11 October 2013 By Billy Hawkins
Each year Fiona Grant of the Walled Kitchen Garden Network (WKGN) (of which Sue Campbell is the Chairperson) brings together society members old and new with enthusiasts and experts from across the horticultural spectrum for a weekend of networking and knowledge sharing.
Chris Sawyer from Alitex is a long time friend of both the organization and its members and enjoys the annual opportunity to catch up. This year the tour took place in Shropshire at Attingham Park, an estate that was designed to be functional and self-sufficient, including an 18th century walled garden. This is a National Trust property, now in its 5th year of walled garden restoration.
Senior gardener Kate Nicoll manages the walled gardens to great effect, including the wooden greenhouses on the site, which despite being renovated in 2008 are being painted for the second time.
Three of the quarters in the larger walled garden (just under two acres) are now cropped, and all the glasshouses in the smaller area (the frame-yard) have been restored and are fully productive. There is also an interesting collection of back-sheds and a very atmospheric gardeners’ bothy.
Mike Thurlow, who was head gardener for fifteen years at Audley End, the flagship walled garden at the English Heritage property near Saffron Walden (Essex) also gave a talk.
Chris made a small presentation about Alitex to the group and would like to reiterate his thanks and congratulations to the council for an informative, well organised weekend.