The Limes, Essendon

This property, once part of the estate belonging to Essendon Place, is adjacent to the large walled vegetable garden, the house being possibly the residence of the head gardener. There were cold frames and three vine houses and along the wall were two wide herbaceous borders leading to an orchard at the far end. The borders and the orchard were ploughed up to grow crops during the war. The greenhouses fell into disrepair and cold frames disappeared.

When we bought the house, there was little planting in the garden. It comprised two sections separated by a low wall. The part next to the road was mainly lawn with a wooded area at one end. Beyond the wall there was a grass tennis court, separated from the field beyond by a hawthorn hedge. The greenhouses, which were not included in the sale, were falling down though the vines still lived. We eventually acquired the field and vine houses. The latter were in such a dangerous state that two had to be demolished, but we rebuilt the third one where the five original vines still thrive. The other two vines grow under a pergola but those grapes don’t usually ripen unless there is an exceptionally hot summer.

In the field along the south facing wall of the walled garden (now a separate property), we planted fruit trees, plums and cherries, loganberries and blackberries, and climbing roses. In front of that we created a vegetable garden. Also, in the field we have planted a beech tree, plane tree, snakebark maple, Cornus Kousa and various other trees, and replaced the hawthorn hedge with a variety of shrubs. In the old part of the garden we added three borders with shrub roses and herbaceous plants. The main problem here, apart from the usual snails and slugs, are the voracious rabbits, deer and occasional badger.

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