The sunken garden to the east of the house – known in Scott’s day as the East Court – is the second of the three interlinking outdoor ‘rooms’ at Abbotsford.

The garden still retains many elements that Scott introduced, but it is also the garden that has witnessed most alterations to his original plans.

Although simple in form today, Scott flattened it, sunk it, and built higher walls to create a scent filled flower garden which was quartered by paths. The flower garden was accessed by a staircase from the South Court which led directly to the kitchen garden steps: it is still visible in the grass now. Old roses inhabit the space where the Vinery (or was it his peachery or was it his pineapple house? we don’t know!) stood in the corner, but it is still possible to peek into the tower to find where the seeds were hung to dry from the roof and where fruit would have been stored on shelves. The imposing East façade of Abbotsford is more castle than house, but the pretty gothic stair nearby leads out to a dramatic view of the surrounding landscape and was probably the only way out of the gardens to the river originally. Look out for the peonies in June!