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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > 259 - April 2019 > IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR


This month we feature the third-place winner in our competition to find KG’s most passionate plotter. Kay McHugh from Uxbridge has a walled vegetable garden, steeped in history, that now feeds three generations of her family


Kay and Patrick McHugh purchased Church Gardens in 1995 after constantly working on the derelict property for two-and-a-half years and moved in with their three-year-old daughter and four-week-old twin daughters in 1998. The walled gardens were once part of the Harefield Place estate and are probably among the oldest surviving walled gardens in England, dating from the late 16th and early 17th century. There are three walled areas, the kitchen garden (featured below) and a smaller courtyard behind the main house and a much larger area comprising a nuttery/orchard. The larger walled garden is one of the few surviving Renaissance pleasure gardens in the country and includes a unique arcaded wall. This is believed to have been constructed sometime between 1601 and 1636 for Sir Thomas Egerton and his wife, the Countess of Derby – the residents of Harefield Place at that time. The function of the arcade niches has been a matter of great debate. Locally it was believed to be a ‘bee’ wall (unlikely due to the size of the alcoves) or the alcoves could have been used to protect delicate fruits, like an early orangery or to display life-sized statues. The most interesting possibility is that it was constructed as a backdrop for a performance of a masque called Arcades, written by the poet Milton with music by Henry Lawes, which was written for the 70-year-old Countess of Derby as an entertainment to celebrate her life.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

Welcome to Kitchen Garden Magazine In this issue: A Joy of Summer Veg expert Rob Smith has some top tips for success with courgettes every time Brilliant Brassicas! Former head gardener Sue Stickland explores our changing attitudes to brassicas and the many exciting new varieties available Flights of Fancy Gardener and nature enthusiast Ben Vanheems encourages us all to make room for butterflies on our plots And much more!