The Lewes and District Garden Society has been around for 41 years and they have been sharing their love of gardens and gardening with others. They started the society by raising money from the profit of a plant sale in St Michael’s Hall, Lewes High Street. They held four meetings in the first year and from the beginning the society decided it wanted to look at all aspects of gardening, including history, design and plant collecting.
From the start, the society was a success, attracting some of the finest gardeners in the country to speak at its meetings. The late Christopher Lloyd came along in its third year, and returned seven years later as guest speaker at its tenth anniversary meeting. Lewes Town Hall was the venue for its twenty-fifth birthday, with designer Penelope Hobhouse as the star speaker. In the past they competed in the window box and hanging basket competitions at Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows. Want to share your love for plants and create a garden which is worth talking about at the society contact Glorious Gardens.
The Lewes Priory has a herb garden which represents aspects of a typical mediaeval monastic herb garden. It originally had many gardens and orchards. However, they no longer know what they looked like or how they were laid out but detailed and scaled drawing from the 9th century shows an ideal layout from a monastery site at St Gallen in Switzerland.
In a typical physic garden, herbs used purely for medicinal and healing purposes would have been grown. Illustrated manuscripts, herbals and literary sources suggest that such a garden would have consisted of rectangular raised beds surrounded by paths. The layout of the physic garden at St Gallen was used as the basis for the layout of our garden. The soil in the beds would originally have been retained by walls of turf, wattle, bricks, stone or timber planking. In this garden they have attempted to imitate the building materials and there are examples of turf, flintwork and handmade bricks.
Although the layout for our herb garden is based on the plan of the physic garden at St Gallen, the garden does not restrict itself to herbs used for healing. They choose to include a variety of herbs that also demonstrate how they were used for cooking, dyeing, decoration, religious ritual as well as healing. In that sense, it is a ‘demonstration’ garden, rather than an attempt to recreate an exact replica of a medicinal garden.
There is an apple tree, representing the large area of the site given over to the production of fruit. A new Orchard of rare local apple varieties was planted in February 2013 further along the East wall, near the Battle of Lewes Monument.
The history behind the Lewes Priory shows how important gardening was and Glorious Gardens fully understand the importance of incorporating history into your own green spaces so contact us at https://www.gloriousgardenssussex.co.uk/ to bring out the past in your garden.