Brilliant News from The Walled Nursery at Hawkhurst16th February 2017 • Stephanie's Blog • Stephanie Donaldson
I’m a regular and enthusiastic visitor to this lovely nursery and I have watched progress with interest since Emma and Monty Davies took it over seven years ago. Like many previously productive walled gardens, it had fallen into dereliction and its thirteen 19th century Foster & Pearson glasshouses were in varying states of collapse and decay.
The couple were determined to rescue them and they have worked hard to get the nursery on a firm footing to help fund the restoration work. Emma trained and worked at Great Dixter and Sissinghurst and is a skilled horticulturalist, growing plants that you can’t help buying (I speak from experience).
Gradually they have been bringing the glasshouses back into use, starting with the vast Vinery, which, alongside some venerable grapevines, now holds a shop full of unusual gardenalia and a café which is deservedly proving an attraction in its own right.
Now for the brilliant news – they have been given a gift of £200,000 to completely restore four of the glasshouses by the granddaughter of the head gardener, Ernest Hardcastle, who was in charge of the garden between 1914 and 1945. She was evacuated to the Tongswood Estate (as it was then) during the war and it was where she grew up.
Work is due to start in April, reusing all the original metalwork and replacing the rotten timbers with Accoya wood. Accoya is the new wonder-wood, made from acetylated, sustainably-grown, non-toxic softwood that has the strength and durability of hardwoods. The glasshouses will be a wonderful legacy of a generous and life-changing gift.
The Walled Nursery is not far from Great Dixter, Sissinghurst and Pashley Manor, so add it to the list if you are visiting any of these gardens.
PS Cultivar greenhouses also use Accoya for strength and durability and cost much less than £200,000.