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Walled garden at Gordon Castle wins Historic Houses garden of the year title

The walled garden at Gordon Castle. Photo: Historic Houses/Ed Bollom

The walled garden at Gordon Castle in the north-east has been named as Historic Houses’ garden of the year for 2021.

The Moray attraction is the first Scottish garden to take the title since 1998.

Restoration work on the eight-acre walled garden in Fochabers has been one of the key projects to rejuvenate the property by current custodians Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox.

Revival of Gordon Castle and its walled garden

Gordon Castle was built as one of Scotland’s largest homes in the 1770s by the Duke of Gordon near the banks of the River Spey.

It was used as a hospital for returning soldiers during the war before deaths crippled the family.

It was rescued by Lieutenant General Sir George Gordon Lennox, a grandson of the seventh Duke of Richmond and Gordon.

Rows of flower beds and vegetables at Gordon Castle.
Flowers, vegetables and fruit are grown in the walled garden. Photo: Historic Houses, Ed Bollom

However, he was forced to knock down much of the original house with restoration work continuing to this day under the guidance of his grandson Mr Gordon Lennox and his wife.

Work on the £1.2million renovation of the walled garden began in 2013 on what become an overgrown field.

During its heyday in the Victorian and Edwardian eras it provided fruit, vegetables and flowers for the castle and estate.

In the 1950s it was run as a commercial soft fruit farm before it became unviable.

Following the restoration, it now employs 65 part-time and full-time staff.

‘It’s the stuff dreams are made of’

The walled garden at Gordon Castle has been named as Historic Houses’ garden of the year for 2021.

The group is a collection of more than 1,000 historic properties across the UK who work together to keep them alive for future generations.

Gordon Castle won the award after becoming the first to receive more than 3,000 votes in the 37-year history of the competition.

Herb rows at Gordon Castle.
Herb rows at Gordon Castle. Photo: Historic Houses/Ed Bollom

Mr and Mrs Gordon Lennox hope the title will provide a further boost for the property and local area.

They said: “For us, and our small team of gardeners and volunteers, it is the stuff that dreams are made of.

“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.

“None of this would have been possible without the extraordinary hard work of our entire team and the support of the local community.

“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.”

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