light bleaches the colour out. We don’t recommend using a greenhouse, the flowers seem to be more prone to rotting in that environment. We string them up in the rafters of our greenhouse.

It often takes 2-4 weeks for flowers to fully dry out. It’s well worth experimenting with different species to see what works best.

We would LOVE to see how you get on so please tag us on our Facebook or Instagram page.

Heritage Vegetables

June 25, 2018By Gordon CastleBlog, Gardening advice 2 Comments

Today we have a blog written by our gardener Liz who joined the team last summer.

Gordon Castle Walled Garden Heritage Vegetables

At Gordon Castle Walled Garden we have decided to try growing a variety of heritage or heirloom vegetables.  The definition of heritage/heirloom is a plant that has been in cultivation for 50 years or more.  Some people insist that 100 years is the magic number.  Whichever is correct, modern agriculture really came into its own in 1945, following World War 2.  Nowadays, as well as the Walled Garden, there are many people who have allotments of their own and take great pleasure in growing their own vegetables.

So, some of the vegetables we have decided to grow are: brussel sprouts – Evesham Special, beetroot – Mr. Crosby’s Egyptian, cauliflower – Dwarf Efurt (sometimes known as snowball) celeriac – Giant Prague, Musselburgh leeks, and peas – Kelvedon Wonder.  There are lots more we are trying, the list could go on for ever.

Gordon Castle Walled Garden Heritage Vegetables

Today I sowed some of the beetroot and celeriac.  Sown into modules of 104, watered from the bottom, then put into the sunken greenhouse until they germinate.  Once hardened off, they will be planted and left to mature, tended to by our team of gardeners until harvest is ready.  There’s something so lovely about going to the garden to harvest fresh vegetables for your evening meal.  We take great pride in providing delicious Scottish produce for the café – and the chefs love it too!

Gordon Castle Walled Garden Heritage Vegetables

Once we’ve supplied the cafe with vegetables, we’ll sell any extra in the shop.  The shop is open seven days a week.

We grow tomatoes in our greenhouses.  Ailsa Craig – a very hardy Scottish variety, among many other varieties.  A variety of potatoes, also called Ailsa Craig……another heritage vegetable.

Gordon Castle Walled Garden Heritage Vegetables

The pleasure this gives me cannot be put into words.  I would not change my job for the world.


Volunteer Week

April 11, 2018By Gordon CastleBlog, Uncategorized No Comments

This week we are celebrating all the help we get from our wonderful volunteers in our beautiful Walled Garden!

Throughout the years we’ve had many people volunteer time helping develop the garden to its full potential and we are ever so grateful of all who come to lend a hand. We are proud to support the WWOOF program where volunteers can experience a wide range of opportunities all across the world on organic farms. We have welcomed a number or volunteers throughout the years through this program and have seen a real positive effect to the garden because of them. Check out our short video below where we interviewed two volunteers from Brazil last winter.

As well as working with the WWOOF program, many of our volunteers come from the local area, keen to help us complete this historic project. One of our regulars, Margaret has been with us for over four years now.We managed to steal a second of Margaret’s precious time to ask about her volunteering experience.

“I started volunteering at the beginning of the restoration of the Walled Garden and just love seeing the progress that has been made. I’ve learnt so much about gardening from planting to growing apricots and step over apples. It’s a real team effort and we all work hard – it’s kept me fit during my retirement that’s for sure! My favourite part of the garden would have to be the amphitheatre. It’s such a unique addition, especially for this area, and it’s so lovely to see the families gather in summer when we have outdoor theatre performances. This year will see lots of progression in the garden and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”

We too are a fan of our outdoor performances and with over five lines up including Pride and Prejudice, Dr Dolittle and The Midnight Gang it will be a jammed packed schedule. Find out more details here.

Volunteers at Gordon Castle Walled Garden

We love to get our volunteers involved with as wide a range of jobs in the garden as possible. You can expect to do everything from weeding, seed sowing and planting out to harvesting, cutting, arranging and drying flowers and decorating the café and shop. We’re always happy to teach volunteers about what we are doing so no previous gardening experience is necessary. We take volunteers Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm and are very flexible as to when and how long you would want to work. We also offer a free friends of the Walled Garden membership, a bowl of soup for lunch and free garden produce depending on what is available to all our volunteers.

We truly appreciate all the help we get as it is invaluable to the garden and to our business. As a big thank you we are hosting our 4th birthday garden party on the 7th July to celebrate all our volunteers, staff and their families. There will be live music, a bbq and lots of craft cider to enjoy. You are all invited!

If you would like to volunteer in the garden, we would love to hear from you! Please send your CV and details to 

What’s Been Happening in The Garden This April

April 9, 2018By Gordon CastleBlog, Gardening advice No Comments

We’re not quite sure whether spring is here or not in the Walled Garden. One moment the crocus flowers are open wide, basking in the sunshine and covered in honey bees, and the next they’re closed shut sheltering from snow and bitter winds. Come rain or shine we’ve been busy getting everything ready for the growing season ahead. The biggest development this year is our new cherry orchard; 52 trees, 5 different varieties, all planted up waiting for some warmth the get them growing. We deliberately planted larger 5-year-old trees so that we can benefit from their lovely spring flowers straight away and with any luck we should get some fruit this summer as well, so look out for a new cherry gin liqueur later in the year! We’ve added another 98 apple trees to our step-over posts giving us 10 more Scottish varieties lining the perimeter path around the garden.

Bee and Crocus

The cut flower beds are set to look better than ever with the addition of 40 scented roses and we’ll be planting many more perennial plants as soon as the soil has dried out a little! Please do get in contact with us if you would like a list of all the cut flowers we grow and when they’re available.

Seed sowing is in full force in the potting shed, giving us a little respite from the cold weather. We all love checking the greenhouses every morning to see what has germinated over-night. Almost every inch of the heated greenhouse is full of healthy young plants soon to be hardened off and planted in out in the garden. I’d liked to have sown the first succession of vegetables direct into the beds by now, but there is little point sowing into cold wet soil so we just have to accept the season will be a little late this year.


We’re trying to fill the harvesting gap this year by growing micro-greens. Micro-greens are the seedlings of vegetables and herbs that have the most sweet and intense flavour. At the request of our head chef, we’re experimenting with coriander, peas, rocket, perilla, cress and beetroot. Our first crop has been a great success. Watch this space for a blog post all about how to grow your own micro-greens later in the year.

Planted Seeds

If you’ve visited in the last few days you may have noticed some strange, spikey new plants in the lavender bed. They’re actually a type of citrus, Poncirus trifoliata, that should produce small fruit and give height and structure to the centre of the garden.

Poncirus trifoliata

Lots of work has been done to enrich the natural play area, we’ve added stepping-stumps, a barefoot path, lots of fruit trees, giant black-boards and even put a roof on-top of the bug-hotel! And there’s plenty more to do with budding little gardeners over the Easter holidays, we have a baby-animal themed nature trail around the garden, just ask in the shop for more details. If you are a regular visitor don’t forget ‘Friends of the Walled Garden’ membership could save money on garden admission and gives you a discount in the shop and café.

Peach Blossom

Despite the changing weather, the huge old apricot trees on the south wall have started flowering, as reliable as ever. Very soon the plums will bloom, followed by the apples and finally the pear trees. If you’ve not visited the Walled Garden during the spring before I would urge you to do so, the fruit blossom really is spectacular and we’ve been busy planting many thousands of spring bulbs to add to the display. And there’s plenty happening in the garden during April, we’re starting to fill up the vegetable and cut flower beds, our daffodils and tulips will be a riot of colour very soon, and we have a selection of lovely spring plants and cut flowers for sale at the shop. So there’s plenty to do and see in the walled garden this spring – plus we have been selected as one of Jules Hudson’s top 5 gardens to visit in Britain so definitely worth a look.

That’s all for now, Ed.

Bentley Rally | Cafe Closed

The Walled Garden will be closed on Thursday 26th May between 12pm and 2pm for a Bentley Rally. We will be open the following day on the 27th May at 10am and apologise for any inconveniences this may cause.

Wedding | Cafe closed

The cafe will be closed on Saturday 11th August to celebrate the Larkin wedding. The garden and shop will still be open and we would welcome you to come and visit.

The cafe will be open the following day on the 12th at 10am. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Wedding | Cafe Closed

The Walled Garden will be closed on Saturday 23rd June to celebrate the Farquhar wedding. We will be open the following day on the 24th at 10am and apologise for any inconveniences this may cause.

Wedding | Cafe Closed

The Walled Garden will be closed on Friday 27th April to celebrate the Williams wedding. We will be open the following day on the 28th April at 10am and apologise for any inconveniences this may cause.

The Midnight Gang | Outdoor Theatre

Join us in our outdoor amphitheatre on Saturday 7th July for Heartbreak Productions performance of The Midnight Gang.

When the clock strikes midnight and everyone else is sweetly sleeping, Tom and his friends gather in the middle of the night in the name of magic, mischief, and memory making. Join The Midnight Gang on this crucial mission to overcome our greatest fears and uncover the magic ingredient to a fantastic friendship. It truly is an unmissable adventure! Be prepared to be daring at this outdoor adaptation of David Walliams’ bestselling book. Who knows where the night may lead?

Heartbreak aims to tell stories that inspire, entertain, challenge and help us come to a better understanding of human beings and how we can live together and are now in their 24th year of touring open-air theatre.

This event is suitable for children and families!

Our outdoor picnic hampers will also be available to pre-order starting from just £10.00. If you would like further information, please email

Please click on the tickets below to add to basket. Buy online and save up to 20%

ADULT £11.00 
CHILD (up to 16) £7.50
CONCESSION (65+) £9.00
FAMILY (2+2) £32.50

The Pirates of Penzance | Outdoor Theatre

Join us in our outdoor amphitheatre on Wednesday 22nd August for the Illyria performance of The Pirates of Penzance.

Frederick, apprenticed to the Pirates since a child, learns that he was born in a leap year on 29th February, and that he is contracted to the Pirate King until his 21st BIRTHDAY, not his 21st year. With only the inept Penzance constabulary to protect him, how will he resist being forced to endure a life of crime until he is 84 – and will his sweetheart, Mabel, wait for him that long? With hilarious melodrama, sharp satire and glittering wit, “The Pirates of Penzance” is as fresh as if it had been written today. It is packed-full of memorable songs such as “To be a Pirate King!”; “Modern Major General” and “A Policeman’s Lot is Not a Happy One”.

Illyria’s mission is simply stated: to create a varied programme of outstandingly enjoyable theatre and to make it available for everyone to see. They are proud that for 25 years its popularity has enabled it to operate on a professional basis without any public funding.

Our outdoor picnic hampers are available to pre-order now!
Hamper options as follows:
Gordon Castle Smoked Salmon Bagel
Fochaber Sausage Roll (sausage made to WGC recipe)
Mini meat Pie – made exclusively for WGC by local butcher
Local Cheese, GC Oatcakes & GC Chutney
Fresh Fruit & Slice of homemade Cake
Price per person £10.99
Mini Cream Cheese Bagel
Fochaber Sausage Roll
Bag x Pom Bears or similar
Fresh Fruit & Fruit Jelly pot
Price per person £7.99

Please book by emailing

Tickets available here now