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22 Jun 2022

Why we love Leith Hall

Why we love Leith Hall


Three voices: Sarah Ramsay (SR); Anna (A); Beatrice Fette-Leagas (BFL)

SR - My name is Sarah Ramsay.
I'm the Head Gardener at Leith Hall Gardens in Aberdeenshire.
The garden was laid out by Charles and Henrietta Leith-Hay, who were the last lairds of Leith Hall.
They created an Arts and Crafts garden that had flowing herbaceous borders.
It was famed throughout Scotland for its rock garden and its Chinese moon gate.

One of my favourite parts of the garden is the historic Edwardian rock garden.
This was renovated in 2013 and the importance of it has been recognised greatly recently.
Since I've worked here, I have overseen the replanting of the rock garden and it's been a privilege to work on the conservation of this historic Edwardian masterpiece.

I lead a small team here in the gardens of three staff who work year round and 12 amazing volunteers who go above and beyond to help us conserve this historic garden, always with a sense of pride and a sense of humour as well.

A - My name is Anna and I'm a garden volunteer here at Leith Hall.

I first visited the garden about three years ago when I first moved out here and just fell in love with it.
I thought it was the most beautiful garden I'd ever seen.
And then, when I was looking for a career change, I got in touch with Sarah and started volunteering here, so I've been here for just over a year now.

This last year I’ve being studying for a qualification in horticulture and doing practical learning here with Sarah and the garden team.

My favourite plant in the garden is a tree -- it's called the katsura tree and it's beautiful at the moment but on a certain day in autumn you can walk past and you just get this most amazing smell of toffee apples, so that's probably my favourite plant in the whole garden.

The herbaceous border and the catmint border in the height of summer, they are just spectacular.
And I find it incredible that at this time of year they're just tiny little plants, and then in the summer some of them are taller than me, and it's just breathtaking when you see it.

I mean, I just love being outside. It's so ... I wouldn't say it's quiet because it's never quiet.
There's always bird song. At this time of year, you hear the bees buzzing everywhere.
You can walk under certain trees or by certain plants and it's just this absolute hum of bees, and I just love that.

It's just such a calming place to be, in the garden.

BFL - I'm Beatrice Fettes-Leagas.

I'm the Visitor Services Supervisor here at Leith Hall, Garden and Estate.

Leith Hall was built in 1615 and has been the home to the Leiths and Leith-Hays for seven generations.
It was gifted to the Trust in 1945 by Henrietta Leith-Hay.

The tour of the house starts in the Georgian wing and heads through to the grand music room and through to the older part of the house.
The furniture stands from the 17th century through to Georgian pieces and some items from the Arts and Crafts movement, which mirrors the Edwardian fashions that still continue in the garden.

I love this place because it encapsulates over 400 years of local and international history in one scenic Aberdeenshire setting.

I started coming here when I was three and I spent a lot of time in the garden, but also one thing I most remembered was the boxing squirrels, our world-famous boxing squirrels.
They feature a boxing match of red squirrels following the Queensbury rules, so they still have boxing gloves.

A - I love this place because it's so relaxing and calming, and also what I really love about it is that there’s just so many different places in the garden.
You can go through little gaps in the hedges and you come out somewhere that looks totally different from where you've come from.
So there's so much variety in the garden that makes it brilliant any time of year.

SR - What I love most about Leith Hall Garden is its spirit of place.

It reflects the local landscape and climate in the rocks that are used in the garden and in the plants we grow.
And because it was created by Charles and Henrietta Leith-Hay, it has an inexorable link to the past.

Leith Hall, Garden & Estate has a remarkable spirit of place, from the beautiful Arts and Crafts garden to the curious ornaments adorning the grand rooms.

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Please note that permission for drone flying was granted by the National Trust for Scotland. Please contact for recreational and commercial drone filming enquiries.

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