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The opportunity to learn about gardening
Inspiring you to grow flowers, fruit, vegetables and herbs. Even grow your own.
You don’t have to be a digger to volunteer.There are plenty of other possibilities – running community events, education in schools, baking a few cakes, serving at our markets, even helping to promote the garden
Experienced gardeners share their knowledge and expertise with other volunteers and youngsters from the local community. We can’t all be an Alan Titchmarsh but the thrill of growing stuff for our supper can be achieved by just about anyone. The garden is all about learning
The monthly markets are real social occasions
They run from May through until October.
We sell produce from the garden, along with locally produced honey, home-baked cakes and preserves
Visiting stalls regularly include a watercolour artist, hand-crafted gift cards and jewellery
While everyone including stallholders appreciate a sunny day there’s plenty of space under our marquees should the weather be less kind.
A great place for beginners
How about volunteering?
The flowerbed edged with low box to the right of the main path we call the Master's Border. It would have been enjoyed by the owner of the hall and his lady as they walked along the central path, probably discussing the latest plant introductions from far-flung corners of the world. Here you will see an interesting mix of flowers and foliage in the back of the border like the Mountain Laurel with its glossy elliptical leaves and tiny red-purple marked flowers, the Gum Rock Rose from the Mediterranean, the Strawberry Tree and two intriguing hollies – one yellow fruited, the other a 'silver hedgehog' variety.
Through the centre of the bed are perennials – the spikes of hollyhocks and delphiniums, the brilliant red of Lychnis (var. 'Jerusalem Cross'), Liatris spicata with its purple-pink flower spikes, and the perennial herb Dictanmus with its lemon scented leaves. Just behind the low hedge look for the sweet scented red and white Valerians, several varieties of Viola, the mauve of Sweet Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and cottage garden favourite, the Hoary Stock (Matthiola incana).
In the vegetable plot we try to grow example species from before 1850, although on the light soil and in drought conditions some of them may perform poorly. There is a well in the garden but it was covered over in the early 1960s for safety reasons when the area ceased to be used by the Parks Department as a plant nursery. As the garden is on a slope, the ground tends to drain relatively rapidly, which makes cultivation of the garden particularly difficult at the present time. However, in collaboration with the Parks Department, it is hoped that action may be taken to restore the water supply in the reasonably near future.
The vegetable plot is divided into four double beds, making it convenient to rotate the crops. Unusual potatoes include the Shetland Black with its dark purple skin, yellow flesh and dark purple ring inside; Edzell Blue, and Kerr's Pink. Among the root vegetables, look for white carrots (White Belgian) and Guernsey Half-long Parsnips (which are delicious after the first frost).
IClimbing beans are grown on poles erected as wigwams; perhaps the most unusual is the speckled red Birds Egg variety, plump and aromatic with a creamy texture. Hutterite beans grow low in bushy rows and remind us of Russian colonists who settled in America.
For several years we have grown Red Russian Kale and Jersey Kale. Both vegetables steam and stir fry well and last the winter. Historically, the Jersey Kale was grown in the Channel Isles to make walking sticks.
The west border is now edged with lavender, providing a large resource of food for the bees. While this large flower plot needs to have the plants divided and re-spaced, it contains a large collection of culinary herbs, including the Guardian Angel herb Angelica, backed with various rugosa roses and some magnificent hollyhocks. One of the star attractions is the Woad plant (Isatis tinctoria) with its attractive yellow flowers.
A line of bushes bearing cob nuts shade the north end of the garden. Star performer is the Cosford variety, whose bright yellow catkins herald the start of springtime. These bushes are also coppiced in late autumn or early spring to provide poles for the wigwams and stakes to support the fruit nets. Unfortunately, this bed has been invaded by the Three-cornered Leek, an invasive plant that was probably introduced inadvertenly and now needs to be removed. Consistent effort has been expended to achieve this, though it will take repeated action over manyt months to completely remove the thousands of tiny bulblets.
The narrow island bed edged with box contains our collection of medicinal herbs. Look out for the Wormwood (its Latin name Artemisia absinthium is a clue to its use in the production of Absinthe) but its rich oil is used against fungus and bacteria. We also grow Common Myrtle, with its fluffy fragrant white flowers, and Hemp Agrimony (its Latin name is Eupatorium cannabinum) with its cannabis shaped leaves, but there's nothing illegal here!
Wall fruit has been making a comeback since we cleared the walls of ivy. As well as shading the espaliers and damaging the walls themselves with its root penetration, ivy prevents rain reaching the roots of the fruiting espaliers - cherries, apples and pears. So this year, having retrained the trees on the west wall, we have had a much better crop of fruit. On the south-facing wall young peach and nectarine plants.
The quarter plot in Allesley Park Walled Garden has been modelled to the Georgian period with flowers and vegetables mixed, making it eminently suitable to manage on organic principles. The result is something like the scene that would have greeted you at the end of the 18th century.
Welcome to the Walled Garden at Allesley Park, constructed during the reign of George III. It has been partly re-created by a group of volunteers producing chemical-free food for its monthly markets and also serves as an educational resource for local schools and the community. Not least, our team of regular gardeners enjoy working within the enclosed environment of its historic walls.
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Television gardener to speak on January 12 at St Christopher’s Church Hall, Winsford Ave, Allesley Park, Coventry.
Tickets are £5 and the evening starts at 7.30.
For tickets please call 024 7640 2030 or call in at the garden on any Saturday between 10-12 noon.
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