From Plot To Plate - National Trust Extols Virtues Of Gardening At Oxburgh Hall

By Katie Brinkley | 16 June 2008
a photo of a man tending well ordered garden

Photo Mike Selby. Courtesy NTPL

The National Trust’s ethos of ‘plot to plate’ - using their own gardens to supply their tea rooms - is being brought home at Oxburgh Hall this season as the property near Kings Lynn invites visitors to see the crops being grown in their Kitchen Garden.

Gardeners will find this a perfect time of year to visit Norfolk’s C15th, moated manor house with an impressive assembly of gardens and woodland trails. The stunning setting of the Oxburgh Hall grounds and woodland is ideal for walks all year round and like the Hall itself, the grounds offer a fascinating look back in time.

The Victorian French Parterre, transformed by the Bedingfield family in 1845 following inspirational trip to Versailles, is planted with 7,000 bedding plants each year.

a photo of a garden with pathways and walls

Photo Mike Selby. Courtesy NTPL

Gardening enthusiasts are invited to meet Graham Donachie, Head Gardener on Wednesday 18 June at 2pm for a guided tour of the fascinating gardens. This is a particularly busy time in the famous gardens and Graham is keen to show off the Kitchen Garden’s bumper crop of seasonal produce.

“Look out for courgettes, broad beans, lettuce, asparagus, aubergines, artichoke, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, chard, cucumber, onions, peas, potatoes, radish, spinach and turnips in your vegetable patches during June,” says Graham. “Fruit such as gooseberries, strawberries, redcurrants, cherries and apples will also be starting to make an appearance, as do herbs like rocket, samphire, sorrel and watercress.”

a photo of a man with ababy looking at vegetables

Teaching the virtues of gardening to the youngsters. © NT Fisheye Images

Gardener’s and Volunteers have toiled over the last twenty years to restore the Hall’s previously derelict Kitchen Garden. An extensive array of seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs is now grown each year. Last year saw an abundance of rewards for their hard work; including an inspiring 140 celeriac, 170 leeks, 70 lettuces, 110 peaches, 50lbs of plums and 20lbs of rhubarb. Much of the produce is put to delicious use by the Hall’s tea-room.

Oxburgh Hall is open from 11am -5pm (house opens at 1pm), Saturday – Wednesday. For more information see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oxburghhall

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Katie Brinkley is the 24 Hour Museum/Norwich HEART Student Writer in Norwich. Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) is the groundbreaking initiative to regenerate, manage and promote one of the most remarkable heritage resources in the UK and in Europe.

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