It’s Govan to Glamis for head gardener

20150305- Glamis Castle. 'Jamie McCarthy pictured in the Italian Garden. ''Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES''No use without payment
20150305- Glamis Castle. 'Jamie McCarthy pictured in the Italian Garden. ''Andy Thompson Photography / ATIMAGES''No use without payment

The spectacular gardens at Glamis Castle are undergoing a major transformation to ensure the visitor experience moves with the times.

Under the expert guidance of head gardener Jamie McCarthy, and under the watchful eye of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, a number of projects are currently on-going in time for the start of the tourist season which begins on Good Friday (April 3).

Jamie took up the role in September and since then has built a wildlife pond, is creating two new gardens in the magnificent walled garden on the estate, and is busy working on the stunning Italian garden which was laid out by Countess Cecilia, the late Queen Mother’s mother.

The tranquil surroundings of Glamis are a far cry from the streets of Govan where he was brought up, as well as those of Germany and Northern Ireland where he served with the 1st Battalion The Scots Guards.

Jamie’s passion for gardening was nurtured by his late father on his allotment in Govan and it has taken him into the homes of thousands of television viewers with his appearances on the popular BBC series, ‘The Beechgrove Garden’, then on to Inveraray Castle in Argyll and finally Glamis.

He said: “I started gardening when I was 12 years old planting carrots and potatoes on my dad’s allotment. Gardening is in my blood. When I was leaving the Army I knew I wanted to go back to gardening.

“I was head gardener at Inveraray Castle for five years. When I inherited it it was tired, so we took out the old and planted the new.

“When I first started there were about 60,000 visitors a year and when I left five years later that had risen to 85,000, although it wasn’t all down to the gardens.”

Jamie (44) has worked as a forester, trained as a greenkeeper and worked as a gardener at the Marie Curie Hospital in Springburn, Glasgow and on private estates, but he is in his element with his latest challenge at Glamis.

Working closely with the Earl of Strathmore, he is busy creating two new gardens within the walled garden - a Chinese garden which takes its inspiration from a Monet painting, and a wildlife garden.

He works closely with the Earl whose passion for gardening is bearing fruit in the walled garden.

Jamie continued: “We are working to produce four separate gardens within a garden. We started with a blank canvas and have plans for next year which may include a maze. I have a team of three, four in the summer. We are working every weekend and the Earl is there working with us in all weathers.”

Jamie is delighted with the progress being made and the transformation in the walled garden, and with plans for impressive herbaceous borders he is beginning to make his mark at Glamis. Find out more about the preparations for the new season at Glamis Castle in next week’s ‘Dispatch and Herald’.