On a visit to North Devon at the weekend we looked around the gardens of Clovelly Court. They are a good example of a walled Victorian kitchen garden, the walls providing the necessary shelter from winds off the sea and salt spray and creating a great micro-climate. There are superb glasshouses with the original fittings where they grow peaches, apricots etc and extensive bed areas growing all manner of vegetables and cutting flowers.
I was particularly interested in how they were growing their runner beans. The usual rows of canes had been sunk into the soil in a two parallel lines. Resting against each line of canes was a simple frame made of timber, with polythene tacked to it, and this was held in place with another cane pushed into the ground and tied to the framework. The plastic covered frames made a giant cold frame, as a sheet of perspex had been rested against the end of the row. The 3rd and 4th pictures above illustrate it.
I thought this was a really neat idea, offering weather and pest protection to the beans whilst they are little. I wanted to ask more details but unfortunately there was no-one to ask.
Clovelly is famous for its donkeys. They used to be used to transport goods up and down the steeply cobbled streets , which are unsuitable for motor vehicles. They are not used for carrying goods now, but donkeys are still kept for children to ride on. Donkey “by products” are used extensively in the kitchen garden on the flower and vegetable beds. A neat symmetry.