A notebook packed with unique garden history has been discovered in a filing cabinet in a gardener’s shed at the National Trust‘s Ickworth estate in Suffolk.

The notebook documents more than 200 varieties of local plum, gage, pear and apple trees, all planted at Ickworth from 1898 to 1930. Some of these varieties, which include Blickling, King of the Pippin, Lady Ludeley, Hoary Morning and Court of Wick, were previously unknown to Ickworth staff.

ickworth

Sean Reid, Ickworth’s head gardener, said: ‘This is a most fantastic find. When you’re working with historic gardens, you don’t have much to go on most of the time. You have to make the best guess you can.

‘We’ve wanted to reinstate some of the fruit trees here for a long time, and were in process of deciding what to do when my colleague Cath Mobbs made this incredible discovery. It means we can now be true to how Ickworth was created in all the future work we want to do.’

plum tree

Re-planting of Ickworth’s historic fruit wall will begin in autumn 2010, when research is complete, and may now include some of these rediscovered varities. Visitors will have a chance to sponsor a tree, planting it themselves and returning to prune it.

ickworth garden wall

Mr Reid is keen to find out more about the origins of the notebook and the previous gardeners for Ickworth’s Real Lives project. Please send any information to reallives@nationaltrust.org.uk

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