Forum 2016

Dear Friends
The Forum for 2016, as many of you will already know, will be taking place at Dumfries House in Ayrshire with visits to Walled Gardens of Galloway.
It will be a weekend event to be held on the 8th and 9th October. The theme for this year is: Community Gardens and Gardening
In 2007, HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, put together a proposal for Dumfries House and the wider estate to rescue, restore and ‘create a sustainable business that would help to regenerate the local economy in East Ayrshire’ (Dumfries House 2016). Fantastic restoration work on the house was followed by the gardens and estate and in 2014 the fully restored Walled Kitchen Gardens including 2 new glasshouses, were opened by HM the Queen.
At 5 acres, it is thought to be the largest walled kitchen garden in Scotland.

The gardens we will be visiting on Sunday 9th will include Cally Walled Garden, with its renowned nursery and Threave, owned by the National Trust for Scotland, a working walled kitchen garden used for horticultural training. Other gardens are in the planning and information about these will follow in due course.

There will be a range of speakers from gardens open to the public, including Brian Corr, Head of Gardens at Dumfries House, Kate Rycroft from Amisfield Walled Garden, East Lothian and Roz Corbett from City Farms and Community Gardens, Scotland, who will be discussing their experiences, ideas and solutions. Other speakers will be announced soon.

Brian and his staff will take us on tours of the gardens during the afternoon of Saturday 8th.

Friday 7th October – Although not officially part of the Forum, we are considering meeting at Culzean Castle Walled Garden, Ayrshire. If enough people are interested we will get a group together to visit this 18thC garden.

We have been really lucky to be able to arrange for accommodation at The Lodge, Dumfries House for Saturday 8th (they are fully booked before that date) for Forum attendees.
There are 22 rooms on offer and these will go on a first come first served basis. They must be booked through the office – not online. If you are interested, please let me know preferably with your booking, I will send you details of who you need to contact. Single £85, Double £100

We are organising dinner on Saturday night (8th) at Dumfries House, more details will follow, including cost per head, please can you let us know if you would be interested.

Excellent accommodation can be found in Ayr – Theo and Julian Stanning have suggested that Visit Scotland is the best place to look. If we visit Culzean on Friday 7th, many of us will be in Ayr before the Forum anyway.
There is some distance between Dumfries House and the gardens in Galloway so do consider this when you are looking at accommodation.

As ever you can contact us with any questions, we will send more information as the plans are confirmed, but if you know you are coming please let us know as soon as you can – we anticipate that it will be a busy Forum – not least as it’s only the second WKGN Forum to be held in Scotland.
The booking form is attached so please print and feel free to pass copies on to others who might be interested, the leaflet to down load will also be put on the Grapevine and website soon.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Lucy, Susan, Mike

Booking form – Dumfries House 2016

New Website

The new WKGN website is up and running at http://www.walledgardens.net
We now need to transfer the ‘Subscribe’ and ‘Links’ sidebars to the new grapevine site.
Once that is complete everything should be hunky dory!
There is still some input needed on the Garden Finder and Events pages and this will continue. If you perhaps have attended past Forums or other events and happen to have photographs you wouldn’t mind sharing, I would love to see them in order to rebuild our online archive.

FORUM 2016

This year we’ll take the High Road to Dumfries House in Scotland so please make a note of the date. . . October the 8th and 9th.

The Theme is Community Gardening

The registration form will be available soon so keep an eye on The Grapevine for more details!

Susan, Mike, Lucy, Julian and Theo.

Gardening Volunteer at Tatton Park Walled Kitchen Garden, Knutsford, Cheshire

The first Tuesday of January saw the Tuesday Team walking from the Mansion to Knutsford for a coffee, and then back to the Mansion’s Stables Restaurant for lunch. The weather was cold and the odd shower greeted us on our first working day. Most of the Team were busy cutting and burning brash on the east side of the Italian Garden. The rest were in the Orchard continuing the light remedial winter pruning of the freestanding fruit trees in the Orchard Lawn. At lunchtime the gardener-in-charge of the Kitchen Garden joined the Team so that future plans and ideas for the coming growing and cropping year could be discussed.
A cold but dry day found the ‘brash-bashing’ Team clearing the White Walk. In the Orchard Lawn 26 freestanding pear trees (in three rows of 8, 9 & 9) have now been given a pruning once-over. The 63 freestanding apple trees are next to be done.
The Green Glasshouse (formerly known as the Tomato House in a previous life, although it didn’t grow tomatoes when transplanted to Tatton, being mainly used for raising bedding and vegetable plants) has had its timeworn staging removed. The gravel floor is to be renovated and the walls painted white before the new tanalised staging is installed, hopefully in good time for the start of the seed-sowing season. In the meantime, the space is being used for the forcing of spring bulbs. Adjacent to the back wall of the Victorian Fernery shelving is being constructed for the storage of pots. The Fernery is in the top ten of such in the UK, competing against those in botanic gardens, and in the top three in England.
The buzzards are circling and mewing on high thermals above a sunny Orchard Lawn. All of the Tuesday Team are pruning the apple trees and three gardeners are reducing the height of some of the apple trees, all glad of the sunshine because the temperature is low when the wind blows.
Cuttings are being taken of the red, white and black currant bushes, which are at least 17 years old and in need of replacement. These, together with the summer and autumn raspberries of a similar age will be dug out and the area grassed down temporarily to recover.
Whilst the Green Glasshouse is mostly empty the gardeners are busy constructing scarecrows for the Scarecrow Festival, which takes place at half term.
Another sunny but very cold typical ‘nose-drippy’ February day. This did not deter the Tuesday Team, nor it seems excited families swarming all over the gardens in search of the Scarecrows which this year are representing characters from Roald Dahl’s imagination, this being his centenary. The Team was glad of some warming work and set to with a will digging up the first rows of worn out autumn raspberries. Two of us continued to ‘fine tune’ the espaliered pears round the Orchard Lawn.
Another gloriously sunny day, the sort that makes one’s heart sing. The gardeners are in the formal gardens clearing the last of the winter debris; the Team are now digging out the old summer raspberries. The two areas where the raspberries were will be grassed over and later in the year will host a Giant Peach, continuing the Roald Dahl theme. The scarecrows are heading back to the Barn after their half term outing.
The apple espaliers and cordons were also fine-tuned. No more pruning will be done in the Orchard until mid summer. The fan-trained cherries and plums against the walls will be pruned later in the year by the gardeners, as this involves ladder-work.

The Lady Ryder Memorial Garden on the Bucks /Oxon border has two Mackenzie and Moncur vinehouses each measuring 20ft across by 14ft deep divided by a glass wall. They were built about 1900. Sadly we cannot afford the vast cost of restoring them as the wood and remaining glass is beyond repair. However the iron work and winding gear for the roof lights and front panes are complete and in working order and we are aiming to raise funds towards the restoration of the Garden as a whole by selling this ironwork. We also have a few pieces including winding handles from another long gone apricot and peach house.

Viewing can readily be arranged and if interested please contact via email to rendels@btinternet.co

The world famous Chelsea Physic Garden is looking for a Gardener/Volunteer manager.

Click on this link for a job description;

Chelsea Physic Garden Gardener-Volunteer manager

And on this link to download the application form;

a.APPLICATION FORM – Gardener-Volunteer Manager (1)

Good luck, (I wish I was younger!!!)





 Head Gardener

Threave Garden & Estate

£26,438 rising to £27,830 after a successful years’s service

Permanent / full-time


The lands of present day Threave Estate were purchased in 1867 by William Gordon, a Liverpool Businessman and the Scottish Baronial style House was built in 1872 by Gordon as a family home. The parkland landscape around the house was laid out during the 1880s and the wider Estate was managed for agriculture, forestry and shooting. Shooting parties were an integral part of life at Threave for three generations of the Gordon family, as can be seen from the Game Books held at Threave House.


The property was offered to the National Trust for Scotland in 1948 primarily to create a wildfowl refuge within the working farm landscape; the estate was managed jointly by Major Alan Gordon and the Trust until his death in 1957.


The Head Gardener job exists in order to ensure that the garden and related policies of Threave Garden & Estate are managed and maintained as an internationally-recognised garden of outstanding historical and horticultural importance; contributing to the property’s overall conservation and development, and its enjoyment by visitors and supporters. In this post, you will be actively involved in the conservation management of the garden as a visitor destination and as the Trust’s primary horticultural teaching garden in line with agreed training plans for the School of Heritage Gardening.

To be successful in this post, you will have an HND/HNC level qualification in amenity horticulture or related subjects (equivalent to NVQ/SVQ level 3), combined with comprehensive experience in general amenity horticulture. Your specific skills will include sound plant knowledge, propagation and pest & disease management. You will also possess skills in arboricultural techniques. In addition, you will have excellent interpersonal skills, team management experience and demonstrable experience of budget management.


For full job details and information about how to apply, go to http://www.nts.org.uk/charity and click on the “workforus” tab. Closing date for all applications is 14 March 2016. Interviews are likely to take place at Threave in late March 2016. Visit us at www.nts.org.uk


The National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is a charity registered in Scotland, Charity Number SC 007410.