GARDENERS with the National Trust for Scotland in Aberdeenshire are celebrating the completion of a new rose garden at Crathes Castle.

It comes after a decade of planning, reconstruction work and planting with the redesigned garden set to open to the public from July 23.

Design elements span nearly five millennia with the team taking inspiration from the area’s Neolithic past, the history of Crathes Castle and the area.

Visitors are describing it as a “renaissance” of the garden (below), one of eight “rooms” in the castle’s internationally known walled garden.

The National:

The castle was built by Alexander Burnett in the 16th century, although its roots date as far back as the 14th century when Robert the Bruce initially granted the family some nearby land.

Head gardener James Hannaford said: “While the rose garden was rejuvenated several times in the 20th century, the designs and plantings still looked back to a traditional, formal Victorian design, a format that was looking tired by the 2010s.

"So, while the earlier designs had been classics of their time, the team at Crathes set themselves the challenge to reimagine the design, bringing it alive for new generations while also referencing its history and retaining elements like the famous yew hedges which date back to 1702 or earlier.

"Following several years of design and planning by our charity’s expert gardeners and other specialists, and then a year of reconstruction, ground preparation and planting, the garden is now in full and glorious bloom for the first time this summer.

"We hope that people of all ages will love this garden, enjoy it, help us care for it and share it."

The layout of the eight flower beds replicates a stylised Burnett rose, the use of lavender in the outer borders references the historical lavender industry around Banchory, and materials used in the construction, such as Caithness stone, are locally sourced.

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The centrepiece of the garden is a carved granite reproduction of a Neolithic stone ball, or petrosphere. Predominantly found in the North East of Scotland and dating back to over 4500 years ago, these balls are thought to have been status or ceremonial items.

The more 21st-century elements in the design include wildlife-friendly planting, the choice of new plant varieties with good drought, pest and disease resistance, and the use of recycled materials