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Restoring the walled garden at The Weir Garden

A view of lots of wildflowers in the walled garden at The Weir Garden, Herefordshire.
Wildflowers in the walled garden at the Weir Garden, Herefordshire. | © National Trust / Claire Kingston

The walled garden suffered 50 years of neglect until the National Trust's dedicated band of staff and volunteers started the restoration process in 2009. Today it is a vibrant, productive garden for visitors to enjoy.

A once loved garden

The walled garden became a burden for the last tenant at The Weir, Victor Morris, as it yielded too much produce for him alone. Eventually it was neglected because of wasted upkeep and growing cost.

Falling into a poor state, the walled garden was out of use for many years until the National Trust decided to revive the garden back into a functioning space in 2009.

The restoration of the walled garden

Plot by plot, a team of enthusiastic volunteers and staff began work on restoring the garden led by Head Gardener, Ned Price alongside a second full time gardener, Stephen Morton.

The team spent the first year rigorously clearing the wilderness, pulling weeds and burning the excess. The next challenge was to establish the original pathways. Using Ordnance Survey maps, the previous layout was rediscovered, and the team created the first of the herbaceous borders on the north and west walls.

Close-up of apples growing on a tree in the orchard at Lyveden, Northamptonshire
Produce from the walled garden is now sold to the public | © National Trust Images/Mike Selby

A year later in 2010, three more blocks of vegetable beds were restored, more paths were reinstated, and more intricate plant borders were introduced.

Excavating the walled garden

That August, an excavation of the walled garden was carried out by a small team of volunteers led by archaeologist, Jeremy Milln. The team unearthed a pond which could clearly be seen on the 1885 Ordnance Survey map.

Inside the ponds were some rather peculiar finds; an 1875 halfpenny, an intact teapot and a prehistoric flint flake. Someday, with further funding, it is hoped the pond can be restored to its former glory.

The first harvest

The first harvest in 50 years took place in 2010. Beans, beetroot, peas, onions, leeks and squashes thrived and inside the borders flowers started to flourish.

The following years saw the walled garden grow from strength to strength, with plants maturing and the harvest reaping more and more produce.

The garden is now so productive it supplies all four of the Herefordshire National Trust locations with fresh produce to use in their tea-rooms as well as being sold on-site to the general public.

Sprigs of bright purple bell heather against a blue sky on the Yorkshire coast.


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