For those interested in walled gardens then this link is of interest
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
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
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.
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
That seems to be a factor neglected by many people.
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
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
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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.
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!
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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.
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