Re Walled gardens

For those interested in walled gardens then this link is of interest
http://www.winsfordwalledgarden.freeserve.co.uk/Wall.htm
I would add that I was taught that a wall or hedge gave 1 and a half times it's height in protection from the wind so a 10ft wall gave 15ft of protection. Also most of the hot beds were planted near the wall, you would get a bed of around 3ft wide against the wall which had fruit tree trained against the wall and often other tender crops as these could be given added protection by placing covers from the path to the wall at an angle, similar to cold frames. Then the next bed from the path was often 7 - 8ft wide and built as a raised bed on the "French Garden" idea that is around 12 inch of soil on top of what would start as 2 - 3 ft or so of fresh stable manure which would heat up as it rotted, then as it started to cool then it would be planted with early crops that would benefit from the heat, and Frames with "English Lights" were laid over these beds.These were 5ft by 5ft and as heavy as hell(They were still in use when I was first in Horticulture in the early 60's, and I have seen some still in use in the local parks nursery). Beds further from the walls were used for normal growing.
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David Hill
Abacus nurseries
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Thanks for the reference, David. An interesting webpage.
I often plant my most tender Rhodos agains the walls I have, for the shelter they wil get there, but I think that airflow is just as important. If you plant a tender one in an air pocket even up against a fence it will get toasted by a cold spell.
That seems to be a factor neglected by many people.
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On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 15:42:23 +0000, David Hill wrote:

Chicago Botanic Gardens has several English walled gardens. Quite nice when in full bloom. Nice anytime of the year.
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Our house came with six foot high wooden fences, unpainted so nicely weathered & we never wanted to add any paint. We added arbored entryways to the two main enclosed yards, so we have one huge & one small completely enclosed garden. The other two sides of the property have picket fencing, but one of those sides is completely closed off by trees, so that the garden atop the cliff is walled in by trees, so a shade garden along the drop-off, but a sunny garden up nearer the house. We thought of putting a big bamboo fence along the front of the house which is the only open section, replacing the picket fence, but when our immediate neighbors Sue next door & Pammy across the street heard of the plan, they got their feelings hurt that we wouldn't want them to see into our gardens & talk to us.
It had never occurred to me neighbors would think walling in gardens was mostly to keep them away; to me it just adds more "upright" areas to garden against, another "dimension" like for more kinds of vining or espaliered flowers. So we told them if we ever did put up a big fence, it'll include huge round windows, so they can lean in & yell "Hi! Whatcha planting!" just like now, & airy bits that are more trellis than fence, & a big torii gate they can always come through any time they want. Of course we're much too poor for anything that fancy, so we just leave it a picket fence, & are instead slowly turning the further side of the sidewalk into a solid wall of mixed shrubs & small trees. The city has the right to do whatever they want with the green-margin & that's worrisome, but it's legal to turn it into a garden if we want to risk whatever will happen to the street-edge in the future. Though it's not yet a solid wall of shrubs, it's pretty darned nice, & now when people walk by, they are inside the garden without even trespassing.
Pammy's mom-in-law asked if we'd thought of taking down the picket fence & having ONLY the roadside sun-gardens & mixed hedge for a "wall"; she said the picket fence cuts the garden off prematurely & should be open. I'm considering it, but must secretly admit it's nice to have some barrier for all the kids & dogs. Little girls hover around us as we garden, & put on kung-fu shows for us on the road, & beg for flowers, & ask if they can go in our house & play with the rats. It's been an adjustment for me to "enjoy" their screaming invasions, as 25 years in the city, neighbor kids never demanded to play in my space before. Here, neighborhood kids are impervious to my curmudgeonly nature -- I worry if I took down the picket fence they'd be right up behind me begging for piggyback rides as I'm hunched over weeding. My sweety & partner is an adorable gentle-natured cutie who wears flowery hats to garden when its sunny & just generally earthmother-like; so I can see why kids want to be around her. But I try to project a Hecate scariness, with torn black t-shirts for bands like Neurosis, or Mexican skeletons on horseback. It's alarming it doesn't fool kids. Though it IS kind of cool to be likeably picaresque to the kids, neverteheless sometimes it wears me out being the kid's favorite weird aunty every minute I'm in the garden, & to keep from yelling "Get away from me you damned noisy dwarves!" I can instead quietly escape to the the enclosed back gardens & perfect solitude.
-paghat the ratgirl
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"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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One thought on "Why a wall round the garden?"
It was the Normans who brought Rabbits to Britain after the battle of Hastings .1066 and in those days and for a long time to follow they were kept in artificial warrens, and were looked after people who were known as Warreners (Hence the Surname) and were a food for the Lords and Ladies, but gradually they escaped into the wild and by the 17th century were a pest which got steadily worse. Well if you were growing nice succulent Veggies and choice flowers you didn't want them being grazed by these rabbits, no matter how good they were to eat, and with no wire netting or other rabbit proof fencing then a wall was the only way to keep your plants safe. Many estates had the facilities for brick making and plentiful cheep labour so a wall 10ft height, 2ft thick and a mile or more in length was no great problem. (In fact I have seen one wall on the boundary of an estate running along a road for over 4 miles.) This wall around the garden would also serve to keep out Deer as well. Also often these walls had alcoves built in to them that would house Bee hives, which in those days were often made of straw. thus giving you better pollination and a source of honey.
I don't know if you can get the CD of "A Victorian Kitchen Garden" in the US it was produced by BBC enterprises, and gives a good idea of a lot of Victorian gardening. Possibly Amazon.com.
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David Hill
Abacus nurseries
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what a lovely little garden-history post!
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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I didn't know this, thank you for posting it! When I went on a garden tour in England I was astounded by the number of rabbits I saw on one sloping field....there were literally dozens of them dotting the hill. Boy, I'd certainly hate to try to grow anything around there!!!
FWIW, Mike Gilmore posts to rec.gardens occasionally, he is the owner of the website you posted, http://www.winsfordwalledgarden.freeserve.co.uk/Wall.htm . Wonderful story he tells on those pages!
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Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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words:

Some brick walls were constructed around chimneys and flues which warmed the brick and gave extra protection to the outdoor fruit and vines grown against the wall. Little boys would have the all-night task of making sure the stove or fire didn't go out.
Janet.
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