Amisfield Walled Garden is one of the largest walled gardens in Scotland. It occupies eight acres (3.3 ha) and is sheltered by walls that are 16 feet (4.9 m) high which give the garden a wonderful tranquil and protected atmosphere. There are circular pavilions at each of its four corners which are A listed for their architectural significance. The network of paths, based on maps from the 18th century, divides the garden into eight sectors with a central circular garden and wide borders around the outer walls. Each of these areas is being developed with a unique style to provide contrasts of colour and texture throughout the year.
We have developed three small gardens, each enclosed within a circular hedge of copper beech, that have been planted to appeal to the senses. One of these gardens emphasises the sense of sight, with plants with white flowers or pale foliage set against the dark foliage of the hedge plants. Another contains plants selected for their fragrant flowers or leaves to stimulate the sense of smell. The third garden appeals to the sense of hearing, with a solar powered water feature, rustling bamboo stems and an outdoor musical instrument known as an akadinda.
Apple walk and Orchards
We have planted over 100 apple trees in the garden, many of them traditional Scottish heritage varieties. We have some apples planted in our grass orchard, some trained as ‘espaliers’ along wire fences lining our apple walks, and some trained as ‘fans’ against the garden walls. We usually hold a popular apple day each autumn, where garden visitors can sample the many different varieties and can try their hand at pressing the apples into juice.
We are gradually developing a triangular maze planted up with small yew saplings. It won’t be long until the hedges reach eye level and finding your way through the maze becomes a true challenge!
We try to design all of our garden areas with wildlife conservation in mind, but our meadow is particularly managed to encourage a diverse plant and insect community. We have a mowing regime to encourage each meadow area to flower at different times of year. We are currently developing a marsh and pond with native pond plants. The meadow is complemented by a mixed hedge of native species which we cut and lay to produce a diverse ecosystem.
We have developed one garden area to be particularly attractive during the winter and early spring. Vivid stems of willow, birch and dogwood, together with bulbs and winter flowering heathers, hellebores and witchhazel, all contribute to a colourful display. A curved drystone wall and seat adds a sculptural feature.
We are laying out a traditional cottage style garden in the centre of the garden, mixing colourful annual and perennial flowers with ornamental fruit, vegetables and herbs. Brick paths will divide the garden beds and will allow visitors to see the plants close up. We will include information boards to describe the culinary and medicinal uses of the plants.