Peter Rabbit couldn’t wait to go in his brand new electric van to deliver fresh lettuce to THE WORLD OF BEATRIX POTTER™ ATTRACTION in the heart of the Lake District.
The Attraction grows its own fresh organic produce for their Tea Room, and now with one rabbit’s foot firmly in the past and one foot firmly in the future with our new electric van, our carbon foot print = Nil!
Gardener-in-Charge Tim Wright grows a rich variety of unusual and traditional heritage vegetables, flowers and fruits from Beatrix Potter’s era – with over 70 species sourced by simply looking at the illustrations in her little books. Grown in their polytunnel at the top of Bowness-on-Windermere, Tim can now whizz down the hill in Peter’s electric van to make his daily delivery to the Attraction. As a pioneering conservationist, Potter would have welcomed the Attraction’s efforts to conserve plant varieties for future generations; and with its natural landscape, the Attraction’s Peter Rabbit™ Garden works to conserve a small piece of Edwardian England.
The Attraction grows Peter Rabbit’s favourite Long Scarlet Radish – having solved the riddle of Peter Rabbit’s ‘carrot’. The foliage of the plant that Peter eats in his little book shows that it is not in fact a carrot, but a radish! After research and advice from the Heritage Seed Library, the variety was identified as Long Scarlet, which dates from 1859. The Library supplied seed, and today the Long Scarlet radish is thriving in the garden. The Attraction is so delighted with this discovery that it has adopted the Long Scarlet (which means that it pays for its conservation in the Library), and has also been made the seed guardian providing the seeds back to the Library. Other delicious old varieties grown on site and eaten in the Tea Room include the Marvel of Four Seasons and the red flecked Drunken Woman lettuces!
And then there are the stunning flowers and plants that are grown for display in the Attraction’s Peter Rabbit™ Garden – so that every season is shown at its floral very best. Lovingly designed for historical accuracy by Chelsea Gold Medallist Richard Lucas, a replica of the Peter Rabbit™ Garden went on to win Gold at Chelsea in 2014. With the gate under which naughty Peter squeezes, vegetable plots filled with rows of colourful vegetables and the scarecrow Mr. McGregor made from Peter’s jacket, the garden evokes Potter’s gentle atmosphere of countryside life from a bygone era.
On show in the garden are recognisable flowers from the pages of Potter’s little books including: Mrs Pollock’s red geranium seen as Mr McGregor’s foot comes into view in Peter Rabbit; the swathes of wild pink Foxgloves in Jemima Puddle-Duck and the many old varieties of Antirrhinum (Snapdragon). This year Richard is introducing the beautiful Night & Day Snapdragon, which is notably illustrated in The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan and The Tale of Tom Kitten. Other varieties will include Orange Wonder, Black Prince and Canary Bird. The garden is always full of perfumes taking you back to Potter‘s England with scented flowers and herbs including rambling roses, lavender, camomile and pelargoniums.
This is the perfect little garden of the little books, to wander around and enjoy when you visit THE WORLD OF BEATRIX POTTER™ ATTRACTION, which has become an integral part of The Lakes over the last 25 years, and a-must-go-to experience walking through Beatrix Potter’s famous Lakeland scenery and meeting her loveable characters.