Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Edzell Castle Garden

Sir David Lindsay, Lord Lindsay built his garden adjoining his father's castle in 1604. There are two entrances, one directly from the courtyard of the castle and another in the east wall. This door has identical heraldic panels on either side of the door, which bears the arms and initials of Sir David and his second wife Isobel Forbes, with the family motto 'DUM SPIRO SPERO' - 'While I live I hope, and the date, 1604.

The outside of the east wall is decorated with shamrocks, thistles, roses and the fleur de lys, for Ireland, Scotland, England and France, the countries ruled by, or claimed by King James VI after the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

Inside is an enchanted garden, early seventeenth century style. The east wall is divided into sixteen compartments by pilasters, of which only the capitals and bases remain.  The wall is finished at the top with molded capital stones set between domed niches that probably once held busts, or urns, but are now empty.

The compartments are divided between two alternating patterns. In one the central space depicts the Lindsay arms, the fess chequy, composed of three rows of stone recesses like the squares of a chequer board. The red sandstone is the red of the coat-of-arms, the solid squares were painted blue (azure) and the flowers in the recess were white (argent), and in reverse. Above are carved the seven-rayed stars the Lindsay's inherited from the earlier owner's of Edzell, the Stirling's of Glenesk. At the centre of each star is a hole, for birds to nest in. How thoughtful is that?

In the alternating panels is a scheme composed on a square for holding plants beneath a carved sculpture in relief.

 On the east wall the sculptures depict the Planetary Deities: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. The Planetary Deities as they were imagined in the early sixteenth century and beneath each figure is the associated astronomical sign.







(The relief sculptures in the east wall are replicas, the originals are displayed in the banqueting house. All the other panels in the garden are the originals.)