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GARDEN in progress

Gaby Bartai visits a Scottish walled garden which fell into dereliction but is now being recreated for a 21st-century clientele


“Erica is working to a five-year timeframe to recreate the garden”

Ornamental edibles in the potager area

Archerfield Walled Garden, 20 miles east of Edinburgh, had a cafe serving excellent home cooking and baking, a microbrewery making craft ales, a food market selling the best in local produce, a gift shop, an events programme, walks, running routes and a children’s play area.

What it didn’t have was a garden.

There were walls, certainly, but the garden within them was long gone.Thought to have been built in the 1780s and covering a hectare (2.5 acres), it served Archerfield House into the early 20th century. Records show remarkable productivity, including 110 varieties of apple and 57 pears. Extensive ranges of glass included seven vineries, two peach houses, forcing houses, pineapple pits and melon frames. But after the Second World War it became a market garden, then a cattle court, then derelict. The glasshouses were demolished in the 1970s.

Archerfield’s customers regularly expressed disappointment at finding no garden at the Walled Garden, and eventually the owners decided that something had to be done. Head gardener Erica Randall was appointed to take charge of an ambitious project to reinvent a garden on an almost entirely blank canvas. When she started work in June 2015, there was little beyond a polytunnel, a few raised beds, and pathways dividing the largely empty ground into six.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

This month : Get set to harvest - pick your perfect pumpkins plus harvesting kit on test 6-page special feature - pck crops of tasty berries 8 home-grown recipes to suit every taste Save £££ make your own handy crop covers 13 top tips to tidy your plot this autumn Instant savers & giveways - the case for organic seeds Juicy smoothies - grow your own health drinks + 7 Exclusive videos!