NEWS : Borthwick Castle's garden 'grows' back in time

A leading Scottish chef and a TV gardener have teamed up to restore one of Scotland’s most historic walled gardens. 

Derek Johnstone, Head Chef at Borthwick Castle, has announced a collaboration with garden designer and horticulturalist Pete Jackson to redevelop the Midlothian private-hire venue’s original walled garden.

Pete Jackson (left) and Derek Johnstone get to work in redeveloping Borthwick Castle's historic walled garden.jpg

Expected to open in spring 2020, Borthwick Castle’s four-acre walled garden will also be home to Scotland’s first kitchen garden to specialise in growing historic herbs, vegetables and fruits. The Borthwick Castle kitchen garden will cultivate culinary herbs dating back to the 16th century, alongside heritage vegetables which will be supplied directly to the kitchen.

Work began on the Borthwick Castle walled garden in autumn 2018, to clear the space in preparation for development. Winter vegetables will be planted this autumn, including horseradish, heritage carrots and golden beetroot, alongside herbs such as chervil, thyme and rosemary. 

Derek and Pete’s shared vision for the space at North Middleton, by Gorebridge, extends to the pear and James Grieve apple trees which will be planted around the perimeter of the garden over the coming weeks. James Grieve apples, which originated in Edinburgh in the 1890s during the Victorian period of apple development, will be grown for use in the Borthwick Castle kitchen for cooking and juicing.

While the Borthwick Castle walled garden will primarily be a private space for castle guests and a sustainable source of ingredients for the kitchen, the space will be open to the public on select dates throughout the year. More details are expected to be announced this winter. Derek and Pete also hope that in time, the walled garden can provide educational opportunities for local schools to learn about food provenance, the environment and the great outdoors.