The seventeenth century walled garden at Chiswick House was under threat from around 2007. A lovely 2-acre brick-walled enclosure, originally built by Samuel Fox in the 1680s, was to be turned into a car park and retail outlet.
After some colossal battles between the local residents, led by Karen, on one hand and Hounslow council and English Heritage on the other, the garden was saved as a functioning walled vegetable and fruit garden, and the Chiswick House Kitchen Garden Association provided a large 4-year grant to ensure the sustainability of the area.
Karen ran this project from 2005-2009, involving nearly all children in the local schools and many members of the community who gave time and money to show the authorities what the garden could and should be.
The farewell gesture by the group was to plant over 200 heritage fruit trees, making up the largest new orchard in London. Apples, pears, plums, figs, mulberries, peaches and soft fruit provide a real cornucopia for the future. The southern garden is once more divided into quarters – herbs & cutting flowers, vegetables and fruit. The northern garden, once doomed to be gravelled over for corporate car parking, is now a spacious orchard of cherry and plum trees.
The walled gardens are now once again an integral part of Chiswick House and Gardens