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7 Jan 2019

New colour at Culzean

Culzean Castle seen from the Fountain Court. The sky is blue and the lawn in the foreground is manicured. Various palm trees line the path in the garden.
Culzean Castle, Ayrshire
At number 42 on our 100 Ways list is new colour at Culzean – we’re restoring the North Walled Garden at Culzean and developing new planting schemes to make it even more impressive.

Perched on the Ayrshire clifftops overlooking the Firth of Clyde, the Robert Adam masterpiece of Culzean Castle has been in our care for more than 70 years. Now, significant restoration efforts are well underway as we commit to protecting the castle for generations to come.  

Built in 1782, the Walled Garden at Culzean was once one of the most pioneering gardens in the country; we have a plan in place to make it so once again!

In the 1700s, Culzean was home to the Kennedy clan. The gardens were bountiful growing spaces as well as a ground-breaking horticultural showcase. The estate had a reputation for cutting-edge gardening, growing the likes of nectarines, peaches and apricots. The Kennedy family would have this fruit shipped to them when they were away from their Ayrshire home.

Over the past year, volunteers and staff at Culzean have been hard at work restoring the gardens, keeping them innovative and fresh. Seeding their ideas together to add a 21st-century twist to the historical landscape, the team are using a range of horticultural techniques and skills from the Victorian age to the present day.

A plan of the North Walled Garden at Culzean Castle, showing some of the proposed new features. The two inset images show the sundial and one of the orchard spaces.
Plans for the North Walled Garden at Culzean Castle

Since work began in early 2018, a new vegetable garden has been created, extensive fruit cages have been installed, the greenhouse has been renovated and new yew hedges have been planted, adding much-needed height and dividing the garden into ‘rooms’. Now, four orchards are underway where a mixture of traditional and modern growing techniques and plant species will be used to grow produce. By summer 2019, fresh blooms will flourish in a new cut-flower border and a variety of fresh fruit will be available.

The transformation of the North Walled Garden aims not only to bring new colour throughout the seasons, but also to grow produce that can be used across the estate. In further support of this, a nuttery has recently been planted alongside the orchard, and a brewing garden lined with herbs and botanicals for gin is taking shape, as well as a tea plantation just outside the gates.

The warm and wet west coast of Scotland provides ideal conditions for Culzean to grow its own tea for use in our cafés, restaurants and shop, along with the jam and chutney made from the fruit grown in the orchards.

The North Walled Garden project aims to be complete by the end of 2019 and the garden remains open as usual.

The National Trust for Scotland works every day to protect Scotland’s national and natural treasures. From coastlines to castles, art to architecture, wildlife to wilderness, we protect all of this For the Love of Scotland.

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