Abbotsford’s garden experience

Abbotsford gardensAbbotsford’s garden experience – Joanna Swiers is one of the gardeners at Abbotsford and she has been sharing her thoughts about her work there.

“Sir Walter Scott loved his garden and it’s easy to see why.  He designed the grounds like a suite of outdoor garden rooms that started at the house and eventually led to the Walled or kitchen garden where he is said to have spent a lot of time.

“The Walled Garden is extremely beautiful with a sloping, south-west facing outlook and glorious views over the Tweed Valley. I love the fact that it has been used as a kitchen garden for over 200 years supplying the family and their guests with home-grown produce.

“There are apple trees here that we think are over 100 years old as well as beautifully-gnarled fruit trees that are impossible to date but that still produce delicious Victoria plums and pears.

The gardens will open to the public again this Summer and we’re currently working on re-designing part of the Walled Garden to make it more accessible for different groups and to engage students and community groups.

“For example, we’re planting some fabulous purple carrots and purple cauliflower to spark an interest in planting from some of the schoolchildren who will be visiting.

“In March and April, we start sowing seeds and will divide the herbaceous perennials.  Then, in May, we’ll see a glorious stretch of vibrantly-coloured tulips and daffodils which Scott’s great, great grand-daughters, Mrs Patricia and Dame Jean Maxwell Scott, added to each year.

“The Summer months will be filled with colour as the flowers bloom and the fruit and vegetables come into their own.

“I just love researching the history of these gardens and think it’s amazing that I’m walking on the same paths that Scott used around these grounds. He was also a prolific tree planter and some of the trees he planted still grow here today including two beautiful yews at the entrance to the Walled Garden.

“The estate was much larger in Scott’s day and from some parts of the garden, you can see the trees he planted for miles.

“As well as working here, I’m also an artist and jeweller.  I take a lot of inspiration from the flowers and plants I see here and believe that spending time in the gardens at Abbotsford will be equally inspirational for all of our visitors when we re-open this Summer,” she told Explore the Borders.

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