Monday, 12 April 2010

Kingston Lacy Allotments

Today was our first morning at Kingston Lacy to take part in their new allotment course. 

In it's heyday, these gardens were second only to Kew and Queen Victoria sent her gardeners to Kingston Lacy to learn.

The house regained control of the old kitchen gardens two years ago after they had been on a long lease to a bonsai nursery and it has taken the National Trust that long just to clear the 6 acre site of debris and rubbish.  To help with the weed problem they put pigs on the land which turned everything that was edible into manure.

There has been a on-going program to restore what few of the glasshouses are left and some of them are now ready to use.

The ones on the left are rather precarious still, in the centre is the cucumber and melon pit still to be restored and on the right the now usable glasshouses and cold frames.

And the inside being productive.

Some of the original early Victorian bothy's are still standing.  These were used for the apprentice gardeners and garden boys to live in whilst on the estate.  It also meant they were near to the glasshouses and could stoke the boilers in the middle of the night to keep the temperatures up as well as starting work usually at first dawn light.

This one has an enormous wisteria along it that is estimated to be about 100 years old.

This is a part of the garden that has been funded and prepared by the Prince's Trust and will be used for disabled groups to work in.

And this is the area we were working in that has been turned into public allotments.  They are all of a quarter full size so much more manageable for most people.

Behind me when I took the last photo is the area that will be developed into the larger half to full size community project allotments and fruit tree orchards. They have done an enormous amount of work in a very short time but still have a very long way to go.  I'm looking forward being there over the next few months to see this year's progress.


  1. Looking forward to seeing the progress! I think it's lovely that the space is being used by the whole community and will return to its heyday in a different way!
    I'm intrigued to know what a cucumber and melon pit is!
    How did you enjoy the course?
    Best wishes

  2. Are you taking part yourself? So good to see the plots prepared, it's very daunting to be faced with an overgrown 'field' - so speaks someone who knows!

  3. what an interesting story this is about the history of the fields. Community spaces are wonderful for bringing people together wish we had one near here.

    Glad you like my sunrise. I think I will be able to say that was the last of our warm autumn days because this morning the temperature was 6deg cooler so winter is definitely coming.

  4. Dan, a cucumber or melon pit is lower in the ground to keep a more constant, cooler temperature. Where the ivy is to the right of the roof is the steps down to the door. If I had gone down there I guess the top of my shoulders would have been level with the ground. It was quite a big area inside really. You know what the Victorians were like for growing exotics including pineapples! We struggle enough now but then we don’t have 40 gardeners doing the work. Shame really!!!!

    Maggi, the before pictures were scary! Head high nettles and brambles. Pigs are great cultivators! I wish I had had some here when we moved in.

    It was nice to share the sun for a moment Shirley, I guess Queensland must really be our opposite!!

    The course is more a chance to go and see what they are doing, join in, ask questions and then take the knowledge home and do it yourself. It’s not intense, just once a month for four months for us all to compare notes from the back yard raised beds (me), smaller allotment holders (my friends I went with) and the country house estate. I also love going behind the scenes of these places!!! Nosy bat really.


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