Restoring the Kitchen Garden Progress
In the late 18th century, the kitchen garden provided the house and estate with vegetables and herbs and even tropical fruits from the greenhouses. We're currently working to restore the garden to it's 1930s arrangement.
History of the Walled Garden
Created in the late 18th century, the walled garden was an integral part of this working Irish estate. It was improved significantly in 1869 when the 4th Earl of Enniskillen married Charlotte Baird, a wealthy heiress from Dumfriesshire. She invested much into the development of the garden, providing many of its main features including the entrance bridge, pergola, Rose Garden and greenhouses. The garden remained in production up until the 1940s, having up to 12 full time gardeners at its peak.
Work so far
The upper part of the garden, known as the Rose Garden, has already been restored, and the remaining 2 acres, known as the Kitchen Garden is currently undergoing a project to return it to the 1930s arrangement.
So far, the original pathways have been restored and herbaceous borders planted containing a wide variety of plants, including achillea, asters, bergamot, marigold, cosmos and many summer flowering bulbs. These can also provide cut flowers for use in the house.
Two large fruit and vegetable plots have been brought into cultivation and are used to grow common vegetables and Victorian favourites such as sea kale. Each year new and unusual vegetables are grown - most recently tree spinach, callaloo and mooli radish. The plots are edged with calendula and other flowers to attract beneficial insects. 110 meters of espalliers have been installed to support native Irish apples.
During August 2017, it was announced that vital funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund was released that enables the project proposal to be developed. This is fantastic news for Florence Court, especially for our dedicated team of volunteers who for the past few years have been working hard to bring the Kitchen Garden back into cultivation. We will now be able to add impetus to the project that will create more opportunities for our volunteers and local communities, as well as for our visitors. The addition of the amazing feature will ultimately see the glass houses back in situ to complete the restoration of this historic kitchen garden to its 1930s layout. The glasshouses will not only make the garden look more attractive to visitors, but will also provide some practical spare for the volunteers to extend their horticultural work.
Much more than just a garden
So far, the Kitchen Garden at Florence Court has supported hundreds of children so far this year by hosting their series of ‘Have a Go’ activities, which aims to get the local community involved in gardening and the outdoors. This has been achieved thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Natioanl Trust supporters.
So far this year, as part of the community project in the Kitchen Garden, the National Trust has welcomed 120 school children from 4 local schools and created 1 jumbo ‘Bee Hotel’, along with 60 other Bee Hotels, 90 garden Rot Pots and thousands of marigold seeds have made their way to nearby homes in the local community and across Fermanagh. Read more about the community 'Have a Go' activities that have taken place so far in the Kitchen Garden HERE.
This project will offer opportunities for individuals and families to get involved in everything from hands-on exploration of the garden’s archaeology and repointing of the walls, to pruning of heritage apple trees and harvesting of local and exotic vegetables which were de rigueur in the sustainable Irish estates of that time. It is proposed that the centrepiece of this project will be the erection of two replica glasshouses, which have been absent from the walled garden since the 1970s. As well as bringing the vision of a working walled kitchen garden to life, the glasshouses will offer a much needed space for hosting lectures, training and skill-sharing and provides the opportunity to offer internships to local horticulture students facilitating the teaching of propagation techniques and glasshouse growing skills.
Help us out
Visitors are always welcome to the garden and guided tours can be arranged. Lead Gardener for the project David Corscadden is helped by a fantastic team of volunteers. Volunteers are always needed and welcomed! If you are interested in gardening from picking out seedlings to digging and weeding, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org