Thursday, 14 August 2014

Kitchen Garden Notes - The Alnwick Garden

Bee on an Echinacea flower
A trip to Northumberland would not be complete without a visit to The Alnwick Garden. We decided to go on a Thursday as it is also market day in Alnwick and we were pleased to be able to buy some local carrots and potatoes for dinner that night. The Alnwick Garden was part of the estate of the Duke of Northumberland but is now in the hands of a charitable trust. It's next to the ancestral seat of Alnwick Castle but we opted out of going in as some of the state rooms were closed as Downton Abbey was being filmed in them.
Crab apple Malus 'Red Sentinel'
There have been gardens in the grounds of Alnwick Castle since the 1750s when the 1st Duke of Northumberland enlisted the services of Capability Brown to create a garden for him. Successive Dukes made their mark on the garden and made it more and more grander and ornate. However, the need to 'Dig for victory' during the Second World War meant it was ripped up and used for food production instead. After the war the garden was no longer needed and was left unloved. Enter Jane, Duchess of Northumberland and wife of the 12th Duke.
Late fruiting strawberry 'Ostara'
By 1997 the site had traces of the original garden still remaining but was wild and without focus. Its days of grandeur long gone. The Duchess started to embark on the most ambitious garden design of the 20th Century. It reopened to the public in October 2001 still as a work in progress. The final phrase is due to be completed next year.
Inside the Medlar Mespilus germanica tree
I've been to the Alnwick Garden before in late May and June when the Rose Garden was in full bloom and has been the star attraction. For all year round interest you need to head up to the Ornamental Garden. The walls and wrought ironwork are original but the planting inside is very new.
Crab apple Malus 'Butterball'
There's plenty of colour in the flowers still in August. Overhead there are crab apple trellises. In fact there are different varieties of crab apples everywhere whether in rows or separate trees. That's some jelly waiting to be made in a couple of months time!
Blueberry 'Goldtraube'
Some of the soft fruit has gone now such as the white currants and gooseberries. There's still plenty to come with late ripening strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Looking around you sense there's one thing missing from this garden which you would expect in a walled garden – vegetables. For the veggies you need to head down the garden and out of the main part of it to the Roots and Shoots Garden.
Dig for Victory
I've never been in the Roots and Shoots Garden. I don't know if this is because it wasn't previously open to the public or I simply missed it. I nearly didn't get to see it this time either as I only spotted it on the map just as it was closing but a kindly gardener let me rush around.
Flowers and herbs planted together
It is set up as a teaching garden for children and adults. This was the site of an original kitchen garden. It's a great time to visit as the garden is bursting with produce. If you are tempted to take some home there is a sale shelf with money going into the donations box. We relived them of a very large marrow.
Apples and nasturtiums
Everything looks amazing in the garden at the moment – so green and healthy. Vegetables are planted next to each other and in companion with herbs and flowers. There are more apples in here but of the eating variety. They are planted along walls and in tubs overflowing with nasturtiums. If you've ever wanted some inspiration to start growing your own fruit and vegetables this is the place to come.
Sweetcorn and parsley
The Alnwick Garden is a huge site and this is just a snippet of what you can find in it. Many of the areas are thought out with children and families in mind with bamboo mazes and water fountains complete with mini diggers. If you want to escape the busy areas head out to the Woodland Walk but whatever you do don't miss out on a visit to the Alnwick Garden.
Pumpkin and sunflowers


44 comments:

  1. Will have to pop this on my list of places to visit. Love all the colour.

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    1. I bet your list is growing longer and longer!

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  2. This looks fab! I love the Roots and Shoots garden idea, it's all so inspiring. I've only recently seen apple tree's grown on trellis and I have to say I think it looks stunning and I hear that growing them that way produces a lot more fruit, no idea if that's true.
    Such colour - I can see I need to plan a road trip!
    Thanks for joining in again x

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    1. Monty Don said on Gardener's World the other week that growing apples in such a way produces more fruit and I can confirm they were all laden!

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  3. Sounds like a lovely place to visit. Love the look of those apples.

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    1. I'm always enticed by the sight of apples with a rosy blush to them.

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  4. What beautiful gardens! Really inspirational - my mother in law would love it!

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    1. Whatever type of gardener you are it really is inspirational.

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  5. What a great post, so informative. Sounds lovely up there!

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    1. It really is a stunning part of the country.

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  6. Gorgeous pictures! Oh I DO miss English country gardens. I've only just got to grips with growing things again after four years here in Canada. The vastly different climate is a whole new ballgame...

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    1. I can imagine Canada is much different to the UK. I have trouble enough in this country growing things though!

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  7. Wow this looks so good, fab for this time of year .x

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    1. There was so much colour around not just in the Alnwick Garden but also in the surrounding towns and villages.

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  8. Replies
    1. Thank you. I couldn't stop snapping away!

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  9. What a lovely place! I have to visit pick your own farm this year :)

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    1. There aren't any pick your farms left round where I live anymore. I'll have to stick with foraging instead.

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  10. We love Alnwick, it is a great place to visit as a family

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    1. I love that the castle and gardens are in the town itself. I can never miss a visit to Barter Books either!

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  11. I love that tree and don't the nasturtiums go well with the apple tree too?

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    1. It works so well doesn't it? I've never been one for edible flowers but they really fill the space well.

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  12. What an amazing garden! Nasturtiums are a weed here, lol. I fight to keep them away from our garden.

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    1. We once sowed nasturtiums to fill a gap and were amazed at how quickly they grown and spread. They kept coming year after year as well. I haven't had them since!

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  13. Sounds and looks lovely. I've probably been there as a small child as we used to holiday up that way many many years ago!

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    1. It must be time for a trip back up there sometime then!

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  14. Nice photos. It looks really leafy (as you'd expect!) and the idea of a teaching garden is a great one. Normally gardens like that have a 'look but don't touch' policy.

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    1. There are lots of things for people to get involved with through the whole garden. In fact I'm surprised it looks so good!

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  15. We past by here when we visited Northumnerland a long time ago but didn't stop. It looks amazing

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    1. There is a great view of Alnwick Castle when you go on the back road on the coastal drive. I've stopped to take photographs there in the past.

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  16. I've only been to Alnwick in the winter so I didn't get to see a lot of this beautiful greenery! I'll have to make a point to go back now, one day. x

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    1. That's one time I've never been but I would be quite interested in seeing how different it is in winter.

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  17. What a lovely place to visit, i love the photos too.

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    1. Thank you! It really is a great day out.

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  18. I do love a kitchen garden and could happily spend hours pottering around one. The pumpkins leaves look huge, my absolute favourite.

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    1. I realy didn't have enough time to lokk around properly but it all looked in such good condition and so tidy.

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  19. This looks like a great place and I love seeing the photos. I'm being really pessimistic at the moment and feeling like Autumn in on its way so it's lovely to see photos that shout out Summer!

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    1. I know what you mean. My summer bedding plants are way past their best now, the rain has battered the hydrangeas and the leaves are turning too.

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  20. Looks like a beautiful place to visit - I can almost smell those herbs from here

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    1. There were just so many herbs. I loved they way they were planted.

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  21. It looks a fab place - I must try harder to visit up that way!

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    1. It's well worth making the journey. There's so much to see and do in the area.

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  22. Those crab apples are brilliant! Really inspiring place - and nice post.

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    1. I think it has lots of ideas for whatever type of gardener you are.

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