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.