Garden Wonderwall

Gill Harley does her bit for the garden
Gill Harley does her bit for the garden
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IF walls could talk, what would the magnificent 16ft stone creations surrounding the eight acres of Amisfield Walled Gardens tell of times past? Because this 18th century East Lothian enclosure knows all about the tides of fortune.

Built by the one of the region’s most famous aristocratic families, the Wemyss, the money lavished on its creation, complete with Gothic folly and Rococo summer house, was designed to impress guests at the noble estate. But its glory days didn’t last long – within 100 years, the descendants of its aristocratic creators decamped to Gosford House and the years of decline began, not just for the garden but also the estate‘s once stunning Palladian mansion and surrounding park.

Requisitioned by the military during the First World War, the house was dismantled by a local builder looking to plunder the stone in the following years, then demolished in 1928. The park became an army camp during the Second World War, then a home for prisoners of war from far-flung corners of the old Soviet Empire, while the garden was dug up in order to plant potatoes.