WHEN the makers of the TV series Outlander needed to cast a Scottish garden to stand in for those at the French royal place at Versailles they came to Crieff.

Drummond Castle Gardens may be slightly smaller than the gardens of Versailles (the former, at its grandest, was somewhere in the region of 12 acres in size; the latter is, umm, 800 hectares), but it is still a handsome location that offers a suitable vision of courtly formality even if it is on a smaller scale than Louis XIV might have been used to.

Of course, small is not how it feels when you walk into it. After driving under a mile-long avenue of beech trees to reach Drummond Castle, your first sight of the gardens stretching away in front of you is quite the breathtaker, a sweeping view across a garden that has been ordered and constrained into geometric patterns over centuries.

Originally created in the 17th century (the sundial at its heart dates back to 1630), then redesigned and terraced in the 19th century, before being replanted in the 1950s, the gardens, when they’re not standing in for France, are a link to Scotland’s past.

The castle itself dates back to the end of the 15th century and there are records of the First Lord Drummond sending cherries to James IV in 1508. The King was hunting in Glen Artney forest nearby at the time.

But the gardens were instigated by the second Earl when he succeeded to the title in 1612. The garden’s fortunes waxed and waned with the Jacobite cause through the 18th century. The formal gardens were abandoned after 1745 and it wasn’t until the 19th century, under the ownership of Clementina Drummond and her husband Peter Robert Willoughby, that they began to be restored and developed.

Queen Victoria even visited in in 1842 and expressed her approval. One of the beech trees she planted can still be seen.

A formal garden is, of course, an attempt by humanity to bring order to the chaos of nature. It is in some ways a gesture of power. But then gardens also remind us that our time frame is so short when compared to the seasons. We can assert our dominance, but the land will outlast us.

But then this may be the consolation of gardens too. They tell us that life is finite, but that life also goes on.

As the 17th-century poet Andrew Marvell said, a garden allows us to discover “a green thought in a green shade.”

Drummond Castle Gardens is the perfect place for such thinking.

Visit drummondcastlegardens.co.uk