The Manor garden

Sunny September morning at Lytes Cary Manor in Somerset

The garden that you see today at Lytes Cary Manor is very different to the garden that would have originally existed when the Lyte family were in residence.

The garden would have once been a very practical, working space.  Henry Lyte, who lived in the house in the 1550s, was a keen herbalist and gardener.  His son Thomas wrote that he grew apples, pears, plums, grapes, cherries, walnuts and peaches.

Sadly, much of the original garden was lost after the Lytes family sold the estate in 1755.  The following years saw a series of owners and tenants occupying the Manor, and the garden disappeared as the land was farmed right up to the house.

When the Jenner family took up residence in 1907, Sir Walter and Lady Flora created a new garden.  The design was Arts and Craft inspired and featured mostly rectangular ‘rooms’ separated by yew hedges and stone walls, each reflecting a different mood or purpose.   

After Sir Walter passed the house and estate to the National Trust, it was again let to tenants.  In 1955, Jeremy Chittenden and his wife, Biddy, took the lease.  Both worked tirelessly over the next 45 years to transform the gardens into those we now know.

Today the garden is looked after by a dedicate team with the support of 65 volunteers.  You can read about some of the challenges they have faced in 2018 here.  Ask at reception if a garden walk is happening during your visit - you can learn more about the conservation work that goes on to keep the garden looking its best and get a sneaky peak at some behind the scenes areas, such as the plant nursery.