South Walled Garden
This section of the walled gardens was once a nursery site as well as some vegetable growing. It used to have 2 full-time gardeners in Col. Horlick's time. Successive lairds have seen this area as a caged bird plot with all sorts of game birds being reared for the shooting fraternity. This is probably why we have peacocks at present. To date we have 5 peahens and 2 cocks. They are fed every day in the morning at the Stable Block.
Restoration in this area was carried out during the Winter of 2007/2008 where we cut in the new axial paths that divide the lawns. Created a new herbaceous border, a new rose garden, new exotic borders, and an Autumn flowering influenced border. The southern most lawn was killed off and topped with sand and grass re-sown.
There are some magnificent plant specimens that have matured well such as the Pinus montezumae, Eucryphia cordifloia, Musa bajoo, Metrosideros umbellatus, Laburnum x wateri 'Vossii', Cordyline australis, Pittosporum tenuifolium with Wisteria sinensis and Rosa 'Albertine' growing through it. Other plants include: Echium pininiana, Sarcococca ruscifolia, S. hookeriana var. dignya, a fully mature Gaelic Maple (Acer psuedoplatanus), Jovellana violaceae, Calceolaria integerifolia, Dianella tasmanica and Beschornia yuccoides.
There are many rhododendrons of some notoriety include; Rhododendron edgeworthii, R. taggianum, R. johnstonianum, R. maddenii, R. aberconwayii, R. formosum, R. campylogynum, R. yakushimanum and R. lindleyii. There are also a great array of cultivar named rhododendrons.
We try and keep on top of the bi-weekly rose dead-heading, weekly grass edging and weeding of all the restored borders.
The grasses are all cut with a roller rotary Honda pedestrian lawnmowers once every week during the main growing period. Most of these walled gardens were frozen for over 2 months during the Winter 2009/2010 and last Winter as well.
For a couple of seasons we were growing on some unusual ferns from Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh in the Old Tomato House. We lifted these out after restoring the Hugh/Islay border and have planted in the restored borders. We shall probably grow sweet peas in this house for 2011 and use the structure as supports for the peas.
We started in September 2010 on the major border restoration which has culminated in exposing the walls, pruning back some rhododendron and most importantly we have replanted with new fresh plants including rhododendron and magnolia. The walls used have stock fencing for supporting wall climbers. This has all been taken down and we are now drilling into the stone and using vine-eyes and soft straining wire. This restoration is proving to be an exciting time in the wall gardens.
Please do walk on the grass and touch and sniff the flowers.
(Updated by Micky Little May 2011)