Somerset garden promotes sustainability

A grand Somerset garden aiming to be a showcase of organic and sustainable practices opened to the public in July.

Kilver Court in Shepton Mallet has been renovated by Roger Saul, founder of designer label Mulberry and owner of British food label Sharpham Park.

The gardens are set against a backdrop of a Grade II-listed railway viaduct and feature a millpond and boating lake as well as rolling lawns, parterres and herbaceous borders. They were first created by Ernest Jardine as a recreational space for factory workers of Kilver Court in the 1800s.

In the 1960s they were restored and developed by the Showering family, who commissioned Charles Whiteleg to recreate his gold-winning RHS Chelsea Flower Show rockery garden within the setting.

The Mulberry company took over Kilver Court in 1996 and Saul began restoring the gardens. He plans to reinstate Jardine's fruit and vegetable garden using sustainable, bio-dynamic principles.

Saul is marketing the gardens as a "lifestyle destination". It includes a shop that sources local, seasonal organic food and products, a cafe with a bi-monthly seasonal menu and consulting rooms offering treatments such as osteopathy.

Further plans include a plant nursery, tea rooms, a live music venue and conference facilities.

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