A talk given by Mary Ann Prior on Constance Villiers Stuart 1876 - 1966
The Visit to Holkham Walled Garden took place on July 5th 2023
Three groups of 15 members were lucky enough to be taken around the restored wall garden by head gardener Mark and his assistant Simon at Holkham Estate near Wells next the Sea.
We were first led into the glasshouse opposite the walled garden which was designed by Samual Wyatt in 1780. Samual Wyatt was also responsible for the design of the walled garden. The glasshouse was used in the distant past for entertaining guests to tea. Now it shelters citrus trees in the winter and has a wonderful vine, and exotic flowering plants. It still has its original glass.
The front part of the walled garden is divided into four walled one acre gardens. The first one had a prairie style planting, the second one a formal garden divided into spring, summer and autumn with yew hedging edging the separate areas. Then the vineyard which used to house apple and pear trees and grass. The vines are Polaris and regent which produce white and rose wines. The grapes are processed by a local wine company. Lastly the exotic garden with a massive mulberry tree, bananas and pomegranates.
We then visited the new maze behind the exotic garden, this should be open next year. Then on to the vegetable garden to meet Kirsty who runs it. She is very keen on experimenting with different vegetables. These are used by the family and the Victoria Hotel. It was partially covered with netting to deter pests. Beyond the vegetables the cutting garden and greenhouses which have been restored recently, I saw cucumbers, vines, figs, peaches and gourds. The sunken heated pits which dated from 1783 and heated walls were interesting, where they used to grow melons and pineapples. The restoration is nearly complete apart from one greenhouse. The garden has eight gardeners who also manage the gardens and grass cutting on the rest of the estate. They are helped by 70 volunteers who come on a rota system.
The staff we met at Holkham were all absolutely charming and helpful. We could not have had a more delightful morning. Some of us enjoyed coffee and refreshments afterwards from the facility near the entrance.
Tate Talk 2024
Saturday 2nd March, 2024 2pm
‘Gertrude Jekyll‘ An illustrated talk by Caroline Holmes
Venue: Bawdeswell Village Hall, NR20 4RU