THE KITCHEN GARDEN AT WALMER CASTLE
It's appearance on a plan of Walmer Castle dated 1725 makes 'The Governor's Garden' the earliest documented garden at the castle. Today, the kitchen garden provides a beguiling display throughout the season, as well as fruit, vegetables and cut flowers for the castle and tea room.
Walmer's Kitchen garden showcases trained fruit trees, rich vegetable plots and flowers for cutting. Growing vegetables on a three-year rotation, with a new design each year, means there is always something new to admire, whether among the borders, hanging in the trees, or on display at the glasshouse. Unusual vegetables and plant combinations offer unique ornamental value, with the added benefit of a fresh and regularly changing seasonal menu for the castle tea room.
Within the four box-edged beds a wide range of unusual ornamental fruit and vegetables are grown, overhung with traditional Kentish varieties of apples and pears grown in espaliered tiers. With three out of four beds dedicated to vegetables, complimentary planting creates flashes of colour amid the greens, and edible flowers increase the diversity and ornamental value of the beds.
The Kitchen Garden is at its best in spring when the blossom on the cherry, apple and pear trees is in full bloom, resembling snow banked on the naked branches. By late summer, the whole area is bursting with ripening produce.
The long range of glasshouses were first constructed in 1898, comprising a vinery, tomato house and small fernery. Enlarged and improved during the 1930s, a second glasshouse was then added during the Marquess of Willingdon's tenure between 1936 and 1941. Today, the glasshouse grows a wide variety of plants with distinctive leaves, forms and fragrances such as scented pelargoniums and succulent aeoniums.
The contemporary display at the glasshouse adopts something of a Victorian stove-house effect. An abundance of exotic plants offer dazzling colours and rich scents, and the many exotic leaf shapes catch the eye. Particularly striking is the majestic bird of paradise flower (Strelitzia reginae), and the magnificent Epiphyllum oxypetalum, or queen of the night. This bloom is a favourite of Lord Warden the Lord Boyce, from whom the specimen on display at the glasshouse was generously donated.
As part of the £2.3m project currently underway at the castle, aiming to revive parts of Walmer's historic pleasure grounds, major improvements are planned to the Castle's visitor facilities. Among the planned developments is a new glasshouse cafe, allowing visitors somewhere to sit and enjoy the Kitchen Garden whatever the season.
Walmer Castle Tea Room
Strolling the gardens at Walmer can help you work up quite an appetite. Luckily, the castle tea room offers hot lunches, sandwiches, snacks and home made cakes to refuel and get you ready for more exploring.
Benefitting from the produce of the kitchen garden, our caterers freshly prepare seasonal dishes to liven up our menu, and ensure we always have something new and exciting for you to try. Growing our own produce provides the added benefits of fresher ingredients and a positive environmental impact through reduced food miles.
Sunday lunch is a popular feature at the castle tea room, and a variety of roasts, including vegetarian options, are available to enjoy on select weekends. Visit our Facebook page for updates on what's in season and on this weekend's menu.
Explore Walmer's Gardens
Seasonal Garden Highlights
From spring sowing to autumn pumpkins, discover the best of Walmer's growing season.
QUEEN MOTHER'S GARDEN
Enjoy the Queen Mother's Garden, gifted to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother for her 95th birthday.
See one of the glories of Walmer; the magnificent Broadwalk.
Re-Discovering Walmer's Pleasure Grounds
Find out more about the £2.3m project to revive and reunite parts of Walmer's historic gardens.