I’m currently in the process of creating a new kitchen garden at Polesden Lacey, and decided to visit another National Trust garden at Attingham near Shrewsbury for a bit of advice and inspiration. The once impressive late 18th century walled garden until a few years ago had been left in a state of sad neglect. They’re currently being restored to their former glory by the garden team.
I met up with Kate Nicoll, the head gardener of the walled garden (and for those of you that know Flora from Polesden Lacey, it’s Flora’s Mum!!!) for a tour of the two acre plot that she and her team have lovingly been restoring over the last five years. Over 1.5 acres have now been returned to productivity and the site is heaving with abundant produce and stunning colour. The site is entirely organic and all the produce is sold in the shop or goes up to the tea rooms and restaurant.
There is also an orchard with over 150 apple trees, three greenhouses that have been restored and a bothy which would have been the centre of operations for the gardening team during the Georgian and Victorian period, and is currently the gardeners’ mess room.
These Tamworth pigs have been used to help dig over the soil and manure the plot.
I love these melon supports that a National trust volunteer has knitted, preventing the weight of the fruit snapping the vine. They were previously using old bras as supports.
Genius edging to this flower border….curly-leaved parsley.
Carving has already been carried out in the pumpkin patch before they’re harvested, for the visitors to enjoy en-situ.
And there is even a grade two listed honey house. Attingham are the only National trust property to employ a beekeeper. When I turned up Debs was giving a talk to a local school.
I love a slice of history. Here is Kate interviewing 92 year old Mary Gatecliff, a previous head gardener at Attingham during the wartime. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ88kqkQ4Bk
Here is Kate’s video telling the story of the walled garden over the last five years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9NIC8-rBpo
The National Trust of course have many other kitchen gardens all over the country, but the best ten ones can be found here….hopefully soon, Polesden Lacey will be added to the list. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356400533375/