Gardens and Fernery
Book your ticket 24 hours in advance using the calendar feature below or come along on the day and see if there are still places available
The grounds at Hospitalfield are lovely to walk around all year round and this access is free from dawn to dusk. The walled garden is open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm and from April to October, we ask visitors to pay a modest ticket price for entry into the lower walled garden. All income goes towards maintenance of the gardens and grounds. The Angus ticket is £6 and is a one-off seasonal ticket for those who live locally to visit often to see the seasonal changes in the garden.
To learn more about our Horticulture programme, click here
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 focused 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.
We are currently developing the Hospitalfield Physic Garden which will be completed this June. We are working with herbalist Terrill Dobson and community gardener Carley Wootton to add medicinal herbs to the sixteen hedged beds of Dunnett’s original planting design. This project explores Hospitalfield’s monastic history as a site used by monks to cultivate medicinal herbs to treat and care for the sick. Planting for this project is already underway and an informative garden guide is in the works.
The monthly garden tours led by our enthusiastic Garden Club volunteers offer visitors an opportunity to delve deeper into the story of Hospitalfield’s garden and learn about the recent projects and upcoming activities hosted within its walls.
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