Gleneagles Townhouse
Scottish Dreamscapes

How to Bring the Colours of Scotland Home

19 July 2023

We catch up with Head Gardener William Moir on the art behind Gleneagles’ beds and tips for recreating their magic at home.

With nearby Auchterarder translating as “upper wetlands” and the local climate shaped by strong winds and late frosts, it’s safe to say that Gleneagles’ rugged location doesn’t make for the easiest growing conditions. Yet the gardening team take this in their stride, producing beautiful year-round displays. “The best part of my job is the sheer number of people who get to enjoy these gardens, says Gleneagles’ Head Gardener William Moir, referencing the sunken garden near the entrance, the flower garden, where plants such as vetiver and St John’s Wort mirror the botanicals used in the spa, and the fountain garden – a central focal point outside the Glendevon restaurant.

“We’re not a traditional estate in terms of walled gardens,” says William of a planting scheme that instead pairs herbaceous perennials with grasses in beds designed to reflect Gleneagles’ surroundings. “The purples, lilacs and mauves mirror the colours of the heathers in the glens and the Ochil Hills to the south,” says William. “Similar to techniques used in landscape painting, the foreground colours are more vibrant, slowly fading to lighter shades with increased distance.” Standout species include the deep blue Aconitum ‘Bressingham Spire’, bright pink Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ and the ruffled Iris iberica. Grasses such as deschampsia are mixed throughout to give year-round interest, with golden stems and green foliage in spring and summer leaving seed heads that provide architectural interest when the flowers die down.

To replicate the magic of these displays at home, William says that site, soil and shelter are crucial. “The Aconitums and lavenders found in the fountain beds are sun-loving plants,” he says. “Soil needs to be moist but not waterlogged and plants need to be protected from strong winds.” Two species he recommends are the ‘Johnson’s Blue’ geranium, a beautiful all-year round performer and Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ – a striking grass that can grow up to 1.5 metres tall – both sure to bring the character of Gleneagles to your own garden.