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Meet Edith Barnes from Drummond Castle

March 31st 2017

The beautiful beech lined main drive leads the visitor to a hidden treasure. This historic garden consists of noble mature trees and a formal Italian-style parterre, centred on a

17th Century sundial attributed to John Mylne, architect and mason to King Charles I. The layout is based on the Saltire with marble statues and fountains positioned amongst rosebeds, lavender walks and topiary. Planting is in blocks of colour and symmetry for impact when first viewed from the castle terrace. This is some thing worth doing no matter the size of the garden. Borders and beds should look balanced and have something to lead the eye and make one want to explore.

I began work at Drummond Castle in 1980, starting with a school holiday job, then becoming head gardener in 2014, so I have seen the garden through many seasons. I work with a reliable team of full and part-time staff with seasonal help in the summer.

Although Drummond is a well established, centuries-old garden with an ongoing restoration programme, there are still changes to make. These changes must enhance and not detract from  Lord Drummond’s original plan. Plants need replacing as they near the end of their life. The long lavender beds are replaced every 3-5 years and we are trialling alternatives to the 11miles of box hedging. Outwith the formal garden, the Victorian greenhouse and walled garden have been under going restoration with cut flowers, traditional fruit varieties and vegetables to supply the castle. It is worth spending  time each morning in the greenhouse, cleaning ,painting in the winter. Keeping it organised in the spring for production, continually producing replacements for the garden beds and for hot house display. A new woodland path with wood sculptures has been made, giving beautiful views of the castle and walled garden, with other paths planned.

Drummond is a formal garden, so a neatly striped, straight-edged lawn is key and this can be applied at home too, to set off colourful summer bedding or a herbaceous border or rosebed. Although at its peak in July/August, the spring growth or autumn tree colours appeal outwith the summer season. Plants must have summer/autumn colour and be hardy, as although sheltered from strong wind,  the garden lies in a frost pocket.

Drummond is a garden which appeals to those who love Scottish history, great gardens or those who just want to stroll in beautiful surroundings.