The Walled Garden at Mells
a garden to enjoy
Welcome to the Walled Garden
The garden was originally built for Mells Rectory which was demolished in the 1540s during the dissolution of the Monasteries. The Rectory was subsequently rebuilt on another site and the garden continued under a variety of stewardships whilst always belonging to the Mells Estate.
It has probably had many years of productivity as a traditional kitchen garden - the walls are covered with old fruit and vine fixings - but also many years of dereliction. During the war, young evacuees from London worked the vegetable plots and many residents in the village remembers spending their youths scrumping apples from the trees.
The garden is unusual in that it is a walled garden but has a view over ancient meadows on its south side. This gives you the protected and sheltered aspect of walls without the feeling of being closed in. The planting is very natural, soft and informal. It's not a status shouting garden, it tries to welcome everyone and being almost entirely herbaceous it's like one big summer party. The last week of May is one of the favourite week of the year, that's when the beauty leaves you breathless.
August can feel like you are in the south of France or Italy, particularly with the Olive Trees dotted around in enormous terracotta pots. September and October bring gentle golden light, interesting seed heads and the scent of apples ripening on the trees.
Our Team at the Walled Garden
The cafe team, headed by Marc, Angie and Matt is made up of fantastic local youngsters, nearly all still at school or in between school and college, they never cease to amaze in their ability to work hard and stay cheerful under pressure. The place couldn’t run without them.
The garden still known as the Rectory Garden originated as the setting for Mells Rectory in the fifteenth century at a time when the village formed part of the estate of Glastonbury Abbey. At this time it was almost certainly a monastic garden growing herbs for medicine and study. During the turbulent 1500s the original Rectory, thought to stand where the polytunnels currently sit was pulled down and some of the stone was used to build Rectory Cottage which now adjoins the garden.
Subsequently, unattached to a large house the garden has probably provided produce for a number of houses in the village and has evolved though periods of dereliction and intense productivity throughout its history. Previous to our stewardship it was a rare plant nursery and before that an organic herb growing enterprise where anecdotally pigs were needed initially to clear the undergrowth
If you look closely at the walls you can see evidence of old doorways and walkways, ancient fixings and memories of gardeners old.