Plant highlights at Brodick Castle this September

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As we enter the final weeks of the summer season there is still plenty of colour to see in and around the walled garden at Brodick Castle. Here gardens and designed landscape manager, Tim Keyworth, gives his five highlight plants for September.

Anigozanthos manglesii

The Kangaroos paw is a terrific plant for showcasing the rare climate that the gardens at Brodick Castle enjoy. Native to Western Australia, it is frost tender but survived the winter in the Walled garden having been planted in 2019. A frost is a rare occurrence in the gardens here and we are one of the warmest gardens in Scotland. The rain and wind being our biggest challenge!

Back to the Kangaroo paw, the red and green flower is exquisite. The tall stems are so that they can be easily pollinated by birds. This plant can be seen in the south facing border near the top entrance to the walled garden.

Eucomis autumnalis

The pineapple lily is currently thriving in the borders leading down to the sundial space in the Walled garden. This tender bulb is easy to grow and survives quite happily through the winter here given a mulch to protect it from the worst of the winter wet.

It is the unusual flower which gives the bulb its common name. Being from South Africa it prefers a sunny, well drained position where possible. Adored by the bees these plants are certainly a buzz at the moment!

Dahlia ‘Mexican Star’

This is by far one of the most elegant flowers on display in the gardens just now. It is a hybrid cross with Chocolate Cosmos so boasts a faint smell of chocolate, what more could you ask for? The single maroon flowers work well in the summer border and can also be used for cut flowers. We will be lifting these in the coming months to protect from the worst of the winter wet. You will find the Mexican Dahlia in the borders that lead from the sundial space.

Brassica oleracea var capitata F rubra

More commonly known as red cabbage! It is a bit of a wild card inclusion in to this months highlight plants, but it fully deserves its place in the top five. Brassicas are very useful architectural plants for use in summer bedding displays and ours can be seen flourishing around the outside of the sundial space in the walled garden. The bright red leaves provide a nice contrast to the plants nearby and they have escaped being attacked by the caterpillars!

Using vegetables to form a display in the walled garden is also a nod to the past and the gardens history. The upper walled garden was originally built as a productive garden in 1710 and remained this way up until the marriage of Princess Marie of Baden to the 11th Duke of Hamilton in 1843. It will be lovely to grow more of an ornamental vegetable display in part of this space in the future but for now our focus is very much maintenance and growing the rare and unusual in the walled garden.

Hydrangea quercifolia

The oak leaved Hydrangea, well worth growing for the unusual leaf alone! Originating from the United States it boasts white flowers at during August and September that then give way to stunning Autumn colour as the leaves change from green to shades of red and purple.

It can be seen growing around the outside of the walled garden nor far from the main gate and next to the Bananas.

The gardens, grounds and adventure playground are now open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm. Please check the National Trust for Scotland website before visiting.


Dahlia ‘Mexican Star’ NO_B38flowers01

Kangaroo paw NO_B38flowers02

Eucomis autumnalis NO_B38flowers03

Hydrangea quercifolia NO_B38flowers04

Red cabbage NO_B38flowers05

Brodick Castle NO_B38flowers06