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5 Aug 2020

Highlights of Brodie Castle’s grounds in August

Written by Edward Walling, Head Gardener at Brodie Castle
An orange and black butterfly perches on a tall purple flower.
There are many beautiful corners to discover in the Brodie Castle estate in August.
August is a great time to explore the wonderful Brodie Castle estate with its wealth of heritage features, parkland, tree avenues, shrubbery and gardens, all providing opportunities to see colourful plantings.

The Brodie Castle estate is a rare example of an early 18th-century formal designed landscape and provides a great place for visitors to wander, exercise and explore! The formal character of the designed landscape remains evident through surviving features such as the parkland, tree avenues and the walled garden (now the Playful Garden). This is framed by enclosing woodland dating from the mid-19th century, with the shrubbery and gardens dating from the early 20th century.

The three main avenues are set out with beech and oak trees. The west avenue (running from the castle to the pond) is a unique arrowhead avenue, set out using alternate copper and standard beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) creating a stunning visual effect. The east avenue has been replanted with oaks.

The shrubbery

The shrubbery has a wide variety of trees, shrubs and flowers, with a beautiful Victorian sundial at its centre. Between Tuesday 18–Sunday 23 August the shrubbery will house a new art installation by Katie J Anderson called Sound Horn, a collaboration between the Trust, Findhorn Bay Arts and Cryptic art house. It will showcase the depths of this colourful and peaceful area between the castle and the Playful Garden. The shrubbery is often a favourite part of the estate with visitors, who enjoy just wandering in the tranquillity, and this temporary installation will bring an added special element to the experience!

New this season: Dahlia planting in the castle border

Around the front of the castle’s Victorian extension, our newly planted dahlia border will be in full bloom this month, showcasing a selection of cultivars all labelled in rows. Dahlia ‘Blue Bayou’ is great for butterflies and bees – like most dahlias, they tend to need lifting over the winter and starting off undercover. They can be planted out again once signs of frost have passed.

Also added into this new display is a meadow mix and sweetpeas on natural birch stakes. The gardening team will be feeding and dead-heading these beds regularly to keep the border looking its best until autumn.

The rose garden at the stables

Head over to the stables block opposite the Laird’s Wing at Brodie Castle and experience the wonderful scent from the rose garden, which is in its second year of bloom. Here you’ll find six different, traditional cultivars and a climber rose, all beautifully edged with lavender plants. Our team will be dead-heading regularly to extend the flowering season well into autumn. The bees love this area as well!

The long border in the Playful Garden

The old walled garden at Brodie Castle is where Ian Brodie, 24th Laird of Brodie, developed his world-famous daffodil collection. This now forms a National Collection of over 100 different varieties, a magnificent springtime sight. The walled garden has recently been transformed into the Playful Garden, but it has kept many of its original features including the daffodils and an orchard of ancient apple and pear trees. Take a stroll alongside the long border at the back wall of the garden and you’ll find a beautiful herbaceous border, constantly being developed by the gardening team.

Look out for giant hyssop – Agastache – a wonderfully aromatic plant that produces dense purple flower spikes that are adored by butterflies and bees. It flowers from midsummer to early autumn. Two great varieties are Agastache ‘Blackadder’ and Agastache rugosa, and both are flowering abundantly here. These two varieties are great structural plants when they’re flowering; if desiccated stems are left, they’ll continue to provide interest throughout the winter. These are fairly hardy perennials and self-seed readily.

Brodie Castle entrance gate

Recently developed by the Brodie gardening team, this area is where visitors are greeted with their first view of the estate. In spring this is a yellow sea of daffodils! This summer, the beds have been replanted with mixed herbaceous plants from around the estate, with rudbeckias, Persicaria, lupins and asters to name a few, all ready to burst into bloom.

Two tall, white entrance gates stand either side of the drive into Brodie Castle. Colourful flower beds can be seen in the foreground, surrounding the gate posts.
The entrance to Brodie Castle is bright and colourful this year.

The grass maze in the Playful Garden

Within the Playful Garden is a newly created grass maze, which is great fun for families to walk through. The grass we’ve used is Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’, a beautiful soft wavering grass which turns a ruby colour in autumn.

A close-up view of tall, brown grass bordering gravel paths in a maze in a walled garden.
The grass maze in the Playful Garden

We look forward to welcoming you to Brodie Castle this August and sharing our beautiful grounds with you. If you see members of our gardening team at work, do pop over and say hello!

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