The Physic Garden at Calke Abbey

Scarecrow watching over the Physic Garden at Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

The Physic Garden was first established to cultivate medicinal and culinary herbs and today it continues to provide fresh herbs and vegetables to our restaurant.

Early design

A sketch plan of the site dated 1787 shows a very simple garden design; the main pathway bisected the largely rectangular space, much as it does today.
Fruit trees flanked the path and adorned all four walls and over 350 herbs were planted, along with carnations and auriculas.

Traditional veg

The layout of the garden has been left unaltered and widespread replanting began in 1988.
Vegetables are cropped on four large plots which are rotated annually for virility and pest control. Our gardeners mainly grow old varieties of fruit and vegetables to compliment the old walled garden.

Apples galore

Like many areas of the Calke estate a small section of the east-end of the garden was left as an abandoned wilderness.
In the early 1990s this space was cleared and an apple orchard was planted. Here, old local varieties such as Newton Wonder, Beeley Pippin and Annie Elizabeth can be found.
These apples reap an abundant autumnal harvest and provide the focus for one of our most popular events Apple Day, where juicings and tastings of these unusual apples can be enjoyed.

Fill your senses

Take a walk through the Physic Garden and see plums and cherries thrive, figs ripen against the walls, and indulge the senses with our collection of culinary herbs that fill the air with a scent of rosemary, thyme and lavender.