Award winning Goldstone Hall Country House Hotel, in Shropshire, has begun a new partnership with Garden Organic's Heritage Seed Library (HSL), with the aim of reviving, conserving and protecting a selection of heritage and heirloom vegetable seed varieties, some of which have historical origins in Shropshire.
The heritage varieties which are being trialled in Goldstone's one acre kitchen garden will include:
Goldstone aims to both grow the seed to serve the produce in their hotel restaurant, as well as return some seed to the Heritage Seed Library for their ongoing conservation in due course.
The seeds given to Goldstone by the Heritage Seed Library are a selection from their 800-strong collection, many of which have been previously donated to the seed library by others. The HSL store the seeds for safekeeping and then distribute a selection each year to custodians such as Goldstone and their 7,000 HSL members. This initiative ensures these vegetable varieties of national importance are conserved for future generations, whilst still being enjoyed by gardeners who grow and harvest them in their own back gardens and allotments up and down the country.
Assistant Gardener at Goldstone Hall Gardens, Sarah Smith-Roe, said: "We are delighted to be safeguarding heritage and heirloom varieties of local vegetable seeds through the Heritage Seed Library scheme. It's a great way for us to continue to support conservation, biodiversity and help maintain genetic diversity within veg crops.
The beauty of the one-acre kitchen garden here at Goldstone is that we grow many varieties of vegetables and fruit which cannot be found elsewhere, giving the restaurant customer a unique taste of Shropshire soil. These newly introduced heritage varieties will add to the special quality we offer here at Goldstone."
John Cushing owner of Goldstone Hall Hotel said: "At the heart of our culinary offering is our 1 acre kitchen garden from which we source many of our ingredients. Being part of the Heritage Seed Library is a special way to explore our unique history and celebrate rare heritage varieties of produce from both Shropshire and the UK for diners coming to Goldstone."
The Heritage Seed Library (HSL) is run by national charity, Garden Organic. For over 60 years Garden Organic has been leading the organic horticulture movement, supporting people to adopt organic and sustainable growing methods by sharing information, conducting research, running community projects and welcoming people to its own organic demonstration garden.
Catrina Fenton, Head of the Heritage Seed Library said: "We believe the best way to conserve varieties is to get people growing and enjoying them again. We're delighted that Goldstone Hall Hotel are going to be helping us not only by sharing these unique varieties with their guests but also by supporting us as Seed Guardians to save the seed. It is particularly great to see local varieties, such as Blackpod, growing back in the Shropshire region."
The RHS partner gardens at Goldstone Hall Hotel were initiated by John Cushing's mother, Helen Ward, who channelled her passion for gardening into transforming the wilderness that was. The garden is now managed by head gardener Nick Huxley who has been tending to and managing the garden at Goldstone for over 14 years, and is particularly passionate about Goldstone's 1 acre kitchen garden.
Visitors can also enjoy features such as the double tiered herbaceous borders including seasonal perennial planting schemes; an early flowering walled garden with nurturing micro-climate; immaculate rose garden and rose lined walkway; a sweeping lawn fringed with mature trees and shaded seating; a stunning laburnum arch, and of course the one-acre kitchen garden with raised beds and herbal walkway. An area of 140 sq metres under an old cherry tree has recently been cultivated with wild flowers to complement the colour scheme in the double tiered herbaceous borders.
The garden has been designed for relaxation, celebration and enjoyment and is the perfect setting for admiring the well thought out landscaping and planting followed by a tranquil afternoon tea, game of croquet or perhaps a special celebration. The venue is also a suitable setting for business meetings and presentations throughout the week.
The Goldstone gardens will be open every Monday to Thursday, April through to October 2022 with the exception of Bank Holiday Mondays, NGS open days email@example.com.