Roman Garden project

Over the summer of 2020 we began building a Roman Garden, with some expert help and advice. Along with the voluntary labour of our team and friends from the University of Kent, we received a small public engagement grant from the Institute of Classical studies to help us with construction materials for the project.

The garden is used by the Trust as a learning space, where we hold talks, practical demonstrations and other volunteer projects. In this new garden space we learn about the history of ancient gardens and the ideas behind them, we also study Roman gardens and the plants that were grown in them in detail. Many of the practical construction projects will be carried out with volunteers.

To start the project we collected some books on Roman and ancient gardens and did some research on their layouts and planting, coming up with a ground plan and a visualisation of the layout and materials to use.

We also created a measured drawing to work from, which shows in detail how the space will be set out.

Ground plan of the Roman Garden
Making a start on the box hedge niche

We started work on the garden by clearing an area at the northern end for a little niche, hedged with box, which will be form a focal point for the garden.

Clearing the area for the first raised beds and path

The open space in front of the niche will be used to stand some large planting pots and two raised beds, which will be mirrored by two beds on the southern side. When complete, the beds will be divided by an Opus Spicatum path.

The first raised beds set in place, with Roman tile used as leveling.
The basic layout of the garden in place

By the end of June 2020 we had the layout of the garden in place, ready to begin the finer details of landscaping and planting. We have started to collect plants that are likely to have been known and used b gardeners in the Roman period, and relocated all the plants that were already in the garden,which had not been discovered at that time.

Once we get going properly, we will let you all know if we need slaves to do our bidding in the Roman style…

Help us build the Roman Garden

We would like to be able to make as authentic a Roman garden experience as possible in our little space. Our aim is to begin exploring the principles of design and layout of a small enclosed garden, as might have been found in a rural villa in Britain in the Roman period. These are our firsts steps on the journey to explore Roman gardens and of course there are no limits to the detail we could add to the experience. However, our funds are limited and any contributions towrd building the garden would be wisely invested in making our Roman Garden as rich a learning environment as possible.

A PayPal donation to help to build the Roman Garden can be made from the drop down menu on our support page if you would like to help us with the project.