While immaculately designed planting schemes of bulbs, shrubs, trees, bedding and herbaceous perennials may be traditionally associated with our great country house gardens, their other important role was to produce top quality fruit, vegetables and cut flowers for the property owners.
Here are three top gardens in Cheshire featuring walled or kitchen gardens, each offering lots of potential for photographers – as well as those with a taste for traditional fruit and veg varieties.
Tatton Park’s walled gardens were restored in 2004 with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. They now provide visitors with an insight into the scale of cultivation necessary to provide the residents and guests in Britain’s great houses, with fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.
There’s a lot to photograph here, including colourful and fragrant flowers grown for cutting – such as cosmos and sweet peas – as well as fruit trees, many varieties of vegetables, imaginatively designed scarecrows and historic garden buildings.
Quarry Bank Mill – Apprentice House Garden
Nearby, at Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, there is an Apprentice House – once home to up to 100 pauper children who worked at the Mill. A small kitchen garden surrounds the house – and here can be seen many of the vegetable and herb varieties that would have been grown to feed the young employees in the late 18th and 19th centuries.
If you’re lucky you can also photograph members of staff dressed in period costume, picking produce from the garden.
The early 18th century walled kitchen garden at Rode Hall, in south east Cheshire, covers two acres. Surrounded by a high, brick wall it is a haven of tranquillity and plants grow lushly in its fertile, organically cultivated soil. It’s at its most colourful after mid-June.
Flowers, traditional and exotic vegetables and fruit bushes are grown in the garden. Feature the Gardener’s Cottage in your photographs. Its red brick walls are covered in roses and surrounded by a vibrant display of annual and perennial blooms – ready to be cut and displayed in the adjacent stately home.