A new beginning for the walled garden at Blickling
The Walled Garden Project at Blickling is a fantastic example of a property working together to raise the funds necessary to make a major conservation project happen.
The walled garden at Blickling has been little more than an area of lawn for many years. But thanks to a determined fundraising effort it will soon be transformed back into an amazing space to grow fruit and vegetables.
‘The main funder of the project has been the onsite second hand bookshop which has put over £100k towards the project,’ says Mike Owers, Walled Garden Project Manager.
‘This has enabled us to employ a full time Project Manager and to really get the project moving.’
Additional grants from Broadland County Council to help towards restoring the greenhouses and also the Geoffrey Watling Charity to enable us to create a volunteer/educational room within the Walled Garden has made a huge difference.
From grass to garden
‘The area that is being developed has literally been a grass field for over 25 years,’ says Owers. ‘By regenerating the space and bringing a working fruit and vegetable garden back we are offering our visitors another area to explore.
‘The walled garden was the engine of the estate in its heyday keeping not only the family but also the staff fed. Today we are replicating this idea by supplying our onsite restaurant with fresh seasonal produce and our donations bench enables visitors to take home produce from the gardens.’
Already the main structure of the new garden has been installed, including fruit supports and pathways, over 60 varieties of apple and 20 of pear trees planted, and two greenhouses being fully restored.
Bringing in the community
‘The second half of the project will be all about community engagement, getting local schools involved in the project and continuing to develop the garden for our visitors,’ says Owers.
Already it’s proving to be a real attraction. ‘A recent Apple Weekend attracted over a thousand visitors to the garden for its first major event,’ says Owers. ‘Their donations will help to fund the project.
‘Our apple weekend in 2015 enabled us to purchase a set of step ladders and apple picking tools showing our supporters how their donations have made a real difference.’