The garden has probably had many years of productivity as a traditional kitchen garden - the walls are covered with old fruit and vine fixings. Unattached to a large house the garden

is believed to have provided produce for a number of houses

in the village and has evolved though periods of dereliction

and intense productivity throughout its history. 

If you look closely at the walls you can see

evidence of old doorways and walkways,

ancient fixings and memories of gardeners old.

During the war, young evacuees from London

worked the vegetable plots and almost

everyone over the age of 40 who grew up

in the village claims to have spent their

youth scrumping apples from the trees.

The garden is unusual in that it is a

walled garden but has a view over ancient

meadows on its south side. This gives

you the protected and sheltered aspect

of walls without the feeling of being closed in.

The village of Mells  have a very long history and 

its own website has a wealth of information on it


The Walled Garden, still known as the Rectory Garden, originated as the setting for Mells Rectory in the fifteenth century at a time when the village formed part of the estate of Glastonbury Abbey. At this time it was almost certainly a monastic garden growing herbs for medicine and study. During the turbulent 1500s the original Rectory, thought to stand where the polytunnels currently sit was pulled down and some of the stone was used to build Rectory Cottage which now adjoins the garden. 


Mells Rectory which was demolished in the 1540s during the dissolution of the Monasteries and subsequently rebuilt on another site and the garden continued under a variety of stewardships whilst always belonging to the Mells Estate. 

War evacuees, Walled Garden at Mells

In 2009 the garden was taken over by Jo Illsley, an ecologist and gardener and her husband Jon (an arboricultural surveyor) to continue their business of British grown cut flowers. They substantively renovated the garden with the establishment of relaxed herbaceous borders, two large poly tunnels for the plant nursery and the establishment of the outdoor cafe and the ever popular pizza oven. Previous to their stewardship it was a rare plant nursery and before that an organic herb growing enterprise where anecdotally pigs were needed initially to clear the undergrowth.

The new steward, from 2018, Sam Evans has a keen eye for the health benefits of therapeutic horticultural and the value of supportive communities.