Japanese Horticulturist Aiming to Save Blenheim’s Unique Garden Heritage

A Japanese horticulturist has been enlisted to help restore Blenheim Palace’s historic Walled Garden.

Makiko Kuga has joined the UNSECO World Heritage Site’s Formal Gardening team in a new role as Kitchen Garden Foreman.  

The role, created at the end of 2017, will focus on restoring the Walled Garden, including a selection of unique heritage fruit trees, back to its productive past.

Makiko Kuga says: “It is such an honour to be a part of the team which has a wealth of experience in managing one of the iconic English Landscape Gardens.

“One of my main jobs is to grow grapes for the RHS Harvest Festival Show in October. I had experience of growing grapes for ornamental display in the past, although I have never grown exhibition standard, so I am very pleased to gain new horticultural skills.”

She continues: “One of the biggest challenges in this role is the abundance of old fruit trees in the Walled Garden which require urgent restoration. These, wonderful heritage strains are a gift from the past and virtually impossible to find elsewhere, today.

Both of my grandfathers were very keen gardeners. I believe they definitely influenced me. After 10 hectic years working in Tokyo, I felt the need for a more calming and satisfying challenge and so came to the UK to study horticulture.”

Makiko, previously Kitchen Gardener at the English Heritage’s Audley End Organic Kitchen Garden, Essex studied Landscape Management at Greenwich University before becoming a trainee at Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park.

Head of Gardens, Hilary Wood says: “We are delighted to welcome Makiko to the Gardening team at Blenheim Palace. The Gardens are incredible here and restoring the Walled Garden and ancient fruit trees are an important part of the heritage of the landscape.”

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