From Planting to Plate: Growing in our Kitchen Garden
At the entrance to Painshill, close to the Visitor Centre, is a feature that is often overlooked. Two large walled gardens were part of the original 18th century estate and vital to Charles Hamilton’s operations. They were built in 1756 to grow fruit and vegetables for his estate and its workers. He also used them to start growing new exotic plants that he received from America in seed boxes, before planting them out in his landscape. The warmth of the walls creates an environment that was described at the time as “some of the most productive in Surrey with extensive ranges of Hot Houses, Grapery and Peach Houses”. Pits for growing pineapples, a rarity in 18th century Britain, were discovered when the Painshill Park Trust undertook archaeology work.
Today the Kitchen Garden is once again thriving due to the charity’s gardening team and our landscape volunteers. It produces a huge variety of fruit and vegetables. Each week from spring to autumn they harvest whatever is in season, from the first salad leaves to October pumpkins.
Much of the produce heads to Mr Hamilton’s Tea Room, where our amazing catering staff get creative. Daily specials with ingredients from the Kitchen Garden can be purchased on your visit and there are often sweet and savoury options. The fresh and tasty ingredients could not be more seasonal or more local!
In our latest initiative to reduce waste, surplus fruit and vegetables will now be available in the Gift Shop. They can be taken away for a donation of your choice to Painshill Park Trust and the ongoing upkeep and restoration of the landscape.
We hope you will stop by the Kitchen Garden on our next visit and see it for yourself!