Living just 5 minutes from The Walled Nursery, it often baffles me why I don’t visit as often as I could… and should. This place is one of those rare gems in Kent that I regularly drive past and rarely have time to stop off at.
So, this morning, just as the sun decided to put in an appearance, I decided to take the husband, our ‘wild one’ and set off in time to catch their ‘behind the scenes’ tour, learning about the history of The Walled Nursery, as well as find out more about the exciting plans they have ahead of them.
As soon as you arrive and walk into the unassuming building, instantly, the pace slows down and you feel at ease. Surrounded by what can only be described as a special kind of magic that very few places have about them. I can only describe the feeling, as the same spark I felt way back in 2009, when I walked around The Walled Garden at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, in and amongst the glasshouse, gardens and potting shed… it’s as if you are stepping back to a simpler time, and it doesn’t matter how often you visit The Walled Nursery in Hawkhurst, the feeling is always the same.
The Victorian glasshouses at The Walled Nursery are absolutely beautiful. The friendly staff are never intrusive, but they are always on hand to answer any questions you may have, either about the plants they have on sale, or the buildings. Steeped in history, on this particular visit, I learnt so much I had never known during the light, informative talk we were given in ‘The Hut’ overlooking the nursery and glasshouses. We are told how and when the gardens were created, who the owners have been over the years, the tragedies, as well as those happy souls who walked, played and grew up, in and around the gardens. So much local history, I had absolutely no knowledge of.
The plans to rebuild and restore the glasshouses to their former glory over the course of this year was the reason for this particular visit. Never ones to miss out on learning about local history, but also finding out about the truly inspiring story of The Walled Nursery‘s ‘Fairy Godmother’, who made such an incredible donation which enabled the current owners to set about this fabulous project, it made the whole morning something that left us with such good feeling for the remainder of the day.
In a time when people are so quick to tell you of the hardships they are facing; the difficulty getting anything done, as well as hold ups with ‘formalities’ and ‘financials’… which we ourselves are guilty of, our visit and the tour was such lovely way to spend a morning. Just listening to the owner tell us about this year’s plans for The Walled Nursery and to see such incredible work in progress using local trades. Two glasshouses are currently being worked on, with lots of work in progress to see, if you decide to visit, do try and arrive in time for a ‘talk and tour’.
This Summer, if you are looking to visit somewhere that is not only beautiful, but somewhere that you can visit, learn and feel inspired by, then The Walled Nursery is the place. With the building work and restoration of glasshouses underway, it is a wonderful time to visit.
A temping shop as well as the incredible nursery itself with plants for sale, there is also the fabulous Vinery ‘café’ (more than just a ‘caf’ in my opinion!) serving THE most incredible food, in a beautiful setting…
I am almost loathe to share The Walled Nursery for fear of it losing the ‘untouched’ charm… but there are places and people who should be visited, and this is one such place. Whether you live locally, or you live miles away, this is most definitely a place you won’t forget, and today was just a reminder, that when I am driving past, I should absolutely “make time” to stop… every time.
The Walled Nursery is child friendly, however leave any dogs at home, as there are some lovely cats who live there who would be rather miffed at some canine arrivals!