from the late 18th Century This has been said to be an outstanding Heritage Garden as you see plants, flowers fruit and vegetables that would have been growing there in the early days of the buildings.
Designed as a kitchen garden in the late 18th century and lovingly restored in the 1980s it’s now maintained by the centre’s own gardeners, ably supported by volunteers some of them from the Friends (but they always need more!). Designed and planted with traditional varieties it’s a wonderful opportunity to work in such historic surroundings so come along and join in the fun.
When you visit, don’t forget to look at the exhibits in the Outdoor Museum at the bottom of the garden and wander along the delightful woodland walk to see the traditional Northern Cruck barn mentioned earlier.
Originally this would have been a kitchen garden with herbs, fruit trees, vegetables and maybe even a few scented flowers to help mask the unpleasant smells in a less sanitary world than we now live in. At about this time the house was extended and updated meaning that even in cold weather the garden could be enjoyed through the new sash windows.
The garden walls are critical to its success acting as wind breaks and storage heaters to protect the tender fruit trees as well as keeping unwelcome visitors (both human and animal) from entering.
The current garden is newly created in an eighteenth century style combining ‘the useful with the sweet – the profitable with the pleasant…’, unlike the often utilitarian kitchen gardens of today.
Salads were extremely popular at this time but also consider that the mistress of the house acted as doctor, nurse, chemist and perfumier in the days before patent medicines and mass produced products! She made mouthwashes, medicines, disinfectants, perfumes and cosmetics as well as presiding over the kitchen. In the still room she prepared the ingredients taken from roots, skins, leaves and flowers before drying and distilling them.
It all sounds so different from our homogenised world of supermarkets, plastic packaging and ready meals but all the more interesting for exactly that reason. You’re welcome to have a look but why not roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself for an hour or two in some healthy exercise in a beautiful setting? The staff of the Heritage Centre would love to see you. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01282 677150.