Historic Pitmedden Garden to grow into modern mecca for nature fans

by John Ross, Press and Journal, January 15, 2021,

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Plans to reinvent a popular Aberdeenshire attraction will be rolled out this spring.

Planting will begin to redevelop Pitmedden Garden and help it grow into a model for a modern and sustainable attraction in a historic setting.

The National Trust for Scotland has unveiled plans to “reinterpret” the classic parterre garden for a modern audience and changing climate.

The garden dates back to 1675 when it was originally laid out by Sir Alexander Seton. In the 1950s the trust re-created the garden based on 17th-century plans of the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Now it is being updated with the help of renowned landscape architect Chris Beardshaw, the Beechgrove Garden presenter and Chelsea Flower Show garden designer.

The charity plans to develop the upper parterres to bring a more naturalistic style of design within the famous formal garden, known for its immaculate presentation and neat box hedges.

Plans for the project, which has been possible due to a “generous donor”, started in 2018.

Progress has been impacted by Covid-19, but planting preparations are now well under way. Archaeology and geophysics experts have been consulted to ensure that no hidden historical structures will be affected.

Gardens and landscape advisor Chris Wardle said: “We saw a chance to depart from formality and the normal. The plan was to look at reinterpreting the style to a new audience.

“We wanted to look afresh at this nationally important and quality horticultural garden at Pitmedden and what it contained, to take the opportunity to re-model and redefine the current design to satisfy the demands of modern visitors.”

Another important aim for the project is to ‘future proof’ the garden by focusing on modern gardening styles, biodiversity, responsible resource management and climate change.

The team reviewed the historic relevance and importance of the garden to ensure that the approach enhanced the current garden.

The new project will focus on the upper terraces, which were redesigned in the 1990s and are no longer felt to fit with the garden.

Mr Wardle added: “It was this part of the garden that really gave us the opportunity to think differently.

“The new design will have more movement, seasonality and is more modern in its look and feel. We hope this will help make the garden more accessible to people who do not have a lot of gardening knowledge.”

The design has been created by Mr Beardshaw who has conducted detailed historical research to create a unique scheme for the garden which reflected its past and added to the garden for the future.

He has drawn on the layout of the famous Vaux la Vicomte near Paris, which was established around the same time as Pitmedden, for inspiration, including the scrolls and swirls of this complicated layout.

He said: “From a horticultural perspective the proposed parterre will become an exemplar, the largest in the UK, of an approach that balances beauty and biodiversity with sustainability and a changing climate, as well as the careful considerations needed in a historic setting of this importance. It’s a delicate equilibrium.”

The National Trust for Scotland would like to thank Professor Ian Young and his wife Sylvia, who enjoyed a long association with and deep love of Aberdeenshire, for supporting this place.

Originally acquired by James Seton in 1603, the elaborate and formal garden was laid out by his second son and daughter-in-law, Alexander and Margaret Lauder from 1675.

A distinguished lawyer, knighted in 1664 by Charles II, Alexander undoubtedly drew on connections with his mentor the 3rd Earl of Winton and architect Sir William Bruce and it is suggested that he latter significantly influenced the formal layout of the gardens.

As a Royalist in exile, Bruce was known to have visited Andre le Notre at Vaux le Vicomte and later Versailles to absorb the high French Classical style.

Bruce completed designs for Holyrood House for Charles II in 1671 with gardens being laid out at Holyrood 1668-74. The extent to which Bruce was mimicking le Notre’s style is uncertain but the mid-17th century designs for Holyrood House depict extensive parterres.

Although no detail is evident of the formal gardens, the plans from mid-19th century show a geometric and formal structure of landscape spaces with indications of the lower terrace walls and associated buildings.

PITMEDDEN AMENITIES TRUST

6th NOVEMBER 2020 The Pitmedden Amenities Trust AGM will be held virtually this year so we ask that anyone who would like to join us for the meeting, please get in touch and we can send you a link to the Zoom location.

Volunteers are always very welcome for the Amenities Trust. Spaces will be available on the Trust so please get involved. For more information, please contact PAT on the details below. We hope to see you there virtually!

The Pitmedden Amenities Trust is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organization (SCIO) registered with the Charities Commission and is governed by a Board of trustees and volunteer helpers. The PAT own and operate Pitmedden Hall and Own the public Park by the School as well as leasing the The School Car Park and much of the Playground to Aberdeenshire Council.

Their job is to ensure the long term sustainable management of both and develop other public environment, leisure and education assets on behalf of the Community of Pitmedden and wider Udny.

Recycling centres to have increased flexibility

Recycling centres to allow pedestrian access and increased flexibility

Following public feedback and a review of user behaviour at household recycling centres (HRCs),

Aberdeenshire Council is introducing improved services at centres this week.

Beginning tomorrow (Wednesday, July 29), booking slots will be reduced from 30 minutes to 15 minutes to reduce queues at the start of appointments. With the majority of residents arriving at the start of their 30-minute time slots and visits completed within 10-15 minutes, this change will be more suited to the visiting patterns of residents.

The number of available bookings at Insch and Portsoy will also increase from 36 to 96 per week.

Beginning on Saturday, August 1, residents will be allowed to book 8 slots over a 4-week period, rather than the current 2 slots per week. This change will allow people with specific projects (i.e. gardening or home renovations) to access their local site more frequently over a short period of time.

August 1 will also see a change at the centres in Portsoy, Insch, Westhill, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Turriff and Laurencekirk. These sites will allow pedestrians to enter between 12:00 and 12:30 every day. Pedestrian access will not require a booking.

Claire Loney, Reprocessing and Disposal Manager at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “After listening to your feedback, these changes aim to address more specific needs and offer greater flexibility for the public.

“These new arrangements are a step closer towards ‘normality’, and we hope they are met with the same success as previously plans.

“The booking system will remain in place for the time being to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and I would like to thank residents for their continued support and patience as we enter this new stage.”

To make a booking, please visit: http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/recyclingcentrebookings

For those who do not have access to a computer, telephone bookings can be made by calling Aberdeenshire Council’s Wasteline on 03456 081207.

Aberdeenshire Council also operate seasonal garden waste recycling points on Saturdays until October 31 at the following locations:

Balmedie: Leisure Centre car park, Eigie Road 1pm to 4pm

Newmachar: The Axis Centre, School Road, 8am to 11am

Oldmeldrum: Academy bus car park, Colpy Road, 1pm to 4pm

For more information on Household Recycling Centres, including operating times, please visit: http://bit.ly/AbshireHRC.

Scams exploiting COVID-19

Scams centered on exploiting COVID-19 have become prevalent in recent months. Everything from government grants and furlough payments, to mortgage holidays and demands for payment of fines, are being targeted by scammers utilising ever more sophisticated methods.

Many scammers are using “phishing” and “smishing” (the term for phishing by SMS/text message) techniques to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. They do this by disguising themselves as a trustworthy organisation in an email or text message, then by offering refunds or demanding payments, then direct the recipients to enter personal information on a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site.

The Scottish Government’s latest cyber resilience bulletin has details on a number of specific scam to watch out for, along with advice on steps you can take and sources of guidance and help.