Kingston Lacy Kitchen Garden project

Project
The vision for the restoration of the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy

Since 2009 the National trust has been securing funding to bring Walter Bankes’ dream Victorian Kitchen Garden back to life. We have already completed some of the work, details of which can be seen below, but over the next four years the project aims to transform the Kitchen Garden from its current state to reignite its former elegance and to ensure it once again becomes a showcase for horticultural opulence. To achieve this we are looking to raise a total of £498,000 to open up this space for everyone and to conserve the garden for future generations.

The project has been broken down into four phases which will take place over the next four years:

Phase one

We are currently raising money to reinstall the former path and hedge network. If we are successful in raising the necessary funds, we aim to complete this by the end of 2019. The new hedges will be box, lavender and yew and will be planted alongside new herbaceous flower borders to bring these areas of the garden back to life.  

A photo of the former box hedging and flower borders that we will be recreating during the restoration
Box hedging and flower borders in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy (circa 1950)
A photo of the former box hedging and flower borders that we will be recreating during the restoration
A photo from the archives of the flower borders in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy
A photo from the archives of the former flower borders in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy
A photo from the archives of the flower borders in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy

Phase two

In the autumn of 2020 we will be creating a shrub and tree boundary around the perimeter of the Kitchen Garden to recreate what was there in the early 1900s. All the plants used will be native species chosen to improve the biodiversity of the hedgerow and offer an improved habitat for wildlife.

Phase three

In the autumn of 2021 we will be working to restore the ornamental fencing and wrought iron gates at the northern side of the Kitchen Garden. We will also be recreating the vegetable beds, planting them with a mixture of historical and modern produce. We hope this produce will be used in the café at Kingston Lacy so visitors can enjoy food that has come from plot to plate when they stop to refuel.

Phase four

The final phase of the project is to replant the former apple orchards and recreate the apple archway which was present in the 1900s. Visitors to the Kitchen Garden in future years will be able to walk through this archway which will span the width of the garden, following in the footsteps of visitors to the garden in the 1900s. We will be replanting the orchards with historical varieties of apple tree taken from archived planting records. This final phase will also see the restoration of the remaining vegetable beds and is scheduled to take place in the autumn of 2022.

The final plan for the Kitchen Garden project
The final plan for the Kitchen Garden project at Kingston Lacy
The final plan for the Kitchen Garden project

Latest updates

30 May 19

Planting the maize maze

The green shoots of maize are starting to appear in the old allotment area in the Kitchen Garden. This 2 acre site will become a 'maize maze' this summer before we reinstall the former path and hedge network as we progress with phase one of our Kitchen Garden restoration project over the autumn/winter. Come back in the summer holidays to explore the new maize maze – we will be asking for donations on entry, all of which will go towards the Kitchen Garden restoration project.

Get lost in the new maize maze in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy

19 Apr 19

Clearing the old allotments

Towards the end of April we cleared the old allotment site and cultivated the ground, ready for our new maize maze. This will hopefully be sown in the next few weeks and ready for visitors to use in the summer. Longer term this space will be turned back into vegetable beds as per the original Victorian design.

Clearing the former allotments in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy, Dorset

28 Feb 19

Creating the flower garden

During February we have been creating the flower garden, once lost, in the north - eastern corner of the Kitchen Garden. This area is currently vegetable beds and, due to a kind donation, we are able to remove these and recreate the historical and colourful flower borders. This work will be followed by planting of the herbaceous borders and flower beds in May. This new addition will significantly enhance the garden and kickstart the work needed to reach our long term ambitions.

New cut flower beds in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy