Victorian Walled Garden
The Victorian Walled Garden is a beautiful and peaceful place, hidden by its high walls. This ‘secret garden’ was created close to the Hall on the fertile flood plain of the River Alt, a place for growing the finest vegetables, fruit, and produce for the Earl’s kitchens and dining table but also a place with flowerbeds to enjoy and paths to stroll along.
Created in early Victorian times, it replaced an older ‘Physic Garden’ but has changed little since then. It has some notable historic features, including heated ‘Flue Walls’, a Mushroom Growing House, and fruit trees carefully trained to grow into a variety of decorative (and productive) shapes.
Long borders of perennial flowering plants bring colour and scent to the garden, particularly in the summer months.
All these features can still be seen today, with additional displays and features on the show every season. The Walled Garden is also home to four National Plant Collections, part of the Plant Heritage scheme, with our gardeners growing and conserving this important genetic heritage.
Alongside the Walled Garden are a series of greenhouses, originally used for the propagation of plants for the garden, cultivation of houseplants, and cut flowers for the rooms of the Hall. It is said that a greenhouse was set aside specifically to grow carnations, specifically so that the Earl could wear a fresh buttonhole every day! Today the greenhouses are home to Liverpool’s Botanical Collection.
The Liverpool Botanical Collection
The Botanical Collection is one of the oldest in the world, founded in 1803 by William Roscoe, a Liverpool historian, leading slavery abolitionist, art collector, M.P., lawyer, banker, botanist, and poet.
The greenhouses at Croxteth have a variety of plants from around the world, many are still grown from plants from the old collection.
William Roscoe became an expert in tropical plant species, which he collected from all around the world, making use of contacts with collectors and captains of the huge amount of ships trading through the docks in Liverpool. His collection came into the ownership of The Corporation of Liverpool (now Liverpool City Council) in 1841 and, after several moves, the ‘live’ collection is now at Croxteth, with the extensive herbarium collection transferred to Liverpool Museum. Roscoe’s father ran a market garden, possibly igniting his interest in botany, so the location of the Botanical Collection in the Walled Garden at Croxteth seems appropriate.