The garden of 13 acres, set within the estate in the Stour valley, features some unusual mature specimen trees and a Saxon fishpond which fed the inhabitants of Wimborne’s monastery between 8th and 11th centuries. The American Swamp Cypress and Tulip tree (both over 100ft tall) were planted by explorer Thomas Hanham on his return from a voyage to the New World in 1607.
The kitchen garden is enclosed by an C18th ‘serpentine’ wall. It was the first organic garden in the country to be accredited by the Soil Association, under the supervision of William’s mother, Lady Jane Hanham. The garden provides chemical-free produce for our café and veg basket scheme as well as cut flowers for our weddings. Other features include a herb garden, orchard, apiary and the River Allen chalk stream - paradise for fly-fishermen.
Permaculture at Deans Court
Throughout history human kind has always fought for control over Nature. Our present food industry embodies this war, relying strongly on chemicals to grow crops and petrol to operate heavy machinery, stripping the land to mass produce monocultures and following practices that damage the soil, biodiversity and the environment in general.
Fortunately the world is waking up to the environmental tragedy that conventional agriculture represents and it is looking for sustainable and healthy alternatives. This is mirrored in the amazing growth rates of the organic movement over the last decade and represents an important step away from detrimental farming and animal rearing practices. But more sustainable movements have been developed and grew in popularity over the last decades, like Permaculture.
In 1978, Professor Bill Mollison and his graduate student David Holmgren developed the term Permaculture, which was originally stemmed from “permanent agriculture”. Permaculture follows a philosophy of working with Nature rather than against it and as such promotes sustainable plant and animal farming and healthy ecosystems while, at the same time, working to protect and build soil. By observing how natural systems work and regenerate themselves Permaculture mimics these processes, aiming at nutrient recycling and ecological regeneration.
At Deans Court we’ve spent the last year shifting the historic walled garden towards more productive and sustainable growing practices that follow Permaculture principles, ensuring the continuous supply of organic, fresh and nutritious produce and cutflowers. We try to keep our carbon footprint low by working with local suppliers for all our garden needs and by recycling as much as possible through composting and reuse of materials. And because Permaculture is also about healthy lifestyles and wellbeing we aim to create a beautiful and organized environment to work in and to visit, with wildlife friendly flower borders providing color and texture throughout the year.