A gentleman farmer's garden

Packwood's Kitchen Garden flower borders

The Fetherston family of Packwood were gentleman farmers who were wealthy enough to farm for pleasure as well as income. Our aim at Packwood has been to re-create what was a vital part of the Fetherston family's self-sufficient home here in the 1700s.

Pretty and practical

In the 1700s kitchen gardens weren’t yet the large-scale operations they would become under the Victorians. These gardens were a combination of beauty and commodity, humble in scale but designed to be enjoyed, not hidden from sight. With immaculate pathways, dipping pools and shady benches to sit and relax the Fetherstons would have enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of their delightful kitchen garden.

This friendly chap overlooks the strawberry plants
A view of the kitchen garden at packwood
This friendly chap overlooks the strawberry plants

Quality over quantity

Kitchen gardens provided abundant resources including less familiar herbs and flowers which grew amongst the vegetables. These herbs and flowers were used as flavourings and dyes, sedatives and disinfectants and also medicine for people and animals alike.

The apples are nearly ready for picking
Apples lining the pathways in the kitchen garden
The apples are nearly ready for picking

More than just a vegetable plot

Taking our inspiration from a survey of the house carried out in 1723 the team at Packwood took the opportunity to regenerate this forgotten area of Packwood’s gardens. We aim to blend traditional practices of producing fresh, home-grown food which is often used in the Garden Kitchen Café with encouraging biodiversity and experimenting with new exotic plants.

Coleus plants lining the wall at Packwood
Coleus plants at Packwood
Coleus plants lining the wall at Packwood

Our aim at Packwood has been to re-create what was once a vital part of the Fetherston family's self-sufficient home here in the 1700s.

Kitchen Garden re-opening

Our Kitchen Garden is now back open for visitors to enjoy, daily, from 9am. 2020 was an extraordinary year, and certainly not one to be forgotten.  The realities of looking after Packwood’s historic garden during a nationwide lockdown meant that the production of fruit and vegetables in the Kitchen Garden simply had to be put to one side. Our Kitchen Garden has a long history, yet nothing like this had ever happened before. Nature took over very quickly during the warm, dry spring and summer, and the garden became an undisturbed haven for a wide variety of birds and insects who suddenly had the whole place to themselves.

The Kitchen Garden during the Coronavirus pandemic, 2020
Packwood's Kitchen Garden overgrown throughout various Covid lockdowns
The Kitchen Garden during the Coronavirus pandemic, 2020

 
Work on restoring the plots in the Kitchen Garden to their former glory began in October 2020. This involved significant clearing work and digging out of perennial weeds, which had thickly carpeted the once productive soil. 
 
Once clearing had taken place, the main plots were covered over the winter with a permeable membrane that suppressed weeds but still allowed air and moisture through to keep the soil healthy.  Clearing the main areas in the garden was largely completed by the end of the winter, but there were still plenty of other spots needing attention. 
 
Over the spring and summer of 2021, the garden team and our dedicated volunteers have worked hard to slowly bring the Kitchen Garden back into a productive space, whilst still allowing wildlife to flourish. Our café is now, once again, able to take full advantage of all our homegrown produce, and this has made all that hard work so worthwhile. 
 
Throughout the pandemic nature sustained us and gave us comfort. Help us to continue to look after this special place by supporting our work. You can text to donate to help support the work we do. Text PACKWOOD to 70525 to donate £5. Thank you.