IOW Gardens Trust

Walled Kitchen Garden Project Logo A Journey back In Time

The story of Isle of Wight walled kitchen gardens will take us on a journey back in time starting long before trains, electricity, cars and supermarkets. An orchard – cum – vegetable garden is one of the most ancient forms of gardening, but building walls was also to do with social aspirations, lifestyle and money.

People have always liked to entertain and since Tudor times one way to impress visitors was to grow exotic fruit for the table. Fruit trees, including apricots and peaches, grew best and ripened earlier when planted agains enclosing walls.

The 1700s saw great debates about the size, shape, and layout of walled gardens and the best methods for growing fruit, vegetables and flowers. Heated glasshouses in the 1800s allowed tender and exotic delicacies to be grown, but as transport improved and produce became easier to buy, kitchen gardens became more of a luxury.

Between 1800 and 1939 walled kitchen gardens were at the height of their productivity, but the outbreak of World War I in 1914 can now be seen as the start of their decline. Few, if any, were built after that date.

So 2014 is a fitting year for us to uncover the fascinating story of walled kitchen gardens and their role in the history of Island life. We will also see how walled gardens are used today and travel forward in time to consider how they might be used in the future.

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Appointment of new Chairman – Susan Dobbs

In March 2013 Trustees and Members were pleased to welcome Susan Dobbs of Salterns, Seaview as their new Chairman. Susan says … “It was an honour and a surprise to me to be asked to be chairman after John Harrison, Peter Marsden and others have led the Isle of Wight Gardens Trust so successfully for the last 24 years.

National Recognition for Woodlands Vale Estate

At the AGM we were able to announce that, following an application by IWGT, Woodlands Vale Estate in Seaview had been added to the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England in June 2012 at Grade II. This brings the total of Island sites on the Register, and thus recognised as being of national importance.

Dear members

Annual General Meeting 2012 We had a most enjoyable AGM at Dimbola, where John Evans told us much about the life of Julia Margaret Cameron in a humorous way. Ron Smith who chaired the IWGT steering committee, and was our President, was the founding Trustee for saving Dimbola from demolition so we have a close common history.

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