About the garden
The National Trust for Scotland
Pitmedden Garden, known as the ‘The Great Garden’, dates back to 1675 when founder Sir Alexander Seton, 1st Baronet of Pitmedden laid out the foundations of his walled paradise. The garden was a magnificent formal geometric layout comprised of pavilions, fountains and four main parterres. It had been passed down through the generations until the Keith family bought the property in 1894 at auction. It was run by Major James Keith and his wife Margaret until 1952 when he felt he could no longer care for the property in the same manner and bequeathed it to the National Trust for Scotland along with a generous endowment to help maintain it.
At the time of the handover the Keiths had transformed the garden into that typical of a kitchen/working market style with fruits and vegetables growing in abundance. The new head gardener George Barron, with the guidance of Dr James Richardson, re-designed and transformed the garden back to a layout more synonymous of a traditional 17th Century style.
Three of the four parterres currently located on the bottom terrace were inspired by designs that were possibly used in Charles II’s gardens at the Palace of Holyrood house, Edinburgh in 1647. The fourth parterre is a heraldic design based upon the Seton coat of arms with the two newer parterres on the top terrace installed in 1992.
Today, 156 meticulously trained apple and pear cultivars line the walls, archway and orchard bearing glorious fruit in autumn. There is a further explosion of colour in the lower garden parterres thanks to plantings of 20,000-plus annuals, a scene framed beautifully by herbaceous borders. Stone sculptures from John Maine punctuate the view, while the Chris Beardshaw-designed parterres invite you to walk through the ebbing and flowing floristic meadow.
Please note: this garden is partially accessible.