Fife Arms Hotel, Braemar

The Banks and Braes

High Victoriana and Folklore Intertwine


The 'banks and braes' that gave Braemar its name inspired us to create the garden at the Fife Arms Hotel.

Fashioned from threads of Scottish geology, history and folklore the intimate space is occupied by landforms inspired by the glacial drumlins that flow through the Cairngorms. These braes weave diverse paths through the garden inviting us into mysterious mossy glens.

The Fife Arms Hotel is a gloriously 'High Victorian' Scottish Baronial establishment. The planting has threaded reference to this era through it. Finds from the plant hunters are well in evidence. Rhododendron luteum, the sweetly scented honeysuckle azalea, Primula sikkimensis a fragrant Himalayan cowslip that stands 90cm tall and Polystichum setiferum Acutilobum - a finely fretted evergreen fern, mix effortlessly in with the folkloric native trees.

Downy Birch (Betula pubescens) and Rowan (Sorbus acuparia) that the Scors revere as a charm with the greatest personal protection being found in its brilliant red berries. A single Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, has been planted - its pine cones, a reliable ancient fertility symbol and a certain source of vigour for the elderly, sits in a tranquil meadow. With the Clunie Water rushing headlong through the gorge beside it this wild and dreamy garden summons up many layers of Scottish life and lore.

Image credits: Jinny Blom Ltd, Sim Canetty-Clarke, Britt Willoughby-Dyer