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We believe that apple trees were grown at Pitmedden Garden as far back as 1603. But in the winter of 2014 we created a new orchard on the site of a former paddock.

This new orchard contains over 170 fruit trees, as well as nuts, soft fruit and rhubarb. Of the fruit trees, there are 112 different apple varieties, 5 varieties of pears, 4 varieties of damsons, 4 plums, 2 gages, 1 bullace, 2 medlars and 1 morello cherry. Soft fruit varieties include red and black currants, raspberries, gooseberries and jostaberries (a cross between a blackcurrant and a gooseberry).

The apples and pears in the orchard are predominantly dessert or eating varieties, although we do have some for culinary use. Most of the plums and gages are dual purpose (cooking and eating), whereas the damsons, bullaces and morello cherries are generally not eaten fresh but made into jam and preserves. The orchard is still in its early stages but in the coming seasons we hope to sell our crop to visitors, create delicious treats in the tearoom and make our own jams and preserves. Our Apple Sunday in late September is always a popular date in the calendar – keep an eye on our Events tab for more information.

Most varieties are English or Scottish and originate from the 18th and 19th centuries. They were primarily selected for their suitability for the climate in Aberdeenshire, but there are some exceptions, which we planted as a challenge. We also chose a few more exotic varieties to reflect Pitmedden’s many international visitors.

Free-standing trees in the orchard are on semi-vigorous rootstock for bushes and on vigorous rootstock for half standards (trees with a trunk up to 5ft tall). Trees on the south-facing wall are trained as fans. Trees on fences are trained as small fans, cordons, step-overs and candelabras – these are all on semi-vigorous rootstock.