When you arrive at The Backhouse Rossie Estate, you will find a large graveled car-park (free parking) with picnic area to the north side of the car park and the garden entrance to the south side.
Scree and Rock Garden
The Backhouses were renowned for their Scree and Rock Gardens. Following extensive research a photograph was discovered of the Scree & Rock Garden at Elmet Hall, Roundhay, Leeds. The photograph was made for Mr JH Kitson Esq, (John Hawthorn Kitson 1843 – 1899 who was a Locomotive Engine Maker, and whose father was the Mayor of Leeds) by J. Backhouse & Son. This photograph provided the inspiration for the heritage recreation project you will see to the north end of the peat beds and adjacent to the Backhouse Cafe in the garden grounds.
Wild Garlic Walk
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) grows in Rossie Estate woodland, in, near or among bluebells and is identifiable by its garlic-like smell and long lush leaves. These are are similar in appearance but much larger than those of Lily of the Valley. It bursts into bloom with white flowers normally in late May.
Foraging for wild garlic in woodland is fairly straight forward – the plants can be found in semi-shaded, moist conditions. If you’re unsure of what you’ve found is the real thing then its smell is the ultimate clarification. Although found commonly around woodland and river banks, wild garlic is easy to cultivate in most soils.
Historic Walled Garden
The Walled Garden occupies a 1.25 acre site complete with original, now restored working glasshouses. You’ll also find other interesting artifacts and areas like:
- restored working cold frames with lights
- creation of hard surface cobble lined pathways around the perimeter
- restored wrought iron gate
- reclaimed stone slabs and cobbles
- a characterful original potting shed
- repaired stone walls and coping stones
- new support wires for fruit trees and climbing roses
The Walled garden entrance with its marriage stone lintel and Latin inscription on reverse can be seen above the, now aged and silvered replacement, oak door.
“Walled gardens became increasingly popular in the 19th century, and would have supplied the household with fruit, vegetables and flowers. The walls created a good micro-climate for growing fruit and vegetables. Many walled gardens also boasted glasshouses against south facing walls, which were ideal for growing soft fruits and vines”.
Our Walled Garden is divided into a classical four quarter design, divided by long, yew backed herbaceous boarders planted north to south with colorful plantings, grasses and rarities, running east to west is the longest interrupted rose archway in Scotland with roses scrambling over arches above the DNA pathway (double helix design) to a centromere sculpture where the border and pathways intersect.
- N.E quarter – A medieval style grass labyrinth, surrounded by allium plantings (May/June flowering).
- S.E. quarter – A Formal Pond with biodynamic flow form, rill and old pump water feature.
- N.W. quarter – Potager with herbs, vegetables, cut flower borders and Backhouse plants.
- S. W quarter – A replanted orchard with many historic apple varieties growing against the walls.
Around the walls there are mature fruit trees including:-
- Apples: – Laxton’s Superb, Bramleys’ Seedling, Charles Ross, Warner’s King, Edward V11, Lane’s Prince Albert, Laton’s Fortune, Norfolk Royal, Robston Pippin, Pott’s Seedling, James Grieve, Elstare.
- Pears:- Conference, Beurre Hardy, Williams Bon Chretiain, Pitmaston Duchess, Noveau Poiteau.
Extensive work has also been done to all the paths, external walls and potting sheds.
Outside the Walled Garden
- North Face: Fern & Hosta Boarder
- South Face: Greengages against the south facing wall with mint garden.
- East Face: Woodland walk including Cardiocrinum Giganticum
- West Face: Monastery walk with shrubbery and late flowering Nerines
Don’t forget to visit the cafe!