Gardening with Jim Saul – Picton Castle Gardens.

woodland walks at Picton Castle

Christmas comes to Picton Castle

This weekend sees the start of the festive season at Picton Castle and Gardens with two days of Christmas market to rival the best you could find anywhere in Europe and then the Magical Family Christmas in December.

However, the life of the castle and its grounds carries on in the background and there is still plenty to see outside too. Perhaps you may be glad of a break from the festivities inside the castle and courtyard and take a stroll around the gardens and woods…..

Our gardening correspondent, Jim Saul is one of the team of garden volunteers that support Roddy Milne and the garden  staff maintain and develop the extensive grounds and he took me around to see the magnificent autumn colours and preparations for the winter in the gardens and woodlands. many visitors have remarked particularly on the changes in the woodland area and credit must be given to Roddy’s inspiration and expertise.

The staff inside the castle were frantically busy preparing and decorating ready for the weekend and much of the glorious yuletide colour comes from the wonderful array of foliage from the gardens –

to be used in Christmas decor


we discovered plenty of trimmings collected near the entrance, including some mahonia japonica – this sweetly scented tough shrub with stunning autumn colour is ideal for display purposes.


To enjoy the remaining autumn colours at their best then I would recommend you enjoy a stroll through the many woodland walks – have some stout shoes though as it is quite muddy. The japanese maples are still spectacular ( you would just be in time to enjoy these this weekend) and the willow cornus glade is  also full of colour – you may well spot some of this inside the castle as the whippy stems with white berries are coloured red and yellow. Jim explained that these need to be pruned back in March to allow the colourful stems to grow ready for the autumn display.

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