GARDENING AT BELL HOUSE

Bell House is surrounded by beautiful gardens - the front garden, the walled garden and the ornamental garden. We aim to promote gardening as a positive activity for physical and mental well-being, and as such we welcome volunteers into the garden for our weekly gardening sessions. Our gardening volunteers meet on Saturday mornings, from 9:30 - 11:00, and there is now a new group starting on Wednesday mornings, focusing on developing the walled vegetable garden (see below). The volunteers are a friendly group, and are all willing to learn from one another, often over a break of a croissant and coffee. Do come along and join in - everyone is welcome, from complete novices to gardening experts. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

See below for news and information about the Bell House gardens.

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Creating a Kitchen Garden

We are starting a weekly Wednesday volunteer gardening group from Wednesday 19th September, running from 9:00 am until 12 noon, including a break for coffee and croissants.  Volunteers are welcome to participate and join the session when they can.

The Wednesday group will concentrate on developing the walled garden at Bell House.  The aim is to grow vegetables and fruit, and flowers for the house and to feed the Bell House bees.  This season the group will mark out, clear and prepare beds, start winter crops, plant spring bulbs, plan and prepare the garden for next year.

Beginners and experienced adult gardeners all welcome.  Please wear sensible boots or shoes with covered toes. 

We are looking forward to meeting you!

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The Bell House Medlar Tree

In the garden at Bell House is a magnificent old medlar tree, lending its shade to the gate leading to the walled garden. It’s certainly an ancient tree and may even have been planted by the Wrights, who built Bell House in 1767. Its gnarled branches extend out from the shelter of the garden wall and the trunk leans precariously, requiring a sturdy pole to prop it up.

By rights our medlar tree should be in the kitchen garden, from where it is planted, as its fruit is edible. Medlars need bletting (maturing and softening) before they can be eaten or cooked but once bletted, it has a flavour that’s been likened to both an apple-pear and a super-charged date and can be eaten raw or preserved. The Elizabethans valued its sweetness as a winter food in the days before the arrival of sugar and medlar jelly was popular with the Victorians and Edwardians as a Christmas conserve.