Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Closure of the Kitchen Garden during 2009

The Kitchen Garden at Chiswick House will be closed from January 2009 for a year, during building works. A new central and perimeter path will be laid, the walls will be re-pointed and wired for fruit trees, and all the trees apart from one oak and the mulberry will be cleared from the walled gardens. Restoring the Kitchen Garden as a garden is part of the reason that we exist, so we are very pleased that the paths and walls are to be fixed and the area is to be laid out as a garden (southern) and an orchard (northern).

We have been in discussion with the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust over access during this necessarily disruptive work. The Trust has confirmed to us that for safety reasons they will not permit access by children starting in January 2009. They have also confirmed that adult drop-in sessions will not be permitted from January but that they will review in June whether those sessions can be restarted.

To be clear, then,the following activities will be suspended at Chiswick House Kitchen Garden:

- Thursday morning School Sessions
- Weekly Duke of Edinburgh Award Sessions
- Weekly After School Gardening Club
- Weekly Tuesday Drop-In Sessions
- Monthly Sunday Drop-In Sessions
- Open Days

We will be allowed managed access so that we can maintain the garden while works proceed.

Beyond 2009
If works proceed to schedule, we are hopeful that by January 2010, at the latest, there will be full access once again. We are looking forward to having the opportunity to create an even more beautiful and peaceful garden in this space.

In Summary
These are uncertain times for us and the road ahead is not clear. On the positive side, we have achieved what we set out to, which is that the Kitchen Garden is being restored as a garden, and we have much to celebrate in that alone.