When does a garden become a garden? It’s a question that’s crossed our minds more than a few times this year, as we began work to clear the Aros Park Historic Walled Garden, paving the way for the big picture restoration to take place.
There’s no disputing that decades ago, this garden was a hive of cultivation, supplying the house with fresh produce and cut flowers. But in the period since, the forest has reclaimed much of the garden.
Self-sown trees sprouted within the walls, the rhododendrons and bracken covered the ground. And yet incredibly, some of the box hedging remains, adding a burst of green to guide us back towards the old paths.
It’s been just over a year since the steering group formed to forge a new future for the garden. We’ve had a full growing season getting our hands dirty weeding and clearing too. While arguably the garden is still closer to a jungle than a horticultural haven, we’ve had some successes to celebrate.
We’ve rediscovered long last paths and made them walkable once again thanks to a plentiful supply of wood chip and logs. It’s not only us who have been enjoying them too – dog walkers, families and – of course – the deer have been leaving their tracks.
We’ve dug, weeded and cleared beds and tucked them up under a thick winter mulch. There are many more beds to tackle, but for the first time in decades, progress is being made. Making the site accessible is the first step in enabling the big restoration to begin.
For our final working party of the year, we were blessed for the first time with blue skies and sunshine. Surrounded by a canopy of autumn colour and with glimpses of the glassy lochan through the stone archways, there can be few more beautiful places to garden, if a little on the wild side right now.
As winter creeps closer, it’s time for us to give our tools and the garden a rest. But we’ll be back in full force in the spring, just as the bracken will be, and we need as many hands on deck as we can. Whether you can help us identify long-hidden plants or have some muscle power to lend, or you can keep us going with tea and cake, we’d love to see you at the garden.
Take a look at here to find out how you can get involved, and keep an eye on our diary dates. We hope to see you soon!