With its extensive glasshouses, including a vine house and peach house, espaliered fruit trees against the walls and neat beds containing a variety of fruit and vegetables, the house would have been almost self-sufficient in fresh produce – essential in those days of course because there was no supermarket down the road for rural Victorians. No doubt the tenants did their best to keep it up during the war when everyone was ‘digging for victory’, but after that, without an army of gardeners to tend to it, the garden declined.
When the Sue Ryder Prayer Fellowship took over the house all manpower was needed to keep the house running and so the walled garden declined further. However, the present Lady Parmoor, a former trustee of the SRPF, cherished a dream of restoring the garden and in doing so fulfilling one of Lady Ryder’s aims – to assist those in need. By providing productive voluntary work and education for disadvantaged young people she and a small committee of dedicated volunteers have been able to bring the garden back into productive use and with the aid of grants the first of the glasshouses has been restored.
Many people have already benefited from this project, not least St. Katharine’s kitchen who are proud to tell their guests that not only are the ingredients for their meals fresh, but some of them were growing in the garden that morning! For more information about the Walled Garden Project please click here.
The walled garden is open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00am till 4:00pm each week, when the volunteers are hard at work. Outside of these times should be arranged through the Retreat House.
Lady Ryder of Warsaw Rose
Thank you for a wonderful afternoon tea. ”
Oasis, Christ Church - Jul 2018
Thank you for having us! Great stay, lovely garden and helpful staff. See you again next year. ”
Vacation Project, Lincoln College Oxford - Aug 2018
The success of the weekend was helped ... by the quality of the accommodation ... the generous provision of our food but perhaps most of all the staff ”
Bereaved dads' weekend Nov 2018
This has been a wonderful caring time. Thank you St Katharine's staff team. ”
NW & JT, Marlow - Oct 2018
Thank you so much for everything that you and your team did for our family yesterday. Everything went so smoothly and everyone said what a wonderful venue St Katharine's was both in terms of food and venue.
Your team were absolutely outstanding and made the day very easy for us. ”
CM - Feb 2020