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Monday, June 24, 2013

Walled Gardens...........

The old time gardeners were a breed unto themselves, they knew science and climate control. Oh they may not have been "educated" as we think of it now, but they knew.....they knew their art learned and passed down. There were many very famous landscapers and gardeners through the years who could plant a garden and know what it would look like hundreds of years after their death and they planned for that. They knew where to plant the trees to the best advantage and knowing what they would be like when full grown, they knew they would never see the end results of their art.
One such oddity is the walled garden. The protective high brick walls create a sheltered micro-climate. In this environment they could grow things that would not normally grow in England.

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Some walls had small doors in them, or even fire places whereby the gardener could control the temperatures by using a stove inside the hollow wall and letting heat escape into the garden. Very ingenius and allowing peaches, nectarines and grapes to be grown as espaliers against south-facing walls.
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Espaliers were a way of coaxing a tree to grow against its own shape and nature. They trained it up against the wall very carefully and so when grown it would look like it was meant to be that way. The heat and sun could reach every aspect this way.
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Walls also kept out the animals. In a lot of the big estates that had these types of gardens, they used sheep or deer to keep the lawns immaculate. The walls kept them from eating the produce or trampling the flowers. Did you ever wonder how they kept the grass cut before the lawn mower? I am guessing here but seems logical to me. Back in the days when the great homes of England had a huge staff, the food was usually home grown. So a walled garden was for fruit and vegetables. Now they are mostly flower gardens, but some still grow their own food. We visited the gardens at Chartwell and there is a walled garden there. Winston Churchill was a hands on man when it came to his garden. Deer do not do the damage to lawns that a horse or cow would. Sheep have to be moved around because they crop close.

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My Dad taught me a lot about gardens, didn't really teach me but answered my questions. Although our humble council house had a big garden it was only enclosed by fences and hedges. He did try his hand at manipulating our apple tree though and it grew flat like an espalier would. The best apples ever. I don't think they ever got ripe. They were gone as soon as edible. He taught me about grafting and so many things I would never need to know. He enjoyed it. He did gardens for others who had the money to put into them and he took great pride in doing so. That was his weekend relaxation that earned him a little for his pint down at the pub of an evening.

Nowadays the walled gardens in many stately homes make wonderful flower gardens. We were at Hever last year and they make wonderful environments for growing Roses
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If I had the time and money I would love to make a hobby of visiting all the stately homes in England and the British Isles. Scotland has some lovely ancient walled gardens.There were many abbey's and monasteries that made use of the idea too, even small cottage gardens may have walls around. Even a hedge or fence can have its effect by keeping the wind at bay. It takes something a bit more substantial to take care of frost though. Anyway, to me this is a fascinating subject but I better stop before eyes begin to glaze

7 comments:

Linda said...

I'm fascinated by walled gardens and usually visit our local one when I go to our local library which is in Georgian house surrounded by parkland. Our small garden is enclosed by a high hedge which gives shelter and then, of course, there's the enclosed garden in The Song of Songs in the Bible.

NanaDiana said...

Oh- Aren't those beautiful gardens and pieces? They might not have had book educations but those old gardeners knew their stuff, didn't they? Amazing subject- xo Diana

Merlesworld said...

Lovely garden and so private .
Merle......

Magic Love Crow said...

Excellent information! I love the walls and the trees growing on them! So cool! And, using deer to mow your lawn! Fantastic! Great post Janice ;o) Hugs ;o)

Cindy Adkins said...

Fascinating, Janice! I love the walled gardens, and especially the windows and doors. I didn't know about that! Hugs! Cindy

Rosemary and Thyme said...

Amazing estates and gardens. I am so glad you stopped by. It is wonderful to meet you and to be able to learn a little history on these wonderful gardens and their caretakers. I hope to be able to visit some of these magnificent estates someday. In the meantime, I will settle for your amazing photos and Downton Abbey. Please do come back for a visit.

Fondly,

Janet
rosemary-thyme.blogspot.com





JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Oh do go on - this is so interesting. I had no idea about the walls being warmed by the fireplaces. I'd love to visit anything in England, gardens, castles, Stonehenge.