See all stories
2 Jul 2020

Virtual garden tour: Brodie Castle Playful Garden

Brodie Castle Playful Garden virtual tour


Hi everyone, welcome to the Playful Garden at Brodie Castle.

As we look round, I’ll take you round the Playful Garden. This is the old walled garden. This was developed in and opened in 2018 – April 2018.

This was developed under a project. Massive new building, with a new café and shop and visitor centre.
Big open space with a new orchard put in. National Daffodil Collection set out behind.

And then we have the Playful part, so we have a 26ft giant white bunny rabbit on the mound.

And as we go through to the other half of the garden, we go through a massive tunnel, like a big rabbit warren.

As you can see, there is light inside, just in case it does get dark. You follow the big hole.

And straight away, in front of us, we have the mirror totems. Mirror totems reflect all different angles of the garden, and throw everything off.

To our left, we have the spinning chairs. To the right, a replica of the castle.

The reason why I’m standing here before I go straight out is because it is torrential rain showers today. Doesn’t mean we stop work. We’re still closed at the moment under the Covid situation. But we still work, and we’re still getting on.

We have a giant table and chairs. The reason behind the table and chairs is the last Laird, Ninian Brodie, used to bring George – George was a brass orangutan, sits in part of the castle – used to bring it up to dinner when he used to have dinner parties with his friends, as it was bad luck to have 13 round the dinner table. So, hence why we have a massive dining room table and chairs, and that’s meant to represent George, the orangutan.

And we have two unicorns here. Again, something that’s linked with the castle. You can just about see – I’ll bring my finger in. Just over here – that dot there – that is a misting and rainbow LED unit. So when it’s turned on, when we’re open, it mists and creates rainbows.

So once again, there’s the mirror totem. So as I walk round, the move around. Castle again.

And this is our rill garden. It’s just a water garden with an island in the middle. One of the biggest things that kids love.

What I do love, we always leave the grass long up the top on the mound, and strim that off. As you can see, a bit of wind today. You get the nice grasses drifting with the wind, which is always really nice.

So as we come round, we have some musical instruments. These are, again, used highly by a lot of kids. Really good fun, especially when we’re working in the garden. It’s nice, you know, kids come along and they start playing, making tunes and experimenting is always good fun. As you can see, various different ones in different shapes, different touches. This one, you tap on the top. This one, you just play along. And, you know, there’s songbooks so you can play along.

Here, we have our grass maze. This grass is Calamagrostis, 'Karl Foerster'. It gives us a red autumn tint, so it’s a really nice grass maze. Doesn’t get too high – maximum of shoulder height once flowering. Just see the flower tips coming on there.

That’s the back into the National Daffodil Collection that way.

Now I’m just going to walk you through, this is one of our meadows. So we have two parts of meadows – three mini meadow bits within the garden. This one has got the daisies and various others. It’s not quite as up as the other two, but we’ll show you that. And lots of young new trees put in within the garden. We have a birch, we have cherries, all different, with the old apple trees remaining as a key feature.

So here, whisper dishes. Bit like a tin can with a bit of string, you speak into that little hole and it bounces the noise back across to the other whisper dish, as someone listens along.

So this is one of our other meadows. Double line of sorbus, again with the lovely red berries in the autumn with all the meadow. Mainly daisies taking over just in here.

Apple trees again. As you can see, all the old apple trees have been pruned, bearing fruit this year again. So we hope to have them blossoming – well, they’ve blossomed already, sorry. And we hope to have fruit off them. And again, we’ll use produce or we’ll send the produce. The produce normally goes to our bakers. They make apple crumble slices, various things with the cakes that then go in to our coffee shop, where visitors can buy on site.

As I spin back around, we have what is called our meadow or our maze, labyrinth. Another new feature just to use the grass again – bit of a meadow area – and something for the kids to run around in. Lots of young hedging, as you can see. And that’s the other section, mirroring on both sides. We have the sorbus over there with the meadow, and same again on that side. So we have the maze there.

As I walk back round, walking towards the very bottom of the garden now. This is our long border. The team are in here weeding today. But not the nicest weather, but the weeds and the plants are still growing.

And what a stunning display, I’ll just stop for a second and let you appreciate all the poppies. None of these poppies were planted, they’ve all just come up this season. No seed, this is nothing to do with us. We’ve just left it because they come up. We were actually going to split and divide the long border and put them in here, but yeah, absolutely stunning. Really lucky to be able to have them.

So as you can see, the border is just coming up. This is great summer colouring here. The Centaurea is on its way.

The black sorbus there throughout the border, giving us our height. The tree of peonies has just gone over.
We’ve got some bronze fennel in the middle. Again, we’ve got to keep an eye on that because it can be a prolific seeder. So just as soon as the flowers are almost done, we tend to cut the flowers off just to stop the seeds, although there’s still plenty of seeds within the garden.

Lovely, cracking blue iris under the tree peony there.

This is Chris, he’s one of our part-time gardeners.

[laughs] With a dandelion

And he’s got a massive dandelion, as you can see, due to us just starting to really try to get on top of everything – the volume of weeds. I’ll just take a few steps back, you’ll see the difference where Chris has been, and where he’s doing. So we’ve almost finished this. It’s taken us a week with three to four staff members on it most days, just to do this one bed.

Join Brodie Castle Head Gardener, Ed Walling as he takes you on a tour around the extraordinary Playful Garden. Go down the rabbit hole into a fascinating world filled with quirky installations inspired by the castle’s colourful history, as well as stunning meadows, mazes and borders.

Explore Brodie Castle

Visit now