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.

In the beginning

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.

Twentieth century changes

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.

Seasonal highlights

Today the garden is looked after by a dedicate team with the support of 65 volunteers. 

This winter will be very busy for the gardening team.  They have replanted both sides of the white garden.  The main border is also being reorganised before the spring.  It’s a big job – taking about two weeks just to clear the border before the work to reorder can begin.

There is a lot of turf maintenance work to be done as well.  After the drought in the summer, the team are slowly nurturing the grass back to life.  The Apostle grass died back so will be re-seeded along with parts of the croquet lawn.  It will hopefully be looking much greener in 2019. 

The tulip bulbs will be a potted up bringing splashes of colour throughout the garden when they emerge next year.