Historical Accounts of Cally Gardens

Initials carved by former gardeners into the walls at Cally.
Initials carved by former gardeners into the walls at Cally.

The following extract from Robert Heron’s ‘Observations made in a Journey through the Western Counties of Scotland’, gives us a picture of the gardens in 1793, about twenty years after it was built:

“They are enclosed within high walls. The extent is considerable. No expense has been spared to accommodate them to the stately elegance of the house, and to the dignity and fortune of the proprietor. They contain greenhouses and hothouses, with all that variety of foreign herbs and fruits, which, in our climate, it is necessary to cherish; an abundance of all the riches of the orchard, all the beauties of the parterre and all the useful plenty of the kitchen garden.”

A letter dated 30th May 1848, from William Pearson the Head Gardener, provides more detailed information about the garden at that time:

“Measurements of the gardens at Cally ­ Kitchen garden 3 acres; garden walls all brick from 12 to 16 feet high and nearly all covered with fruit trees neatly trained; Vinery in two divisions 100 feet long and 20 feet broad; 3 Peach-houses 150 feet long; Orange and Camellia house 35 feet long; Pineapple pits 100 feet long; 3 acres of orchard ground; a large assortment of Greenhouse and stove plants. The average strength to keep the Gardens in excellent order was 6 journeymen Gardeners and 6 active Labourers earning about 10/- (50p) a week with 1 Boy on 3/- (15p) a week. When added to the expense for Seeds, Coals, Tools, repair of glass, garden horse keep, nails and shreds and other incidental expenses this amounts to £309 per annum.”