Keith Laing and Anne Crawford didn’t start out with the idea of a cafe – Keith just wanted a walled garden and had done since working in a garden nursery years ago. Living in a mobile home during building work five years ago, Keith fulfilled his ambition by shipping in 1,200 square metres of yellow sandstone, 680 square metres of block and 60 tonnes of builders sand to build the wall. There’s still no country house to go with the garden – just a huge metal farm shed – but this unusual place has been put together with passion.
Now there is a large, welcoming and cheery cafe with red and white checked table cloths and log burning stoves. Virtually all the food, including soup, scones and mince pies, is home made, with the walled garden supplying many of the ingredients. A small shop next door sells fruit and vegetables supplemented by outside suppliers – the shortbread and oatcakes are both handmade in Fife.
‘Starting small and seeing how it goes’ is Keith’s philosophy although the walled garden project begs to differ. It’s true that there is no big marketing or branding plan, no trendy Petersham Nursery-style designer looks. Although Anne Crawford probably gives as much attention to the no-nonsense food and the attentive service as Skye Gyngall.
In December Keith and Anne held a couple of Christmas shopping events in the garden which was decorated with old-fashioned braziers, lanterns and there were chestnuts roasting. During they summer they hope to hold a fete complete with a band playing on the band stand.
Another life long ambition held by Keith is to grow peach trees. He is planning to build a glass house so that the peach trees can grow up the wall and the cafe will move into the glass house. He has fond memories from when he worked in a garden nursery of fitting protective paper masks below to catch the peaches so they wouldn’t hit the ground and bruise.
So check out The Walled Garden from the couple who have big ideas in a low key sort of way.
The Walled Garden is signposted off the A985 near Kincardine, Fife. The address is The Walled Garden, Righead Farm by Culross FK10 4AT and opening hours are 10am – 4pm Wednesday to Sunday.
Check their Facebook Page for opening hours or call on 07951 530571.