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21 Sept 2020

New willow sculptures at Culzean

A large willow sculpture, shaped like an onion, stands in a flower bed in front of a tall stone wall. The sculpture has an opening at the front, so people can stand or sit inside. The surrounding flower beds have many staked colourful flowering plants, A gravel path runs in front of the beds.
Ailsa onion sculpture in the Walled Garden at Culzean
The walled garden at Culzean Castle is home to three new willow sculptures. The sculptures celebrate the garden as a productive space that generates a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, which are both sold and used in the café on the estate.

Designed by the Galloway-based artist Trevor Leat (who also designed the beautiful Willow Queen sculpture at Falkland Palace), the new sculptures are in the North Walled Garden at Culzean and have been crafted using willow as well as other sustainable and natural resources.

In the newly replanted orchard, there’s a giant willow pear. A statue of a gardener can be found outside Garden’s House, which has been home to the estate’s head gardener over the centuries. The final instalment is the Ailsa Onion Arbour, inspired by the variety of onion originally bred by Culzean’s head gardener David Murray in 1887. Named after the island visible from the castle, ‘Ailsa Craig’ onions are still regarded as the most successful all-purpose onions.

In the 1700s, the gardens at Culzean were bountiful growing spaces and had a reputation for cutting-edge gardening techniques. Since 2018, the Trust’s staff and volunteers have been working hard to restore the garden to a successful and innovative productive space. We now harvest a wide variety of produce from the garden.

Gareth Clingan, Operations Manager at Culzean Castle & Country Park said: ‘There’s already so much to explore at Culzean Castle and we’re excited to have these new sculptures on display for visitors; they really bring the history of the garden to life. Since work began in early 2018, our fantastic team of staff and volunteers have transformed the gardens, creating a new vegetable garden, extensive fruit cages and renovating the glasshouses. The herbaceous borders are also in the process of being lifted and replanted.

“I’d like to thank the volunteers at Friends of Culzean, who run the second-hand bookshop at Culzean, for their generous donation that has allowed us to install these sculptures. It will also allow us to add a number of carved benches and stone sculptures to the garden later this year.”
Gareth Clingan
Operations Manager at Culzean Castle & Country Park

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