I received an intriguing and somewhat sad zero waste week pledge from Jillian at Ickworth vineyard in Suffolk.
Jillian and her husband have been renting part of a National Trust walled garden since 1995 and have turned it into a thriving vineyard, selling English wine to local retailers and through farmers markets. The National Trust were delighted to see it used as a vineyard because until that point they didn’t have a policy for walled gardens – they were being grubbed up or turned into car parks and when Jillian took on the land it had a few sheep and donkeys on it.
Recently, the National Trust found detailed plans about a 1910 walled garden, including layout, crops and even cropping records. They succeeded in getting funding and ear marked two properties for development with the aim of restoring two walled gardens to exact Victorian standards and promoting conservation.
Unfortunately for Jillian, Ickworth is one of the properties that is going to be developed. She has until next February to return the land to the way she found it – pasture land for sheep and donkeys; which means she has 2000 vines to grub up and burn.
The thing is, Jillian is a bit of a recycler herself and she feels she owes it to the vines to find them new, loving homes. So far she’s rehomed 700 of them to people in and around the area.
She’s also going to use the posts to make raised beds to grow her own vegetables and will be offering galvanised wire to people who need it, free of charge.
Jillian tells me the vines are still in their prime and will give pleasure for the next 25 years.
Her wine has been given a glowing review by Oz Clarke and Jillian has a few bottles of her wine left for sale. So if you want to own a piece of English Heritage and provide someone you love, or even treat yourself, to an original zero waste gift contact Jillian. You can follow her twitter stream or send a contact form via her Ickworth vineyard website.
Vines cost £10 each and will be ready for digging up in November. Bottles of wine range from £9.50 to £18.50