Spring has sprung at Summer Lodge, and with it, our gardens are coming to life in spectacular display. In celebration of the blooms brought forth by the warmer months, our Head Gardener, Robin, is unveiling what is growing in our Kitchen Gardens this year and how this produce will be used in the dining experiences at our Country House Hotel.

“I spent thirty years of my career in the National Trust working with garden historians, advisors, and creative designers to manage landscapes of up to 124 acres. Now at Summer Lodge, I have the pleasure of managing smaller gardens that are equal in charm and inspiration.

Spring is a particularly exciting time for us here at Summer Lodge as the labour of the winter months finally starts to show. Mid-April, for example, sees a lot of growth and brings with it both beautiful, peaceful gardens and delicious, fresh produce to be used by our Kitchen Team. As Head Gardener, I work closely with the Head Chef to determine what we need to grow and how much of it. This enables us to grow our own produce in a way that is both healthy, kind to the environment, and in keeping with our sustainable initiatives: growing our own produce means that we can minimise food waste across our food and beverage operations.

The Kitchen Gardens are formatted in the traditional style of an English Country House Garden with box hedges and neat rows that recall the style of the sixteenth century to the Victorian era. This provides the subtle charm of a bygone time that is in keeping with the historic persona of Summer Lodge. The traditional nature of our gardens, however, is also reflected in the produce that we grow. To honour the wonderful flavours of the English countryside, and to again ensure that we are growing produce that works in harmony with the landscape around us, we continue to grow heritage vegetables such as purple carrots which are reducing in popularity amongst larger-scale farmers and suppliers. By doing so, we can provide our guests with the exceptional flavour for which our food is renowned whilst helping to keep historical, traditional British produce in rotation.”

What's growing in the Kitchen Gardens

Take inspiration from our Kitchen Gardens

Growing our own produce allows us to craft beautiful dishes that leave a lasting memory for our guests. As we step into spring's warmer months, our Chilled Pea, Courgette, and Mint Soup is the perfect dish to showcase the rush of fresh British flavours arising in our Kitchen Gardens.

Summer Lodge's Pea, Courgette, and Mint Soup

Serves 4 to 6 people


1 white onion

1 leek

4 sticks of celery

10 button mushrooms

4 cloves of garlic

1 litre vegetable stock

200g peas

200g courgettes

30g butter

500ml cream

1 bunch of fresh mint

4 tbsp crème fraîche


  1. Roughly chop the onion, celery, leek, mushrooms and garlic and cook slowly in a pan with the butter. When they are soft and translucent, add the stock and bring it to the boil.
  2. Add the cream. Bring to a boil and add the peas and courgette.
  3. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
  4. Place in a blender (or use a stick blender), add the mint and mix on high speed until smooth.
  5. To retain the soup's vibrant green colour, cool over ice as quickly as possible.
  6. Whisk in the crème fraîche.
  7. Serve well chilled.

What's growing in the Nursery Gardens

Howden's Field Pumpkin

The Howden's Field Pumpkin originates from Massachusetts where John Howden began developing the Connecticut Field Pumpkin in the early 1970s. The variation quickly took over in popularity and retains its status not only for its sweet, autumnal flavour but (thanks to its uniform shape and size) as a favourite Halloween decoration.

Marina di Chioggia Pumpkin

The Marina di Chioggia Pumpkin is a more unusual variation of pumpkin with roots in Italian cooking. Despite its obtuse appearance, its innards are dark orange and boast a sweet and rich flavour profile. It was introduced to Italy in the late 1600s and quickly gained favour in a number of pasta dishes.