The Kitchen Garden at Chartwell

As a large country house, Chartwell almost certainly always had a kitchen garden to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to the family. A productive kitchen garden was certainly mentioned in the sale particulars when Churchill bought the house in 1922 but was probably cited where the croquet lawn now lies.

Churchill the gardener

The present kitchen garden dates from the mid 1920s when the surrounding brick wall was built. Churchill was an enthusiastic amateur bricklayer and a plaque on these walls states 'The greater part of this wall was built between the years 1925 & 1932 by Winston with his own hands'.
 

Self-sufficiency

The kitchen garden provided an essential and practically self-sufficient source of produce for the Churchill family and stock was often sent to Churchill's London home for Mrs Georgina Landemare, the family cook to use.
 

Reinstating the garden

The area fell into disrepair during the war but then accelerated once more when Churchill retired from office in 1955. The Trust stepped in further when a master plan was prepared to reinstate the kitchen garden in 2003 using old diaries from Churchill's last Head Gardener Victor Vincent as well as invoices and paintings as guides.
 

Stunning produce

The area today is as magnificent as it has ever been and undoubtedly one of the jewels in the Chartwell garden crown. It remains a working kitchen garden and now supplies the Chartwell café with fresh produce.
 

A Garden For All Seasons

Tulips in the kitchen garden at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Spring Blooms

As the garden wakes up with spring the cut flower bed comes to life with colour. Tulips in all shapes and hues unfurl and anemones open up to greet the sleepy sun. Over the season these blooms will be picked and taken up to the house where our volunteers expertly arrange them for the display rooms.

Summer blooms in the kitchen garden at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Summer Pickings

Artichokes, gooseberries and runner beans are just a few of the many foods to be growing in our kitchen garden. During the summer months the fruit and vegetable beds turn a luscious green as the produce gets ready to be picked and taken to the café to be made into delicious meals. The cut flower bed is awash with an array of rainbow colours that are pleasing to the eye. Look out for these flowers as you go around the house; our volunteers make lovely floral displays.

Pumpkins in the kitchen garden at Chartwell, a National Trust place in Kent

Autumnal Harvest

Take a wander into our kitchen garden to see what seasonal delights we're growing. Root vegetables are being harvested, ready to be transformed into delicious stews in our café but what you won't be able to miss are our pumpkins and squashes being suspended from the ground. By hanging these vegetables, we're ensuring the moist soil will not cause them to rot prematurely. Can you guess the weight of our biggest pumpkin?

Brussel Sprouts growing in the Kitchen Garden at Chartwell, a National Trust property in Kent

Winter Rest

Winter sees the last of the produce ready to harvest, such as the brussel sprouts and kale that are ideal for Christmas lunches in the Landemare Café. Over the colder months the kitchen garden is put to bed, and new bulbs are planted in the cut flower borders ahead of another year of rainbow colour.