IT IS a historic garden which dates back to 1675 when it was originally laid out by Sir Alexander Seton, a retired Court of Session judge in the reign of James VII. 


His head gardener had designed gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and was similarly influenced by the French Palace of Versailles. 
Its manicured shape gave Pitmedden Garden its unique charm. After falling into neglect, in the 1950s it was gifted to the the National Trust for Scotland who re-created the garden based on 17th-century plans after it was ploughed up to grow vegetables during the Second World War and used as a kitchen garden for more 100 years.
Now Scotland's conservation charity  is celebrating the completion of a pioneering project, bringing a 21st century approach to one of Scotland’s most historic gardens, focussing on its future sustainability and a less resource-intensive approach to its care.

HeraldScotland: Redesigned garden is now open to the publicRedesigned garden is now open to the public
Pitmedden Garden is famous for its formal parterre layout, using box-hedging. This structured design was very much the trend of that time and needs constant care and attention to maintain.
The new design created by RHS Chelsea Flower Show 14-times gold medallist Chris Beardshaw transforms one of the great garden’s upper areas using modern horticultural practices to maximise floral reward, biodiversity and aesthetics, and reduce resources required in its care in the interests of sustainability and the changing climate.  

HeraldScotland: Pitmedden Garden dates back to the 17th centuryPitmedden Garden dates back to the 17th century
Amongst the species planted are grasses such as Deschampsia cespitosa, beautiful blue cornflowers, prairie plants like helenium and three different types of peonies. Planted throughout 2021 by NTS gardens staff and students and specialist contractors and suppliers, this summer is the first opportunity to see the new parterre in full bloom.
Alongside the hedging, borders and 200 fruit trees throughout the rest of the garden, the biodiverse nature of Pitmedden really is a delight for the senses and has something for everyone to enjoy.
The project is part of the National Trust for Scotland’s ten-year strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for Everyone, and contributes to the charity’s engagement objectives to provide inspiring heritage experiences.
It will also help support the charity’s efforts to become carbon negative by 2031/32.
The project was inspired by and has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the late Professor Ian Young and his wife Sylvia, who enjoyed a long association with and a deep love for Aberdeenshire.
Their son Neil said: "As a keen gardener our father was particularly drawn to the development of the upper terrace at Pitmedden. He was no passive observer of the project but took great interest in the work as it developed. We think he would have been delighted to see how the Pitmedden vision of Chris Beardshaw and the National Trust for Scotland has been turned into a stunning reality.”

HeraldScotland: The new design created by RHS Chelsea Flower Show 14-times gold medallist Chris Beardshaw The new design created by RHS Chelsea Flower Show 14-times gold medallist Chris Beardshaw
Philip Long OBE, Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland, said they want to preserve the rich history that Pitmedden Garden represents whilst bringing in modern practices that will make the garden more sustainable. 
He said: "As the climate changes, we need to be sure that Pitmedden Garden will continue to thrive in the future. Chris Beardshaw’s wonderful and inspiring design will help us achieve that and give visitors an even more enriching experience at this beautiful place.
“We are very grateful to the generous donors who have made this project possible. Thanks to support like this, our gardens can provide a place for plants, wildlife to flourish and people to enjoy, giving everyone the chance to enjoy nature, beauty and heritage.”
Chris Beardshaw, Landscape Designer, said was trying to establish a modern response to the regimented design of the 17th and 18th century.
He said: "For the new scheme there was a clear need to present designs that embraced aspects of a formal pattern, but establish this utilising carefully designed robust communities of plants to deliver a sequential floral reward, while being mutually supportive. The planting was specifically selected to maximise biodiversity and aesthetic reward but minimise resource demands, and importantly, place the viewer amongst the design pattern allowing an immersive ‘de-constructed parterre, experience. The planting will take a few seasons to bed in and fully establish, but already we are seeing the broad design intent starting to emerge offering a wonderful complimentary experience to the traditional lower formal parterres at Pitmedden.”