Gordon Castle has become the first Scottish garden ever to win Historic Houses' prestigious Garden of the Year award.
The eight-acre walled garden at the castle in Moray, close to the coastline that runs from Aberdeen and Inverness, fought off competition from the likes of Harewood House and Lowther Castle to top the poll, in which more than 11,000 votes were cast.
‘We are absolutely delighted to have won the Historic Houses Garden of the Year award and would like to say a huge thank you to all our visitors, followers and friends of the Walled Garden for their votes,’ said Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox, owners of the castle and its gardens.
‘For us, and our small team of gardeners and volunteers, it is the stuff that dreams are made of.’
The garden has undergone a huge restoration project, led by Arne Maynard, the story of which you can read here from a Country Life article of a couple of years ago.
‘It has been seven years since we embarked on the project to restore this magical place from a near abandoned grass field to the productive and beautiful space which has emerged, showcasing the very best of fruit, herbs, vegetables and cut flowers,’ added the Lennoxes.
‘This award will deliver an enormous boost to The Walled Garden, the local economy and hopefully to Scottish gardens as a whole, recognising the significant benefits gardening has on well-being, health, and happiness. We hope visitors will be encouraged to come and visit the Garden, to discover this beautiful area of Moray and Speyside and, inspired by what they find, leave with a smile on their faces.’
The garden is practical as well as beautiful, as head gardener Ed Bollom added: ‘Our visitors are often surprised by the sheer variety of plants within the walls,’ he said.
‘Everything we grow has a use; the vegetables go to our café or for sale direct to visitors, the fruit is used for cider, gin, jams and chutneys, and our cut flowers are used to decorate the castle and holiday cottages or sent off to local florists. We extract essential oils from our lavender and rosemary and the herbs are used in a range of cosmetics. The gardens work very hard to earn their keep!’
While Gordon Castle claimed the top award, the Judge’s Choice went to Elton Hall in Cambridgeshire, another wonderful space which has been recently featured in Country Life.
Elton Hall’s gardens have been a labour of love for Lady Meredyth Proby and her husband, Sir William, and they’re now passing the baton on to the next generation.
‘It has been a joy to create the gardens, not only for myself and my husband William, but also for future generations,’ said Lady Proby.
‘Our eldest daughter Alexandra, together with her husband Rory and their family, now live in the house. It is now very gratifying to see the public and three generations of the family all enjoying the garden.’
Steven Desmond looks at Gordon Castle Walled Garden at Fochabers in Morayshire, and applauds a ground-breaking restoration that balances productivity
Tilly Ware visits the historic gardens of Elton Hall, Huntingdonshire, where much of the distant past remains a mystery, but
Jeremy Musson looks at the exemplary revival of Elton House and its outstanding collections on the eve of its handover