Thousands flock to Kitchen Garden Open Day

Event at Chiswick House Grounds a massive success

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To find out more about the Kitchen Garden, to donate plants or equipment - or to get involved, contact or phone Karen Liebreich on 020 8400 9648.

To contribute to the children’s playground, contact Amy Barclay on

What's On And Where In Chiswick


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Thousands of people flocked to Chiswick House Grounds last Sunday for a Toddlers' Funday and the Open Day of the Kitchen Garden.

Local Chiswick parents had organised the Funday to launch fundraising for a wooden playground for under-fives that will reflect elements of Chiswick House. Entertainers such as Amanda's Action Kids, Amber's Fit Kids, Debutots and clowns from Boo Productions gave their time free to entertain young children on one of the sunniest days this May. Numerous faces, young and old, were painted by a team from Virgin Vie and Happy Times nursery. A local businessman has already donated 10% of the £22,000 needed and the Funday will have raised several thousand more.

Meanwhile, behind the Camellia House, an estimated 2,500 people flooded in for the first ever chance to see Chiswick House’s Kitchen Gardens. These date back to the seventeenth century, and were used as Hounslow Council’s nursery until the mid-1980s. Since then part of the area has been used to store bedding plants, while the rest gradually became overgrown. In January, however, local schoolchildren, under the guidance of volunteers from the Chiswick Horticultural Society, began clearing and planting vegetables, and this was their first chance to show friends and parents what they had been doing.

Locals and many visitors from further afield admired the fine crop of multi-coloured lettuces, the emerging potatoes, beans, onions, fennel, herbs and other tasty produce. One visitor was amazed to discover that peas do not grow underground; another was stunned to see that carrots did. Others were impressed that a small border of gravel had kept the slugs away from the salads. Visitors seized the forks and spades that had been temptingly placed by a nasty patch of brambles and nettles and began to clear a new bed that will be used for pumpkins, sweet corn and tomatoes in a few weeks.

The children who helped with the planting, hoeing and tending of the plants are about to eat their first organic home grown salads. This week William Hogarth School, Cavendish and Grove Park School will be tucking into salads they grew themselves (one school planted seed, one planted out, one weeded and watered, etc). Any surplus will be firstly given to those who have helped with the project and any remainders will be sold at the cafe in Chiswick House Grounds.

Beyond the vegetable beds, visitors entered an enchanted forest where volunteers had cleared a path with machetes only weeks earlier, to reveal a surviving mulberry tree and the overgrown jungle that was once - and may be again, if the children keep working at the same pace - a flourishing fruit orchard.

May 26, 2005

September 28, 2010