Dating back to the Renaissance (if not earlier) it is not surprising that The Walled Garden is the oldest garden at Cawdor Castle.
The family archives indicate the presence of orchards on the site of the current Walled Garden. Developed over the years and with the addition of a host of exotic seeds in the late seventeenth century. The Walled Garden naturally developed into one of the finest Victorian Gardens of its kind. Due to increasing number of visitors to the Castle, and with many of them helping themselves to the gardens treasures, it was eventually closed to the public.
Remodeled in 1981 by Lord Cawdor and incorporating over 1200 holly plants, the top half of the Walled Garden was developed into a maze. Taking inspiration from the mosaic floor of the ruined Roman villa of Conimbriga in Portugal. In classical form depicts the Minotaurs Labyrinth in Knossos in Crete.
In addition, some years later in 2015 American born sculptor Gregory Ryan created the Minotaur that stands visibly and proudly in the middle of the Cawdor labyrinth.
Surrounding the maze on three sides is the Laburnum arch offering a waterfall of yellow flowers from late May until June.
Situated in the lower half of the garden is the orchard, planted in 1983 – 1984 with standard apples, pears an plums. Look out for the grey like growths on the trees, this is lichen. These dual organisms compromising of fungi and algae, grow in close association and thrive in low polluted air.
Amongst the orchard look for the Tree of Life sculpture by the Arran artist Tom Pomeroy. Containing a sun, crescent moon, and planetary symbols depicting Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Very symbolic in various religions, the symbol of the sun is homage to the giver of life.
The Knot Garden
Records show that there was a parterre here many years ago, growing plants for either medicinal or culinary purposes. Throughout the Knot Garden and you’ll be surrounded by the delicate scents of rosemary, sage, and lemon balm. Box hedges of Thyme and Dianthus create a seven pointed star around a gray terracotta sculpture. Adam and Eve Driven from Paradise by French sculptor George Jeanclos, signifies that earthly paradise did not last forever.
The Paradise Garden
Deliberately hidden, the entrance to Paradise is not easy to find. Nestled behind a circular yew hedge discover a garden full of fragrant flowers, the sound of running water and peace. Designed personally by Dowager Countess Cawdor in 1990, The Paradise Garden is a symbolic representation of ‘heaven-on-earth’. Furthermore The Bronze Fountain in the middle represents the personal cosmology of the Dowager. Plants are in flower here throughout the year, and all of them ‘a whiter shade of pale’.
There is so much to discover in all the gardens at Cawdor. Consider becoming a Friend of Cawdor Castle and Gardens. Offering unlimited visits to the gardens throughout May until October, you can witness the seasonal changes for yourself. Find out more here.