Cultivation of the modern Kitchen Garden began in the late 1980s by the 11th Duke and Duchess Deborah. However for nearly 500 years, gardens growing food for the house have existed all over the estate. It is likely that the first Duke established productive gardens around 1549. In the mid-1700s the third Duke built walled gardens, versions of which were used all the way up until the 1900s.
The current Kitchen Garden is located to the east of the stables. This ground was originally called the Paddocks because it was where the carriage horses were turned out for a pick of grass.
The greenhouses were already there, but until the early 1990s it was a dreary, featureless patch. The 11th Duke and Duchess Deborah thought that the new enthusiasm for growing fruit and vegetables merited an investment to make the place more interesting and open for all to see.
It was laid out during the winters of 1991/2 and 1992/3. The necessary drains were laid, raised beds were built from old bricks and some new paths were bordered with railway sleepers. Iron arches were installed to support fruit trees.
All manner of fruit, salad, cut flowers and vegetables are grown here, including mummy peas, allegedly grown from peas discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. The house is supplied with produce from the Kitchen Garden and surplus is sold in the stable yard and farm shop.
Beyond a beech hedge at the lower part of the garden is a small orchard. Here we grow a range of fruit bred in Derbyshire, including the apple variety Beeley Pippin.