Portmore Gardens and its surrounding woodlands were created by Colin Mackenzie in 19th Century who built the existing Mansion House designed by David Bryce.
By 1985 the house and grounds were in a state of total neglect. The formal Victorian garden had virtually disappeared, the walled garden was an abandoned tree nursery and the greenhouses collapsed to a point considered beyond repair.
Restoration began in 1987 on traditional lines in the walled garden and more contemporary features have since been added. A double central herbaceous border and ‘various rooms’ have been designed using plants to withstand the tricky Peebleshire weather some of which are repeated throughout to unify both inside and outside of the Walled Garden. Colour combinations are specially selected to create stunning harmonies with the emphasis on shape for winter interest.
The Victorian greenhouses are filled with fruit trees, tender plants, geraniums, pelargoniums and fuschias which supply the house with plants throughout the year. The Italianate grotto has ferns and lillies. Behind this is a vegetable and fruit garden, cold frames and a propogating house.
To the east of the Walled Garden is the Water Garden with its little stream bubbling down to a pond and meandering paths through specimen trees, shrubs, meconopsis and much more.
A woodland walk leads along past azaleas, rhododendrons, roses and spring bulbs to a wonderful view of farmlands and the Peebleshire hills. From there the path descends down to the Mansion House where a parterre has been made with a canal and fountain set in the grass terraces all surrounded by yew hedges.