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12 Oct 2020

If you go down to the shrubbery today ...

Written by Jacky Brookes
Large wooden sculpture in a woodland shrubbery.
One of the new wooden sculptures at Brodie Castle
In our shrubbery an exciting selection of chainsaw wood carvings is popping up week by week from October until January. Look out for the special dragon’s eggs too!

The shrubbery at Brodie Castle is always a favourite with our visitors – with its year-round attractions of trees, shrubs and flowers. In this wonderfully peaceful place, a new addition over the next few months is a collection of amazing and creative wood carvings, including a special Dragon’s Egg Trail for half term.

The shrubbery was originally planted to screen the working areas of the garden from the castle, like the walled garden and bothy. In the mid-19th century it was quite a formal area, but by the early 20th century it became an informal mix of trees, conifers and shrubs.

A man and a woman walking through a woodland.
The shrubbery is very popular with visitors all year round

Today this naturalistic area has something to offer in every season. From February to June multitudes of spring bulbs carpet the ground and over the summer months a profusion of native wildflowers and meadow grass fill the gaps in between the specimen trees and shrubs.

September sees the annual cutting and removal of the meadow grasses and flowers, which helps maintain the diverse mix of flowers and grass there. It also clears the area for the emerging colchicums, which put on the last big flowering display of the year. Then there’s a bit of a lull before the leaves turn and add another splash of colour.

Close up of 6 lilac large colchicums
Colchicums add a splash of colour in autumn

So, popping up week by week till January will be a selection of chainsaw carvings by our very talented First Gardener, Jonathan. There’s no specific theme and most of the carvings are abstract – he feels this fits well with the naturalistic surroundings and will allow people to interpret them as they wish within the environment.

A wooden sculpture in the shape of a twisted cone in a natural setting in a woodland.
The sculptures blend in well with the surroundings in the shrubbery

All the carvings are created from estate-grown soft and hard wood from wind-damaged trees and areas of woodland management – a great example of recycling!

A man is holding a chainsaw next to two large wooden sculptures.
Wood carvings are popping up all over the shrubbery thanks to the artistic talents of First Gardener Jonathan

Once the first bulbs start to emerge in the new year, the carvings will be removed and relocated around the estate. Some may be used as features elsewhere in the gardens, but most will be placed in the wooded areas of the estate where they will be left to decay, becoming homes themselves to whole host of animals and invertebrate life.

To add an extra bit of excitement, the gardening team have developed a Dragon’s Egg Trail for October half term. This free entry event will be available throughout the school holidays and the sculptures will remain there over the winter months. Visitors have open access to the shrubbery to see these amazing wood carvings, and when the café is open you can finish your trail with a warming drink!

Carving wood sculptures at Brodie Castle

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