Experienced Head Gardener John Hawley is joining the team at Gordon Castle Walled Garden in Fochabers, Moray, on 16 February 2015. RHS trained, John is the former National Trust Head Gardener at Sizergh Castle in Cumbria, and before that was Assistant Head Gardener at Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. He comes to the 8.5 acre, Arne Maynard designed, Walled Garden project with experience and excitement in equal measure.
Speaking about his appointment, John says, “I have been looking for the next challenge in my horticultural career for some time and when I heard about the opportunity at Gordon Castle I knew I had to take a look. It’s not often you get the chance to – almost – build a garden from scratch and with such a magnificent design already in place, I am going to love helping bring it all together.”
Angus Gordon Lennox says, “We are all thrilled that John is joining the team. His wealth of experience, demonstrable passion for horticulture and excitement at the challenge of continuing to create the garden here at Gordon Castle, will stand him in great stead. This year marks an important year for moving the garden forward. Now that our café and shop are open, and the bare bones of the garden design are in place, we are keen to get on with finishing the structure and filling the beds to give our visitors an additional experience unique to our Estate.”
The children’s play area will be opened to the public this year. Using the trunk of the 270-year-old Gordon Castle ash, felled by the winter storms of 2013, as the central ‘climbing frame’, this area has been designed to offer children a natural and sensory opportunity to play and explore. The structure and pathways of the four beds of ribboned herbs, surrounding the central dipping pool, are almost complete and will be planted this spring, as will the annual vegetable and cut flower beds leading out from this area. Two thirds of the beautiful original glasshouse has been restored and is in use while the final third is due to be glazed this spring.
John is relocating his family from Cumbria to Gordon Castle Estate to begin work in the garden on 16 February. The garden, once fully restored, will be the largest fully productive walled garden in Scotland. It provides fresh produce for the Castle Estate, the Walled Garden café and shop and for the new and unique range of Gordon Castle Scotland products available to purchase at the garden and online. The Gordon Castle Gin, containing botanicals grown in the Walled Garden, is now stocked in Harrods and Fortnum & Mason in addition to over 250 independent wine and spirits merchants across the UK.
The Gordon Castle Walled Garden café is open daily from 10am for delicious homemade cakes and snacks, lunch is served daily and supper is served on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Walled Garden shop is open daily from 11am, selling a wonderful selection of Gordon Castle Scotland products and seasonal produce from the garden.