Summer in the garden at Scotney Castle

Scotney Castle’s garden is like a landscape painting with drama and romance. With a stunning vista of the old castle glimpsed through a swathe of rhododendrons and azaleas, to the walled garden bursting with produce and the natural habitats of the wider estate, summer is a wonderful season full of colour to enjoy all it offers.

The long lazy days of summer are a perfect time to while away a few hours in the garden at Scotney Castle. Colour is around every corner, from the scrambling roses around the Old Castle to the borders bursting with colour around the garden. 

The borders are full of colour down at the Old Castle in the summer
Scotney Castle summer flower border
The borders are full of colour down at the Old Castle in the summer

A landscape with drama and romance

From the early 18th century, British landscape gardeners had been creating gardens inspired by pictures, but by 1800 a backlash had set in. Critics considered the grassy vistas designed by Capability Brown too smooth and tidy. Scotney's picturesque garden is a last fling in this backlash style of gardening.

A fairytale feel

The garden has naturalistic planting which is seemingly untouched by human hand and its cloud-like planting of rhododendrons and azaleas creates a fairytale feel, with the ruins of the Old Castle at its centre. Wisteria and old English roses adorn its sandstone walls, whilst the surrounding herbaceous beds are always throwing out new colours throughout the seasons.

Fragrant lavender in the garden
Scotney castle summer garden lavender in the garden
Fragrant lavender in the garden

Seasonal highlights around the garden

Summer is the perfect season to pack a picnic and take a stroll around the garden. Whether you're looking to stick to the paths and not venture too far, or explore more off the beaten track, we have 770 acres to explore.

The Main Garden

The iconic Scotney Castle view from the terrace down to the Old Castle is enhanced by flowering kalmias and perhaps a rhododendron still in flower early in the summer. Around the House Terrace, the pots are full of summer bedding and the grass on the terraces is uncut to encourage the wild orchids to flower.

The trees take centre stage along the network of paths around the garden, with the acers red leaves and the tulip tree with its buttery-yellow tulip-shaped flowers. Stroll along to Spring Walk and around the Boat House to see the wild flower meadows too.

The tulip tree is now flowering
The tulip tree is now flowering
The tulip tree is now flowering

The Old Castle

With scrambling roses and an impressive white wisteria, the Old Castle is the perfect backdrop for summer blooms. Around the edge of the moat the water-loving plants and the  waterlilies provide a perfect border for the relections off the water. With pots of seasonal bedding to the recently renovated herbaceous border, take a stroll around the ruins to see what's in flower. Passing by the herb circle with the Venetian well-head in the centre, don't forget the Inner Courtyard too.  

White wisteria growing over the walls of the Old Castle
Scotney Castle summer garden white wisteria on old castle
White wisteria growing over the walls of the Old Castle

The herbaceous border at the Old Castle has undergone some renovation over the past few months and it is now a beautiful place to sit on a sunny day and take in the view. There is still  work taking place here but look out for the colourful dahlias, echinacea, achillea, asters and salvias. Roses and peonies add to the picturesque look and lilies add their splash of contrasting colour early in the summer.

See the border full of colour at the Old Castle
Scotney Castle Old Castle new border
See the border full of colour at the Old Castle

Inside the Walled Garden

The Walled Garden is full to the brim of produce this season, with plenty of tasks to keep the gardeners occupied in the summer months. Measuring exactly one acre in size, there are fruit trees, soft fruit bushes, vegetables, flowers and herbs, all in neatly tended beds or growing up against the walls.

Sit amongst the produce in the walled garden for your perfect picnic
The walled garden at Scotney Castle
Sit amongst the produce in the walled garden for your perfect picnic

Flowers are cut for display in the house from the early spring bulbs, to tulips, sweet peas, peonies, dahlias and roses. Successional planting helps to manage the crops to ensure a fairly reliable display all through the summer months.

Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle
Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle
Flower beds in the Walled Garden at Scotney Castle

The main task during the summer is to harvest our produce to use in the tearoom and offered for sale to visitors. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of the garden and estate.Watering is a consuming job at this time of year too, especially for the salad crops, as well as pruning our various fruit trees and keeping the grass looking neat.

The Wider Estate

Summer is the perfect season to venture further afield into the wider estate of Scotney Castle.  Our ancient parkland and Wealden woodlands are criss-crossed by way marked routes and fantastic views, perfect if you want to lose the crowds and enjoy the wide open spaces . Apart from the grazing Sussex cattle and sheep, there's plenty of wild life to spot, from butterflies to birds and deer to dragonflies.

If you'd like to join a guided walk, estate guide lead these throughout the summer to different parts of the estate. Take a look at our 'what's on' page to see what's happening soon.