07 June 2019 By Tash Ellens
Surrounded by stunning Kentish countryside and tucked away just outside the ancient city of Canterbury, The PIG at Bridge Place is an intriguing old building that has been totally been refurbished to create a 29 bedroom hotel and restaurant packed full of period features, including large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled rooms and endless nooks and crannies.
The original walled Kitchen Garden has been completely restored, and now sits very much at the heart of the operation at THE PIG-at Bridge Place.
Can you tell us a bit about the gardens at The PIG at Bridge Place?
The gardens at THE PIG at Bridge Place are situated adjacent to the main hotel, in an area which would have originally been the kitchen garden for Bridge Place in centuries past, this area is accessed via a bridge over a small stream. However, since then it had been allowed to become overgrown, eventually becoming an unmanaged woodland, which had to be completely cleared before we could start afresh with a blank canvas, leaving just the original walls surviving. To date, the design of this garden is the one that I am most proud of.
Where is the greenhouse located?
The Alitex greenhouse is the main focal point of the kitchen garden at THE PIG at Bridge Place, it is situated at the end of the long central pathway, and next to our outdoor dining space, The Garden Oven. For the first time at a PIG, you have to actually walk through the greenhouse to get to The Garden Oven terrace. Our guests can sit and enjoy their wood fired flat breads surrounded by the kitchen garden and greenhouse, it is a really immersive experience!
Did the gardens have any greenhouse when you purchased the property?
Although there are clear indications of where a greenhouse once stood within the kitchen garden, it appears to have been removed many decades ago, this allowed us to choose the correct Alitex greenhouse for our needs and to place it in a position that best compliments the rest of the garden.
How are you finding the Ickworth design?
The Ickworth itself is a great design, incorporating all of the features that contributed us to choosing Alitex greenhouses in the first place, whilst being fairly compact at the same time. My favourite features of an Alitex are a bit nerdy really, I love the traditional design mixed with modern features such as the self-opening windows and smooth running blinds on the roof, I also love the fact that being made out of aluminium instead of wood, it is easier to clean and maintain, whilst not having quite as many nooks and crannies for pests and diseases to overwinter and establish in.
What is the main purpose for the greenhouse?
We tend to use the Alitex greenhouses to showcase our collections of chillis during the summer months, as well as one or two more unusual plants which vary from hotel to hotel. During the winter we grow baby salad leaves in the greenhouse to be used as garnish by the chefs, we try to select varieties that are harder to source from the chefs’ usual suppliers during this time. We also do some of our propagation in the greenhouse during spring months, which can lead to the greenhouse looking pretty full at an otherwise fairly quiet time of the year!
To discover more and book a stay at The PIG at Bridge Place visit their website www.thepighotel.com/at-bridge-place/