News from the Walled Kitchen Gardens Network April 2023Back to the grapevine

Dear friends,

With beautiful photos appearing from walled gardens everywhere, gardens open again for a new season and the hungry gap just about behind us, we are really pleased to let you know about plans for 2023. Ahead of that we first want to send congratulations again to Susan Campbell on being awarded the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal 2023 – given for her dedication and decades of work on, and with walled kitchen gardens. This Award is given ‘for outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science and practice of horticulture’ and is wonderful recognition of everything Susan has done to bring these gardens to the fore and re-establish understanding of their importance.

Save the date! Forum 2023 – 6th and 7th October 2023 at Harewood House, Yorkshire We are very excited to announce the venue and dates. Booking will be open by end of May, but you are welcome to register your interest now. Please read on below for more details.

The European Symposium on the conservation of historic fruit and kitchen gardens – the 2023-2024 series is now fully underway, the next online talk is on the 8th June 9-11am UK time. Read more about this and more in the second newsletter for this new series:

We have been sent an interesting and rare opportunity to pass on – the Potager du Roi at Versailles are looking for a new Head Gardener/Chef Jardinier or Directeur, and for the first time in their history they are considering applications from outside France. The right person would speak French and have the right experience for a role in this world famous kitchen garden, under the curtilage of World Heritage Site of the Palace of Versailles. Do you know someone who might be interested to take on this role?

FORUM 2023 – Harewood House, Yorkshire

Friday 6th and Saturday 7th October

We are hugely pleased to confirm our venue, with Trevor Nicholson – Head of Gardens & Grounds, and the Trustees at Harewood our hosts for the next Forum. The theme will look at the historic relationship between the Kitchen Garden and the Kitchen – a vitally important collaboration for the management of Estates and their households historically, and how some are recognising and working together again today.

One of the most important historic houses in England, Harewood has an extraordinary history, extending of course to the Kitchen Garden itself. Trevor and his team are working on the restoration of the walled kitchen gardens and we will learn more about this work and the future it will lead on to.

Susan Campbell writes: The kitchen garden at Harewood was designed by Lancelot Brown between the years of 1758 and 1781 for the owner, Edwin Lascelles. It is unique in that it looks like an island in the lake created by Brown, but in fact it is built on a promontory jutting into the west side. The lake was created by damming the Stank Beck that flows through the western part of the estate. A watercolour by Turner, painted in 1797, shows how well the kitchen garden melts into the wider landscape. It is also noticeable that the lake can be seen from the mansion, but not the kitchen garden.

Turner – detail of kitchen garden

Apart from the walks and drive from the mansion to the kitchen garden, an alcove on the outer side of the south wall, and two very ornate doorways set into the kitchen garden walls (very similar to those at Croome), there is nothing particularly evocative relating to Brown in the kitchen garden. A wall, possibly heated, runs diagonally through the second half of the kitchen garden, but most of the glasshouses are from a more recent date.

The present garden is being run organically with an eye to restoring some of the older fruit and vegetables.

All images courtesy of Susan Campbell


Jane Armstrong

That’s a great idea. I wonder if you would like to consider inviting Charles Dowding to speak to us… in addition to his well known support for ‘No Dig’, last year he also published a recipe book written with Catherine Balaam – maybe they could do a double act: how and what to grow and what to do with it!

Lucy Pitman

Thank you Jane! yes many options to explore – its really good seeing the connection between growing and cooking becoming so much part of the conversation. Double acts can be good fun as well as informative. Look forward to seeing you later in the year.

Lucy Pitman

We’ll have more info ready soon and will look forward to seeing you there!


Hurrah! WKGN Forum 2023, here we come. Thanks, Lucy, Susan and Mike. Can’t wait.

And what a perfect theme. It is the raison d’ĂȘtre of the kitchen garden, after all, and as illustrated so well by the second and fourth of Jennifer Davies’s TV series, “Victorian Kitchen’, and ‘Wartime Kitchen and Garden’.

More recently, that link resurfaced in an episode of ‘Rick Stein’s Cornwall’ in February. In converstion with John Harris, Head Gardener at Tresillian House, John says to Rick, “I think me and you ought to make a new series . . . you cooking it and me growing it.”

It might have just been a big hint to the BBC for another series, but also sums it up nicely.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing everyone in October.

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