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A Walled Georgian- Era Kitchen Garden (at Wimpole Estate)

Last Sunday, we headed out to another National Trust property not too far from us– the Wimpole Estate.  The weather was sunny and beautiful, and lots of people were out enjoying the change.  We saw a mansion, extensive grounds and parks, and a small farm. The very best part, however, was the very large, walled kitchen gardens of the estate.  According to the National Trust, “The organic four and a half acre walled kitchen garden at Wimpole was constructed in the 1790s for the third Earl of Hardwick, and no expense was spared – even the walls are heated to keep peaches warm during the spring frosts.”
There is something incredibly romantic to me about walled gardens…


Doesn’t this look like it’s straight out of The Secret Garden?

Inside these gates, there was so much to see.  Spring has come so late that things were still looking very bare– but still beautiful to me, especially since it all seemed so orderly.


I love the bean teepees and glass cloches.  And yes, that is a big, beautiful greenhouse in the background!

Filled with plant starts soaking up the warmth.

And I loved this collection of heat-hungry plants, all clustered together and growing strong.One of my favorite features of all of the walled gardens I’ve seen is the espaliered fruit trees.  They are beautiful to me, and so practical.  They are trained to the walls that correspond to each tree’s need for sun and heat, the neediest getting that prime spot against the south-facing wall.Espaliered trees are also used as fences or hedgerows around the plots.  How lovely.  I would love to be able to walk through this garden, picking fruit left and right.

Of course, there’s always room for flowers, edible or not.

And homes for hard-working bees.

Outside the walls of the garden are more ornamentals, herbs, and an orchard. Can you imagine how lovely this will be when the plants have filled it all in?

This orchard is so practical– all of the trees are so short that most fruits would be easy to pick without a ladder or chair.  I will be honest here:  it will be super hard for me to resist picking fruit from these trees when we visit later in the year.  How do people do it?I can’t wait to come back in another month or two, and see how and what is growing in here.Isn’t it all so lovely and romantic?  Sigh…  I look forward to showing you more of Wimpole Estate this week!

What is your favorite part of these gardens?  Also, please tell me you have read The Secret Garden recently– it is SO wonderful!  Amelia and I just finished reading it, and although I had read my copy to pieces as a kid, I had completely forgotten how wonderful and truth-filled that book is.

This post was shared at: Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Monday Mania, Family Table, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Fat Tuesday.

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12 Responses to A Walled Georgian- Era Kitchen Garden (at Wimpole Estate)

  1. Anonymous April 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    Hi Ariana, thank you for bringing us to this beautiful estate. Is it near where you live ? You must have had a wonderful time exploring it with your family. Looks sunny enough to be comfortable. I’ve read The Secret Garden and yes it sure is an enjoyable book.I’m glad Amelia enjoyed it too.Hope the sun continues to shine in your part of the world.
    Lina

  2. Naz(@CinnamonEats) April 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Wow it all looks so beautiful 🙂 I’d love to see how it looks as the weather starts getting warmer 🙂

  3. Phil Mizen April 19, 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Hi Ariana, ‘my’ Georgian walled kitchen garden is a little older than Wimpole, dating back to the early 1700’s, but it does not have as many original features, such as the glasshouses or heated walls. Nonetheless it is a very atmospheric garden, because history is everywhere that you look; you must come and visit in the summer when it looks a little more colourful than now. Sadly it is not as well maintained as Wimpole either, because in my 2 acres there is only me, and some volunteer help – feel free to join the team if you would like to spend more time in a real secret garden. Phil

  4. Susan Gaines April 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    The sun, the fresh air with just a hint of chill, the charm. Sigh! I’ve always loved & admired the beauty and practicality of espaliered trees.

  5. Ariana Mullins April 23, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Weird– I replied to each of these comments, and somehow lost them! To all you thoughtful commenters, I hope you got the chance to read my replies!

  6. This Woman Writes April 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    I love those brick walls – and they, indeed, make the Secret Garden look. I like that book, although C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles still tops my list as a favorite I re-read throughout my life – and there’s a garden there as well, in the Magician’s Nephew, that I always had an idea would have a brick wall. It sounds like it was a lovely day, touring, and your photos are beautiful.

    • Ariana Mullins May 14, 2013 at 8:23 am #

      I am really looking forward to re-reading all of the Chronicles of Narnia with my daughter this year, in the same context, more or less, that they were written in! Reading the Secret Garden while living over here definitely brought certain dimensions more to life. So glad you enjoyed the tour!

  7. james d burns August 15, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    love your pictures and descriptions

  8. jerri February 26, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

    I loved the tree clinging to the wall. It is full of it’s own beauty.

  9. This is like a dream garden! I LOVE it!
    (I followed you over from Pantry Paratus’s post!)
    ~ Christine

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