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With Brodick Castle gardens and country park reopening on Monday here Tim Keyworth, gardens and designed landscapes manager, Ayrshire & Arran, takes a look at five plants that will be at their best in the walled garden this month.
Over the past few months, during the lockdown period, the gardening team at Brodick have been working hard on the walled garden, to ensure that it’s ready for the return of visitors.
A large amount of renovation work has been carried out in the upper walled garden over recent years and this continues to develop and settle in.
To celebrate our reopening and whet your appetite, I’ve picked five plants that will be looking really good in the walled garden this July.
The regal lily is a native of China. It took the renowned plant hunter Ernest Henry Wilson several attempts to introduce this magnificent lily into cultivation in the UK. Unfortunately, on the successful expedition Wilson badly broke his leg, which left him with a permanent limp.
One of the easiest lilies to grow, all this perennial bulb asks for is well-drained, rich soil and a sunny site in which to flourish. The trumpet flowers are white with yellow throats. The outside of the trumpet boasts purple markings and, perhaps best of all, the scent is heavenly!
Look out for this plant near to the main gate in the walled garden.
Grevillea ‘Canberra gem’
Native to Australia and commonly known as the spider flower, this vigorous shrub produces unusual red flowers that cover its rosemary-type foliage. It will flower for the majority of the year if the planting conditions are right, but it’s at its best from late winter through into summer. It prefers well-drained soil and a sheltered position. Hardy down to -10°, it may suffer in a severe frost but flourishes in the micro-climate enjoyed here in the walled garden.
This is one of the newly planted shrubs in the border at the very top of the walled garden, which can be clearly seen from the heather house above.
Eccremocarpus scaber (red form)
The Chilean glory flower is a great plant for adding an exotic look to any garden. It boasts many clusters of red or orange tubular flowers from late spring all the way through to autumn. Being a climber, it may need support but it works well climbing through other trees and shrubs and is great for hiding any bare stems.
Vigorous and quick to flower, this plant is often grown as an annual but it’s actually a perennial and, if grown in a frost-free sheltered position, may survive for several years. It sets seeds freely and is easy to germinate.
Here in the walled garden it can be seen climbing up the recently installed plant supports, which were hand-crafted by Simon Horne – a local Arran blacksmith. The plant supports add much-needed height to the garden.
Native to Mexico, the yoke-leaved amicia is a showy plant to grow, giving interest to the garden over different seasons. It’s a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) and yellow flowers are produced throughout the autumn. However, it’s perhaps the heart-shaped leaflets and purple bracts that are the standout feature of this plant.
It is hardy down to -10° but will reshoot from the base if damaged by a cold winter.
The amicia is located further down the same border as the regal lily, on the way down to the newly renovated sundial space. This border is not far from the main gates to the walled garden.
Alstroemeria ‘ligtu hybrids’
There are several varieties of alstroemeria currently flowering in the gardens … and it is difficult to pick a favourite! Native to South America and commonly known as the Peruvian lily, this tuberous perennial is easy to grow. It flowers from late spring up until the first frost and it adds a substantial amount of colour to many a border.
At Brodick Castle, this plant is perhaps best seen in the borders that surround the sundial space.
The National Trust for Scotland look forward to welcoming you back – please remember to check opening times on the website before you visit. The garden and country park will be opening Thursday–Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday) from July 6 onwards.
Ecremocarpus scaber NO_B27castle01
Astroemeria ‘lighu hybrids’ NO_B27castle02
Amicia zygomerisno NO_B27castle03
Grevillea ‘Canberra gem NO_B27castle04
Lillium regalle NO_B27castle05