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Scottish Garden of the Season – Wemyss Castle

June 29th 2017

If you are looking for a highly tonsured garden with neat labels everywhere and marigolds to match, then I am afraid you may be disappointed with our garden, if however you are happy to wander through a semi organised muddle of romantic heaven then we are the gardens for you!


When I took on the garden project back in 1994 the whole thing was derelict and we were faced with 6 acres of basically just field, giving way to raspberry canes, redcurrant bushes, barbed wire and several geese. It was indeed a somewhat daunting prospect and I annihilated all of it including the geese. Had I discovered at the outset that all the grass was of the dreaded couch variety, I might perhaps never have begun.

Despite these disadvantages there were also some serious plus’s, not least our fantastic soil quality but also the added bonus of walls, several of them, and all perfect for supporting Clematis and Roses.

We currently hold the unofficial National Collection of Montana Clematis and also have several other varieties on show.


The garden is 6 acres in total divided by archways into 3 adjoining parts. The wild garden houses a variety of specialist trees,  shrubs, and a mass of spring bulbs.

Hopefully by July we will have roses in abundance in the borders, both Climbers, and shrubs most of which have come from David Austin.

I am not a planner by nature and everything in the garden has just grown slowly with different ideas popping up at odd times, I personally cannot imagine “doing it all at once”.


I first started all those years ago by finding a tractor with a whirling machine on the back and I drove nervously up and down beside the wall until I had created a long border into which I planted several horse box loads of plants that I had brought with me when we moved into Wemyss in the summer of 93.  So that was basically the beginning of the plan, it looked quite ridiculous as there was this huge herbaceous border stuck onto the side of a field, but it was a start.  From there followed other flowerbeds some of which are now long gone but, as we all know gardens are constantly evolving and disasters happen.

One of our real sadness’s was the wicked wind of 2008 that blew down the two remaining original James Grieve apple trees.

As I said earlier I had no plan as such but I have tried to make a garden that encompasses a little of everything, silly animal  statues pop out of the grass in unexpected places and 3 bronze hens from Bloomingdales in New York grace the brick path, to say nothing of the chicken made out of coat-hangers and the beautiful stone owl. I don’t like “serious gardening”, if you want labels and neat rows then please head straight to the Botanics where all this is beautifully achieved, but if you would also like to spend some time being peaceful in tranquil surroundings, drinking in the smell of the roses or just quietly watching the fish, or listening to the birds you are most welcome to come and visit us in July or indeed at any other time from April onwards and by all means bring a picnic and spend as long as you wish. We look forward to seeing you!

We welcome dogs but please always on a lead.

Where: Wemyss Castle, Coaltown of Wemyss, Fife KY14ET

Details for appointments:


Facebook: Wemyss Castle Gardens