The Upper Garden at Quarry Bank in Cheshire is one of those we're hoping will benefit from our Walled Gardens appeal. It was once a kitchen garden and provided fruit and vegetables for the large Greg family, who ran Quarry Bank Mill, and their servants.
A garden in need
Although we’ve looked after Quarry Bank Mill and estate, including the Apprentice House, since 1939, the Upper Garden only came into our care in 2010. By this time its paths, planting schemes and fruit trees had been lost or damaged.
The once magnificent glasshouse, one of the first hothouses in the country to use cast iron in the framework making a domed roof possible, is also in need of repair. The glasshouse restoration will include crafting and fitting 7,400 panes of glass by hand and reinstating the exotic plants previously grown inside.
Getting the project off the ground
The team of garden staff and volunteers is already hard at work restoring the Upper Garden, creating beds and borders, improving paths and clearing and restoring the nuttery and orchard. ‘The garden has already hugely improved from the state it was in when we first acquired it’ says head gardener Sarah Witts.
Next in the team’s sights is the glasshouse which will cost an estimated £1 million to restore, we hope with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. ‘Without the glasshouse the transformation of the Upper Garden will be incomplete,' says Sarah. ‘It would be wonderful to finally see its glass sparkle again.’
Shining a light on Quarry Bank’s history
The restored glasshouse will help bring more of Quarry Bank’s history to life. ‘Using archive records we can explore the stories of real garden workers – from the boys who stoked the glasshouse boilers to the gardeners who tended the plots,’ explains fundraising manager Sally Bowden.
‘Visitors will also be able to learn about the Victorian plant hunters who brought back rare and exotic plants from around the world,’ adds Sally. 'They’ll be able see them on display, just as the Gregs and their guests would have done.’