The last year or so I’ve been visiting Ashbocking Hall in Suffolk, collecting produce from the walled garden and orchard. The whole site is being gradually restored, having recently changed hands in the family. The house is a large pink farmhouse, sitting very slightly behind the village Church and surrounded by fields and meadows.
Roses and clematis are gradually being introduced along the drive leading to the property; roses also climb along rope supports in the orchard. The orchard trees are set against the backdrop of the garden ’moat’, with large willow trees overhead providing a magical soundscape for the picking of late Summer fruits.
The official rose garden has been cleared and the overgrown plants cropped to encourage growth. There are some rose varieties here they’ve been unable to find again so fingers crossed they’ll come back in full health!
The walled garden already hosts an impressive fig tree, spread out along the back wall. Re-tamed, it has been producing long necked figs all summer. The kitchen garden is also home to a spread of raspberry bushes; garlics, onions and various squash species. In the greenhouse, pelargoniums and aubergines spill over pots. A huge black shed, making up one side of the garden, has walls lined with old tools, rakes and spades hung up, tables of pots and boxes, now being used once more.
It’s lovely to see this renewed attention being given to the house, feel the energy seeping back into spaces around the gardens. Much of the produce I picked last year has been stored at my studio, preserved by the first stages of the casting process. As Spring arrives, I’m looking forward to rediscovering the harvest, finally casting and finishing these pieces in sync with seasons in the garden.