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Pitmuies Gardens and Hospitalfield Gardens and Fernery

May 19 : 10:00 am4:00 pm

The doo-cot dated 1643, Pitmuies Image by Ruth Clark, Hosptitalfield walled Gardens
(L) The doo-cot dated 1643, Pitmuies (photo: Colin Carmichael), (R) Hosptitalfield walled Gardens (photo: Ruth Clark)

Book Online or send payment by cheque made payable to ‘The Professional Gardeners’ Guild’ to Colin Carmichael, Selma, Old Crieff Road, Aberfeldy, Perthshire PH15 2DH.

PGG visit to Pitmuies Gardens

A Pictish stone cross slab bears witness to an earlier period of habitation and the name Muies, is reputed to be that of a Viking raider who was killed here. Two renowned semi-formal walled gardens adjoin an 18th-century house and steading, sheltering long borders of herbaceous perennials, superb old-fashioned delphiniums and roses, together with pavings rich with violas and dianthus.

An extensive and diverse collection of plants, interesting kitchen garden, spacious lawns, and river, loch side and woodland walks beneath fine trees. The greenhouse is remarkable for its rampant pink passion flower, while the main path leads on past “cottage garden” borders to the white iron gates and the larger flower garden which lies ahead. 

An archway of clipped silver pear ( Pyrus salicifia ‘Pendula’) frames the central walk of herbaceous borders and a sundial, all flanked by a dark red hedge of cherry plum (Prunus cerosifera ‘Pissardii’). There is a picturesque turreted doo’cot dated 1643 and a ‘Gothick’ wash house. A myriad spring bulbs include carpets of crocus following massed snowdrops and daffodils.

Hospitlafield Gardens and Fernery, Arbroath

The distinctive double Walled Garden creates a microclimate, the mild coastal weather combined with the warming walls makes visitors feel as though they have walked into a faraway place. It is rare to have a walled garden where the grand house is the 4th wall of the garden. This is because the 19th century house is laid out on the old medieval plan of the hospital where, we assume, the monks wished to be as close as they could be to their productive and medicinal gardens.

The volunteer Garden Club and the Trust appointed the horticulturalist Nigel Dunnett to design a new layout for the garden telling 800 years of garden history. In 2021 we opened the newly designed and planted garden, with the café and fernery, to the public. It is wonderful to see Dunnett’s style of planting reveal itself throughout the year. Committed to ‘naturalistic planting’, Dunnett is a gentle yet focussed activist in the way that he designs for sustainability.

The glazed Fernery at Hospitalfield was designed in 1872 by Patrick Allan-Fraser as a grotto-like building intended to house a collection of New Zealand tree ferns that were gifted to him. The building fell into ruinous disrepair during the mid-20th-century, and has now been sensitively restored by architects Caruso St John with conservation advice from Simpson & Brown. We thank the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh for gifting Hospitalfield the collection of ferns, many are very likely to have been part of the original collection.

Don’t forget appropriate footwear in case the ground is wet.


10.00-10.30am. Meet in the car park at Pitmuies; tea and coffee on arrival in the drawing room.
1.00-1.50 pm. Lunch, bring your own picnic to enjoy in the garden or purchase your own in the Hospitalfield cafe.
2.00 – 4.00pm Hospitalfield, Arbroath. Guided tour of the gardens and fernery.

Address and directions

Pitmuies, Guthrie, by Forfar DD8 2SN. From Forfar take A932 east for seven miles and gardens are signposted on the right. From Brechin take A933 south to Friockheim and turn right onto A932; then gardens are signposted on the left after 1.5 miles.

Hospitalfield Gardens Postcode for SatNav is DD11 2NH.


£12 per person.


Book Online or send payment by cheque made payable to ‘The Professional Gardeners’ Guild’ to Colin Carmichael, Selma, Old Crieff Road, Aberfeldy, Perthshire PH15 2DH.


May 19
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
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Colin Carmichael


Pitmuies Gardens
By Forfar, Angus DD8 2SN United Kingdom
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