Jekka McVicar, known as’ the queen of herbs’, will be giving talks on the Spice of Herbs. She has won a record 62 RHS Gold medals for her herb displays at Chelsea Flower Show and created Jamie Oliver’s herb garden. More than 600 species of culinary, medicinal and aromatic herbs from around the world are grown at Jekka’s Herb Farm in Gloucestershire.
Richard Hobbs, a regular contributor to BBC Radio Norfolk’s Garden Party, will be giving tips on Autumn Gardening. Fungi expert, Neil Mahler will lead fungi forays in the park, advising on what to pick and cook and what to avoid.
The Bacon family and their gardening team will give tours of the walled kitchen garden – discover Raveningham’s vegetable gardening secrets, hear about the history of the garden and buy garden produce. More than 30 different vegetables are grown during the year, including old-fashioned varieties like salsify and scorzonera (both root vegetables). Pride of place in the orchard goes to the 200-year old Queen Charlotte apple tree. There is also a working Victorian melon pit, along with the herb garden created by Susan Bacon. Grapes, peaches, figs and plants are grown in the glasshouses.
Visitors will be welcome to explore the 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden at their leisure and enjoy contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens, as well as walk round the lake created to mark the Millennium. Raveningham’s 14th century church will be open.
Tea, cakes and apple pie made from Raveningham apple trees, along with jams and jellies made from the fruit’s of the estate’s hedgerows and local honey will be on sale. There will also be a hog roast.
Local nurseries and producers attending include Humpty Dumpty Brewery, Walnut Tree Garden Nursery, Blacksmith Cottage Nursery, Jelly Cottage Plants, English Willow Baskets, Fielding Cottage goat’s cheese, Norfolk Sloe Company, East Norfolk Trading Company (cider) and Breckland Orchard.
Nicholas Bacon said: “This is our first Taste of Autumn event at Raveningham Gardens. It is our wish that over the years this occasion will become a major educational and celebratory moment for the Autumn Garden.”
Raveningham Gardens NR14 6NS is signposted off A146 at Hales,
t. 01508 548152.
Photograph: the 200 year-old Queen Charlotte apple tree.