The productive part of the estate was an essential part of life at Standen. It produced food for the dinner tables here at Standen and the Beale’s Holland Park house and later the country houses of the next generation. The Kitchen Garden today is only a fraction of its original size, which would have stretched all the way to the wall beyond the car park, and down to the edge of the Secret Garden (about 3 acres in total). Beyond the wall were further green houses and propagating areas. In the 1970’s part of it was turned into a car park and this section became a rose garden (replacing the one in the bamboo garden).
When the roses became diseased and were taken out, it was decided to reinstate the Kitchen Garden temporarily until the roses could be replanted. A conservation management plan was researched and written back in 2006 and since then with further research and the realisation of just how important the gardens at Standen were in the late 19th and early 20th centuries we now have long term objectives of restoring the Kitchen Garden close to its original size. To realise its full potential is a big task and involves relocating the car park and finding back stage areas elsewhere. In the meantime we will continue with our current expansion programme.
The four apple espaliers in the Kitchen Garden were planted at the time that the house was being built in the early 1890’s. Originally rows of espalier apple trees extended along the full length of the path, and these were replanted as part of the restoration project with a particular emphasis on local varieties. Throughout Autumn and Winter 2013 we removed trees and created more growing space in what was the Tenants Garden, introducing new beds for perennial and annual crops. These new beds will be planted with beetroot and root veg, pumpkins, currant bushes, rhubarb and asparagus – firm favourites for use in recipes for the Barn Café. Stepover apples were planted as a border around the perennial beds. This area opened to visitors on 8th March 2014.
During 2016 we took over the greenhouse and old nursery area and created a series of raised beds where we are growing cut flowers for the house – just in the way that Mrs Beale would have done.