23rd November - Gertrude Jeckyll - Her plants and designs
A talk by Dave Usher - 18 years as Head Gardener at Hestercombe.
Report on January Talk
Our first talk of the year in January was given by Sam Brown,
National Trust gardener, on the restoration of the Victorian walled garden at
Knightshayes, on the outskirts of Tiverton.
With the aid of coloured slides Sam told us how the garden and 19
glasshouses had provided fresh fruit and vegetables for the house during the
late 1800’s. With the advent of the First World War, as with many large estates
throughout the country, the gardeners at Knightshayes downed their spades and
hoes and took up arms, sadly many of them not returning to resume their duties.
By the time of the Second World War numbers had further declined although the
garden still produced supplies when the house was used as a hospital. When
commercially grown produce became readily available the garden ceased to be
By the 1970’s the garden had been abandoned, the glasshouses had
fallen into disrepair and at one point it was used to graze sheep and even served
as an overflow car park!
In 1999 the Trust undertook a project to restore the garden to its
former glory and by 2003 was fully productive again providing fresh fruit and
vegetables for the restaurant kitchen. The glasshouses however were beyond
repair and were finally demolished. However, the restoration is continuing and
it’s hoped to rebuild one of the original Victorian glasshouses.
The Trust only has a small number of permanent gardeners and is
always grateful for any help provided by volunteers. If you’re interested in
lending a hand in the garden then contact Sam on firstname.lastname@example.org