It’s easy to fall in love with the gardens at Elsick House. Bright blooming flowers and meticulously maintained lawns have provided the most stunning backdrop for outdoor weddings and celebrations throughout many years. But explore a little deeper and you’ll be rewarded with some imaginative surprises. Nestled among the plants are delicate wire fairies, butterflies and most recently added, a stunning sculpture of a bridal gown – a nod to the brides who should have been married here in 2020.
So, who is behind these artworks and the amazing gardens? Meet our creative gardener, Mandy.
Mandy and her partner Alec have lived on the Elsick Estate for 6 years. They take care of the gardens and grounds at Elsick House, as well as carrying out ground maintenance and helping with events such as the Farmers’ Market at nearby town, Chapelton.
Mandy: “I first started by helping Alec in the gardens. I never once imagined I would actually enjoy it but then I realised gardening can be creative, like living art. In my spare time I like to draw, paint and sculpt so I feel very lucky that I can combine my artistic side with my job. A typical day at work for me involves weeding, grass cutting, raking leaves, pruning, planting, deadheading and feeding the plants. I’ve recently been redesigning an area of the gardens which I’ve really enjoyed.
Working in the gardens at Elsick House is so serene. I like all the seasons. Spring sees everything come alive again; Summer is amazing with the sun, nicer weather and the garden in bloom; Autumn brings the colour changes and in Winter, the gardens are chilly but very peaceful.
I think my art is inspired by the views around me. Sometimes I stop and stare at the Monkey Puzzle trees. They are so different and make me think, wow look at that!
Weddings and events have been postponed this summer because of the coronavirus outbreak so it’s disappointing that so many people won’t get to see the gardens in bloom this year. We always do our best to make them look perfect for every wedding, it is an amazing feeling knowing they are the backdrop of someone’s special day. Our current plans are to keep the gardens looking as pristine as we can for all future events but I also felt I wanted to honour this year’s weddings that couldn’t take place because of the virus.
The bridal gown is made from wire and pearl beads and has jasmine and Japanese honeysuckle plants growing around it. I’ve made fairies on carved wooden toadstools and wire butterflies for the garden in the past but I feel this piece has a deeper meaning so I hope the couples will enjoy it when they come for their weddings here.
On a positive note, Alec and I have spent more time in our own garden this year and have revamped an area. I love working outdoors with the sun, wind and even the rain on my face. Gardening keeps me fit and healthy; it boosts the immune system too. We’ve been going for long walks with our dogs as living on the Elsick estate there’s so much countryside to explore. It will be great to see holiday makers coming back to the house once we reopen in July. It really is such a beautiful location and I can’t wait to see families back enjoying the gardens again.”