There used to be at least two boilers in the Walled Garden, both were there to heat the walls to improve the climate. If you can improve the climate in a Walled Garden it means you can extend the growing season, so things become ripe sooner and other crops can be sown several times in a season. In the northern hemisphere it is rare to get more than one crop per season.
As you come through the cart gate to the right of the Bothy, the West wall curves elegantly, a yellow plum hiding it and there along the wall are two doors. One leads to the Bothy Walk in the Pleasure Grounds, the other has been bricked up.
JT has told me that he asked what had been behind it and the answer came, it had been the boiler house for the West wall. To me this would indicate that the Mulhollands had something special growing up that wall. Something delicious and in need of heat to become fully ripe. I’m wondering if it was perhaps the cherries? Ironically I have planted the new cherries on the East wall.
This was also heated, but I’m not sure where the boiler for it was. I do, however, know where the boiler for the Northern wall was. As you can see in the photo above, the soot marks are still there together with a ‘shadow’ of the building, which has been pulled down. The Northern wall’s boiler was particularly important because although the sun would shine directly on the glass house during the day, it is the coldest spot in the Walled Garden at night. These days we grow peaches, nectarines, almonds and apricots together with grapes and the highly scented early rose Lady Sylvia. But we do it without a boiler.
At one point this was a much bigger and more important glass house. As you can see from the photo below there are three rectangular holes in the wall where the timbers for the roof structure of a further section once stood. This section of glass house came out here several meters, but was taken down because it was too dangerous. JT and I sometimes fantasise about rebuilding this section. One thing is for sure, if I’d been here when it was mooted that this section should be removed, I would have said no! You don’t remove buildings from Paradise. Get a grip and restore it!