Tea and cakes (all hand-made by Salle villagers) will be served in the orangery, with the proceeds from these going to Salle Parish.
Salle Park is a traditional arable farming estate of around 5,500 acres. It is now owned by Sir John White and has been in the White family for more than 100 years.
Beyond the award-winning farm, other areas of the estate are tended to by gamekeepers, foresters, house staff and gardeners.
The estate has opened the gardens to support various charities for more than a decade, previously for the National Garden Scheme and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution charities. (When the gardens were opened three years ago for the NGS, the tea and cake money was spent on a play area for the village green.)
Salle Hall (pictured below) was built in 1763. The gardens consist of around six acres maintained by 2½ gardeners and two volunteers. Around the house there are Georgian-style pleasure gardens, formal lawns and yew topiary, rose gardens, specimen trees, shrubs and wildflower meadows.
But the real gem is the traditional walled garden (pictured above) on 1.4 acres, which was built around 1780-1790. At the time, the bricks alone are documented to have cost £500 (equivalent to £1-2 million in today’s money).
Only 2,000 walled gardens were ever built in the UK and sadly many are now either derelict or used as pheasant pens or tennis courts.
Over the past decade the gardens at Salle Park have been transformed from gradual decline into one of the few productive and historically accurate planted Victorian walled gardens in the country.
This process was started in 2005 by Joe Whitehead (now head gardener at Burghley House) and the still ever-present assistant gardener Steve Bowes (a former local police officer and an expert vegetable grower).
Tom Barwick re-joined the Salle team two years ago as head gardener to continue developing the gardens. The estate is also fortunate to have Isla Macleod as part of the team. Her enthusiasm and interest, especially in flowers, have helped to push the gardens to even greater heights.
The greenhouse was fully restored in 2010, and in 2016 the orangery underwent a major renovation and is now fully planted with exotic flora and regularly used for social functions.
Today the gardens team provides more than 30 varieties of fruits, 60 varieties of vegetables and many different types of flowers for the “Big House” and the estate.
All the produce is used to feed the team of farmers during harvest with hot meals delivered and served directly to the field by Clarissa and Hilary, the house staff, or preserved and used for the shoot dinners during winter.