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The 2022 Annual Tate Talk

‘The Walled Kitchen Garden Restoration and Garden Creation Project for Burghley House’. An illustrated talk by Joe Whitehead, Head Gardener, Burghley House.

Venue: Bawdeswell Village Hall, Reepham Road, NR20 4RU

Sat 5th Mar, 2022. 2pm

Joe Whitehead returned to Burghley House near Stamford as Head Gardener four years ago having previously worked there as an under gardener before going to Wisley. Joe has also worked at Salle and Raveningham Hall, so has strong Norfolk connections.

The Burghley estate was extensively remodelled by Capability Brown in the eighteenth century. Brown did away with the intricate Elizabeth garden, transformed the landscape and undertook extensive building work, including stables, an Orangery and a Gothic garden summerhouse. However, when Joe arrived at Burghley he faced a similar restoration challenge to that he had found at Salle, as for many years the gardens had been eclipsed by the splendour of the house, a situation Joe and his team are actively changing.

Amongst the restoration work that has been undertaken is the reclamation of a 20 acre site that has now become a sculpture garden, the rediscovery of spaces that had been lost to laurel and the creation of a North American garden. There are also plans to recreate the Elizabethan parterre, the remains of which were uncovered by drone footage taken during the drought of 2018. Sustainability and wildlife habitat are major considerations of the project and Joe’s aim is to garden organically wherever possible.

The restoration of the walled kitchen garden has been a major part of these works. The walled garden is one of the largest in the UK but It had fallen into disrepair in the 1960s. In 2013 the estate received grant help and has been able to repair the walls, clear scrub and erect a willow walk, fruit tunnels and lay down a network of walkways. There is a plan for a 6 1⁄2 acre garden within the walls with an education room and café set to open in 2024.

Everyone greatly enjoyed an informative and entertaining talk which certainly whetted the appetite for the NGT’s coach trip to Burghley on June 9th when Joe will give a guided tour of the gardens.

Next Event

Visit to Shropham Vicarage

Thursday 14th July

Venue: Shropham Vicarage, Church Road, Shropham NR17 1EJ.

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