Arlington’s kitchen garden becomes a family veggie patch

A young boy gardening at Arlington Court, with his mother in the background

With most of the Trust’s staff furloughed, a small team remained to carry out essential tasks while Arlington Court was closed. Normally three gardeners and 20 volunteers tend to the beautiful Victorian garden. But with the gardening team down to just one member of staff, it became clear we'd need to be creative to keep on top of the gardening during lockdown.

While we work to gradually reopen our places, the walled kitchen garden will remain closed until further notice. 

 

Arlington's Victorian walled kitchen garden

Normally the walled kitchen garden would be taking shape by now, with the team sowing and planting a variety of fruit and veg to be used in the tea-room and offered for sale to visitors later in the year. However, preparing the walled kitchen garden is too big a task for one gardener, so a unique plan was devised to make use of the space and bring life to the beds.

 

Unusual times call for a new plan of action

Three families live onsite at Arlington Court in staff accommodation. They have each been given a plot in the kitchen garden to work on with their families and have already started work rotavating the soil and sowing seeds. 

This is probably the first time that amateur gardeners have been given the chance to shape the garden at Arlington. The remaining gardener, Beccy Hanson, thinks it will be a surprising change for regular visitors when they are able to return.

" I’m expecting our walled kitchen garden to look very different this year, a family veggie patch instead of the usual ordered kitchen garden designed to feed a grand house. The garden is very sheltered and fertile, the perfect growing space, so I’m sure they will be picking and eating the rewards of their efforts very soon. It’s nice to know the garden is being tended and enjoyed by at least three families while we are closed."
- Beccy Hanson, Arlington Court Gardener

Kate Godden and her husband Tim are tending one of the plots with their little helper, two-year-old Fernley.

" It’s such an odd time for us all right now but it’s great to have the opportunity to help out the team here and grow some of our own veggies along the way. None of us have undertaken any gardening quite like this before so it’s been a good challenge."
- Kate Godden, Visitor Operations & Experience Manager at Arlington Court
A family gardening at Arlington Court
A family gardening at Arlington Court
A family gardening at Arlington Court

Donate to keep our gardens growing

As a charity, we rely on donations. With many of our places temporarily closed, vital funding has disappeared. Your donation will help us look after special gardens for everyone, for ever.

Woman removing child's wellies from the back of a car

Do I need to pre-book? 

The ground floor of the Carriage Museum and house, garden, wider estate, tea-room, second-hand bookshop and toilets are now open. On weekdays you don't need to pre-book your visit. At busier times, like weekends and school holidays, booking is recommended to guarantee entry. From Monday 28 June you will no longer need to pre-book your entry ticket to Arlington. In line with government guidance, you're required to wear a face covering in most enclosed spaces, unless exempt. Please bring one with you.