Reviving the storied walled garden
park. The existing kitchen garden – considered a symbol of social status in Georgian Britain – was relocated and expanded, requiring 150 staff to run it.
Hudson says in its heyday it had “a classic layout of quadrants and beds bursting with produce. The walls were covered with hundreds of fruit trees, both inside and out.”
Over the intervening centuries Gordon Castle suffered from bad winters and struggled with debt. Three quarters of the aristocratic home were pulled down and all but one of the glasshouses in the walled garden collapsed; Willie Robertson, the head gardener, cared for the 259 fruit trees while the rest of the kitchen garden was left to grass between 1944 and 2010.
In 2008 Angus Gordon-Lennox, eighthgeneration Grenadier Guard-turned-investment banker at Cazenove, inherited the estate, which has gradually shrunk from 3,300 acres to 500.
The enterprising Gordon-Lennox and his wife Zara have reintroduced the Highland Games and rent the castle out for events and weddings. It sleeps 18 and appeals to keen fisherman with its frontage on the river Spey. Their most arduous undertaking was the revival of the historic walled garden, which not only supplies the award-winning café with fruit and vegetables, but provides ingredients for an assembly line of Gordon Castle products that are sold internationally. Gordon Castle gin is shipped to six countries and contains lavender and mint from the walled garden.
“We are not big enough to compete with the polytunnels of the east coast to sell fruit into the supermarkets, and we can’t rely solely on fishing or weddings to maintain the house. But our Gordon Castle products are scaleable, and we can make millions of bottles of
Angus and Zara Gordon-Lennox, main; the eight-acre walled garden in the snow, below