Aldourie Castle

Location: Loch Ness, Inverness

Website: Aldourie Castle website

Aldourie Castle garden has been designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. It is an ambitious modern reimagining of a traditional castle garden and grounds. The garden is built upon an older footprint with some historic elements remaining, such as three fantastic glasshouses and an arboretum. The garden also includes a walled garden, formal castle garden, parkland and cottage gardens.

The walled garden contains a large productive area where a range of vegetables and cut flowers are organically grown using techniques developed from some of the leading urban farms in America. There are also espaliered pears and apples as well as some soft fruit.

There are large naturalistic mixed borders covering a range of habitats these contain a wide range of herbaceous and shrubby plants as well as yew topiaries. There is also a rose garden within the walled garden and a newly-planted orchard just outside. The historic glasshouses are used to grow vegetables tomatoes, cucumbers, figs and herbs. There is also a propagation glasshouse which also houses the house plant collection.

A new garden has been created at the castle itself to give it a more refined setting. This garden consists of large naturalistic herbaceous borders, including several beech topiaries, with a central lawn and a surrounding yew hedge. There is an extensive terrace and smaller flower beds around the castle.

The arboretum, containing some old tree specimens, is currently the subject of an interesting regeneration project. Extensive clearing of Rhododendron ponticum and R. luteum opening the space, allowing in more light. Some planting has taken place, and the next phase is to continue replanting trees/shrubs and to establish an herbaceous layer.

Trainees at Aldourie would gain a wide variety of practical skills including all the horticultural techniques associated with a productive walled garden. Ornamental gardening will be taught, as well as knowledge and skills relating to the arboretum. Machinery used on site includes hedge trimmers, strimmers, and push lawn mowers. Additionally, trainees would receive in-depth plant walk-arounds and be given planting design training. Trainees also take part in our own staff development program.

Placements available: One

Staff numbers: 5 full-time horticulturalists; 1 HBGTP trainee

Ease of access: Inverness railway station is 15 minutes’ drive away. Inverness Airport, which has direct flights to London, Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin and Belfast, is 30 minutes’ drive away.

Accommodation: No dedicated accommodation available.


Aldourie Walled Garden 1 Aldourie Walled Garden 2 Aldourie Walled Garden 3 Aldourie Walled Garden 4 Aldourie ArboretumJPG Aldourie Castle Garden Aldourie new 2 Aldourie Fe & Elsie in veg garden Aldourie new 1 Aldourie new photo

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