After renovating Gordon Castle and cottages, Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox’s attention turned to the Gordon Castle Walled Garden, probably the largest productive kitchen garden in the country.
The aim is to create a global “Gordon Castle Scotland” brand and to launch a series of beautiful and high quality products all of which are unique to Gordon Castle and all of which contain something from the Walled Garden, are from the Estate, or have unique designs inspired by the Castle and its characters. The products currently comprise four different categories:
Delicious Food and Drink which includes award winning gin made with botanicals from the Walled Garden, which has been the “gin of the month” at both Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. Cider made with the Castle’s own apples and pears, salad dressings, preserves, chutneys, herbal teas are all also part of the range.
Beautiful Bath and Beauty products made with essential oils distilled by us at the Castle from herbs and flowers grown in the garden. These include hand and body washes and creams, bathing products, smelly candles and more.
Striking home wares and trinkets all to their own design, some of which are produced under licence by multi Royal warrant holder Halcyon Days. The famous Halcyon Days Easter Egg, an annual collectable in the UK, is modelled this year on the stained glass windows in the Gordon Chapel in Fochabers.
Fabulous products from the Estate and garden including delightful leather bags made with the Estate tweed, wooden items made with wood from the Estate and wonderful garden products.
Alongside the launch of the products the Walled Garden has been created into a visitor attraction and a new build restaurant and renovated shop have been built. Many of the fruit trees are hundreds of years old and include the famous Gordon Castle plum, developed at the Castle over a century ago. The buildings however, were also ancient and had fallen into disrepair and so needed restoration.
The garden itself was an awkward size at 8 acres: Too big for the needs of the Castle, but not big enough to be commercially viable in a modern world. So the decision was taken to turn it into a productive space of beauty, education and heritage capable of supplying the ingredients for all the products and for the restaurant. Designed with a modern twist on the traditional kitchen garden by multi award-winning garden designer Arne Maynard, a network of paths and beds have already been built, together with an outside performance stage and children’s play area. It, together with the shop and restaurant, has already become a draw for tourists and locals alike. In 2015 the Walled Garden received the Moray Speyside Tourism Business Award.
After very significant investment by the owners, together with an SRDP grant of approximately 10% of the overall cost, a new business and a new draw for tourists has been created. From a standing start two years ago, the site now provides employment for 65 people and of course uses many local suppliers. ”Provenance doesn’t get any purer”.