Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hughenden Manor

Last week I made a special trip out to Hughenden Manor. Hughenden was the home of the 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Only 20 minutes away just outside High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, I had always wanted to visit to see the newly restored walled kitchen garden. Benjamin Disraeli was one of Queen Victoria's Prime Ministers, and in later life they had much in common having both been widowed and they also shared their love of dogs!
Of course, Matron was interested to see the walled kitchen garden. Hughenden was left to the National Trust after having been taken over during the Second World War as a secret base from which the Royal Air Force planned operations such as the Dam Busters raid.
I was really disappointed by the walled kitchen garden! Too much grass, just a few raised beds and way too many flowers!!
A few small rows of onions and leeks, a few fruit bushes and a few herbs. Quite a nice scarecrow though!
Benjamin Disraeli also started a small graveyard for his beloved dogs! A small space on top of a hill overlooking the vale of Hughenden is the resting place for a variety of working dogs. This one named 'Li Hung Chang - A wire haired terrier - 1899-1901' I hope it lived a full and happy life in its short 2 years (despite the name!)
If the walled kitchen garden disappointed, the doggy graveyard did not!


At 10:16 AM, Blogger Hazel said...

I'm surprised not to see more blossom on the fruit trees, Matron.

Rather good raised bed - even if they do need a bit of TLC and planting up! I wonder how it will look in summer?

At 10:23 AM, Blogger Green Lane Allotments said...

Those beds are very small aren't they - it's something I often see replicted on our allotment site - all path and tiny growing areas. I think it must be trendy!

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Kris said...

Oh good grief! That walled kitchen garden is practically criminally under-utilized! There's no fruit trees espaliered against the wall, no trellises for climbing veg. I saw no bramble berries. Was there even an herb garden? A few flowers would be nice, yes, but only a bit. And like you said, entirely too much (good for nothing, resource hogging, man-hour labor sucking) grass. (Can you guess I'm not a lawn fan? LOL)

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

Maybe they hadn't prepared the Kitchen Garden for the year yet! What I could do with all those boxes :o)

At 3:59 PM, Blogger Jelliebabe said...

Hi Matron - Love Hughenden Manor - just round the corner from me! The walled garden is much better later on in the year - or it was when we visited last summer! :o)

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regrettable about the walled kitchen garden...but nice they have any kind of garden. The graveyard for K-9s is quite gravestones for our K-9s and feline. Per hubby's request, ashes for 3 K-9s and 1 feline are buried with him. He has excellent company!

Hughenden Manor is quite a lovely place, Prime Minister Disraeli must have thoroughly enjoyed living there!

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Ruth@VS said...

I'm with you on this, you should never see raised beds in a walled garden, and they should be digging up most of that grass. I've seen better, too, trying to think where the best one was but I suspect it was in the North somewhere, too far from you!

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just stumbled across your blog..brilliant! I'm with you 100% on a love of dogs and veggies. I started when l was 7.
I love walled gardens too but would have been greatly dissapointed with that one. I raise my veg in raised beds but not as ornate as those. They need Monty Don in there to give them a make over. Good luck with the coming season. Trevor.

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

The kitchen garden is a dissapontment, but they were in their hey day when labour was cheap. Nowadays anyone working in these gardens all seem to need an 'ology in something!

At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having discovered the walled garden at Hughenden Manor last year I was amazed at what they had done. I cannot believe the wonderful espalier pear tress and more that I've witnessed several times over the year were missed by 'Matron'. There have been so many community projects based on those raised beds - and they were designed so they could be accessible to the various groups, some of whom were disabled. No herbs? One of the projects was herb based and was well attended by the women from some of the cultural minorities who were keen to make sure their culinary herb needs were met.
I guess disappointment occurs when you have definite expectations; however the real strength of this garden is the various practical ways in which it reaches out to visitors and leads them to take so much from the garden into their homes - whether it is the seed give aways, the training groups or the homemade soup recipes. Give it another chance, matron. Perhaps one of their Apple days which take place in late September / early October?


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