A SPECIAL PLACE TO VISIT.....
Yesterday late afternoon, I met a girlfriend for 'tea and a catch up' at one of my favourite
discoveries this year.
Down a quiet country back lane, outside the village of Hawkhurst in Kent, a very 'special place' can be found......'The Walled Nursery'.
'The Walled Nursery' is set within a Victorian walled garden, and has a stunning collection of 13 Victorian glasshouses, including a Melon House, Vinery, Fernery and Peach House. This collection of glasshouses is said to be amongst the largest collection of intact glasshouses in the country.
Situated in what was once known as the 'Tongswood Estate', whose earliest records date back to as early as 1273. Having passed through many families over the centuries,
in 1904 a Mr. Charles Gunther, who had made his fortune as Chairman of the parent company of OXO, bought the Tongswood Estate. Set within 1200 acres, which comprised a large country house (now St. Ronan's School) and numerous outlying farms.
The two acre walled kitchen garden was in those times, manned by nine full time gardeners, who tended to the thirteen Victorian glasshouses, and grew an abundance of flowers, fruit and vegetables for the main house, the family's London home and even a surplace of produce for the nearby Cottage hospital.
The walled garden saw two world wars and continued to be used after the second world war, leased out to a succession of market gardeners. Bought by Peter and Karen Horn in 1995, who had been leasing it as a plant nursery for a number of years, the name was changed from Tongswood Gardens to 'The Walled Nursery'. The couple set about meticulously restoring this wonderful collection of glasshouses, and then in 2010 sold the site to Monty and Emma Davies who are carrying on the never ending task of maintaining and caring for these beautiful structures, working closely with English Heritage and specialist Architects.
Monty and Emma are passionate plants people, and produce their own range of beautiful herbaceous perennials and shrubs, as well as supplying a fantastic array of bedding plants in the spring and summer.
The original 'Melon House'.....
One of the few remaining 'Peach Houses'
in the country.....
Wonderful array of plants for sale.....
Beautifully restored vintage tools for sale.....something we like to collect, and use, at home here in the garden.....
Old terracotta pots and seed trays, along with a wonderful selection of heritage seeds to buy....and this gorgeous Scandinavian wash tub, which I have my eye on.....perfect to plant up with spring bulbs?
The delightful low key 'café' where we could help ourselves to tea, coffee and home made cake....
Whether in the height of spring and summer or on a beautiful early autumn afternoon like yesterday.....this garden gem is a magical and charming place to visit.
With various inspiring talks and garden and craft courses on offer, and plans to open a small restaurant in one of the beautiful glasshouses...this really is one of my new
'Special Place' discoveries.