Community Gardener Appointed For Chiswick House's Walled Gardens

Karen Roberts will help community to learn more about growing food for themselves

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Chiswick House Trust

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Following the launch of the newly restored Chiswick House Gardens in June 2010, community activities are continuing afresh in the historic Walled Gardens. With funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme, the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust have appointed Community Gardener, Karen Roberts to offer local people, community groups and schools the opportunity to learn more about growing food for themselves.

Part of the experience will be to restore the Walled Gardens to their former horticultural glory whilst learning about growing fruit and vegetables from around the world. As part of the restoration project the garden walls were restored, the historic path network reintroduced and over 240 historic fruit trees, including apples, pears, medlars, quinces and mulberry were planted by volunteers.

The majority of these historic Walled Gardens had been completely overgrown and inaccessible, their high horticultural days lost from memory. Today they offer a spectacular canvas for creating a beautiful garden through learning activities open to all.

Karen whose background includes working as a Therapeutic Garden Worker in Sydenham Garden – a community garden in south east London, is keen to offer gardening experience to people of all backgrounds and abilities. She also recently set up a project with Groundwork to assist elderly and disabled people to garden their own gardens, another area which to be developed at Chiswick House.

Continuing the tradition of the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden Association, who were responsible for starting schools gardening education in the gardens, Chiswick House and Gardens Trust has been piloting new school sessions with local primary schools in the restored gardens with the help of our Education Volunteers. Bookings are already being taken for Autumn Term sessions.

Sarah Finch-Crisp, Director of Chiswick House and Gardens Trust said, “We are immensely pleased that Karen Roberts has joined the Trust team. There was considerable interest in this post and Karen brought just the right experience and skills to develop strong worthwhile community programmes. We are very grateful for the Local Food Scheme funding which is supporting Karen’s role and allowing many local people the chance to learn and enjoy gardening at Chiswick House and to create a beautiful garden in the process”.

Karen Roberts said “ Many people have already signed up to get involved in the Walled Gardens and we are now in the happy position of being able to respond to this level of interest. I am delighted to be working within these historic gardens. One of my priorities is to offer gardening opportunities to people who might not normally garden because of their lack of knowledge or experience or perhaps because they have been unwell or would like a chance to get out of the house as a first step towards enjoying a more social life. Gardening can really benefit people’s sense of wellbeing and offer gentle exercise outdoors in a safe and friendly environment.”

Mark Wheddon, Local Food Programme Manager said “ Local Food is all about encouraging local communities coming together to create growing spaces, grow nutritious food, build relationships with neighbours, and develop healthy lifestyles. The Chiswick House Kitchen Garden project is a great example of this and is something that Local Food is pleased to support as we are sure it will make a difference to this community.”

There are currently opportunities for volunteers to learn about kitchen gardening and also to assist and teach less able gardeners and school children. To become involved in the project please contact Karen Roberts on or telephone 020 994 3858.

August 3, 2010