Our new herb garden, in a section of the Walled Garden here at Chawton House Library, was officially opened by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq., on the 14th of July. It is a tribute to Elizabeth Blackwell, a pioneering mid eighteenth-century herbalist whose 2-volume Curious Herbal is held in our library collection. We are grateful for the support of the following trusts, individuals and companies in making the creation of the garden possible:
The Stanley Smith Trust
Fiona Sunley of Godmersham Park, Kent
Pepperpot Herbs, Chawton
Kirton Farm Nurseries, Sparsholt
The herb garden was designed by our Garden Manager, Andrew Bentley, who writes:
I wanted to unite the gardens with the Library collection in a meaningful manner. Elizabeth Blackwell’s Curious Herbal intrigued me, and proved to be an excellent way of drawing on my own experience with the design and care of herb gardens at Houghton Lodge Gardens, and the Petersfield Physic Garden.
I designed the garden with four areas that are planted for the relationship the plants share in treating specific areas of the body, as described by Blackwell herself. The beds in each section focus on four main areas: Head, Chest, Skin and Digestion. I included circular paths to demonstrate the interconnectedness of the overall principle, create a natural flow and offer a more relaxed experience to visitors.
I sourced the plants and soft landscaped the garden to ensure that the healthiest plants were installed correctly and to plan. The majority were sourced locally – within a 25 mile radius – although some involved a trip to the National Herb Centre in Warwickshire.
With its circular seat, wide range of interesting plants, and important link to the library collection, this garden offers a wonderful place to spend time. If you would like to find out more, do visit the library to see our first edition of the book that inspired its creation.
I hope you enjoy experiencing this garden for yourself!