Brace yourself for an exciting trip around the world, as the Global Growth Vegetable Garden takes shape at RHS Garden Hyde Hall. This exciting and innovative new garden will showcase fruit and vegetables from around the world in a stunning design.
As the name suggests, the Global Growth Vegetable Garden is based on a global theme and is circular in design, which is unusual for a vegetable garden. At its centre will be a striking Hartley Botanic Glasshouse, which will be 7m (23ft) high and 14m (46ft) across. This glasshouse will act as a focal point for the garden and draw visitors into it from the Hilltop Garden. It will allow us to grow a wider range of crops such as cucumbers, peppers and melons, and extend the season of productivity for crops we already grow outside, such as tomatoes and aubergines.
Around the glasshouse will be wooden benches that will allow visitors varying views of the garden. The garden is divided into four quarters and in each we will be growing fruit and vegetables from a different continent (Europe and the Middle East, Asia, South America, North America). We are also aiming to broaden our visitors’ views on plants that have an edible value, such as cannas, hostas and Hemerocallis, as well as plants we think of as productive such as potatoes, yacon and cucamelons. You will enter the garden through metal archways over which we will grow hardy crops such as apples and pears as well as more tender crops such as passion fruit.
Around the outside of the main productive areas we will plant trees and shrubs that have an edible value such as cobnuts and sweet chestnuts. These trees and shrubs will give shelter to the new garden and add an air of maturity. Around the southern edge we will also be developing an orchard to showcase local varieties of apples and pears. We hope to plant the first phase of 30 different varieties of trees in spring 2017 – all of which have been propagated by Frank Matthews’ nursery.
Construction of the garden started in January 2016, with Stewart Landscape Construction carrying out all the initial groundworks. They have also constructed all of the paths, which have metal edging, have been finished with Italian porphyry stone in three different sizes from small setts to large slabs. To add height and variety to the garden, there are raised beds at two different heights, all constructed from English oak. As all of the beds are curved, it has taken a huge amount of time and patience to lay the slabs and setts and construct the raised beds to a high level of finish.
Over the past six weeks the Hyde Hall team have been working on site. We have mixed around 600 tonnes of soil for all of the beds in the garden. This was a mixture of green waste compost, British Sugar Topsoil and our own clay soil. The components were mixed together before we brought in a long-reach excavator to fill all of the beds with the mixed soil.
The next phase of the work over the next few months will involve moving 4,000-5,000 tonnes of our own clay soil onto the site. This will be used to construct and shape the mounds around the edge of the garden where trees and shrubs will be planted.
Other elements to be completed over the winter months will be fences, gates and the archways. We aim to install the Hartley Botanic Glasshouse in late spring, prior to opening this exciting new garden in July 2017. To those that ask what do gardeners do in winter hopefully this partly answers the question – we don’t have time to put our feet up!
More on growing vegetables
Grow Your Own
Lots of advice from the RHS on growing fruit and veg
How to get started with an allotment of your own
If you have space for a pot you have space to grow some veg. Advice and ideas on growing in containers.
Think outside the vegetable box
Read an article by James Wong's on unusual crops to grow, originally published in The Garden magazine.