Tullie House Garden is a pleasant courtyard style garden set within the historic heart of Carlisle City, close to the central shopping area. The garden is situated within the grounds of the historic Jacobean House, and is laid out in a style to reflect the era.
A garden has existed on the site even before Tullie House was built. Any original gardens belonging to White Hall, previously on this site, were probably remodelled for the new Tullie House. It has been confirmed that a walled garden existed from 1698, belonging to the Chancellor of Carlisle, with a ‘stoned walled garden, well kept with iron gates… and stone pillars’ (The Journeys of Celia Fiennes 1947, 202).
Since then its has passed down through the hands of various private individuals and the gardens were generally well maintained.
The Tullies and their descendants owned the house until the early 19th century, when the Dixon family eventually purchased it. After being saved from demolition in 1890, Tullie House was extended and opened as an ‘Institute of Science, Literature and Art’ in 1893.
The garden is laid out with plants from the same period as the 1689 house. A Jacobean garden would have been used for pleasure and production, with plants grown for their medicinal and culinary properties.
The variety in the garden attracts an abundance of wildlife. Nest boxes provide a home for tits, robins and flycatchers in spring/summer, while many butterflies and hover-flies feed at the nectar rich flowers.
The garden is an attractive open space designed with a Jacobean style theme. There are decorative box edged curved beds with a good range of planting surrounding the central herb garden. It is divided into four quarters with a sundial as a focal point in the centre.
The development of the garden at Tullie House was inspired by the need to improve the existing space and provide the city with a well-maintained historical garden. The garden is a beautiful and restful green space in the heart of the city, which provides a green oasis to many more of Carlisle’s residents and tourists alike.
The Roman Garden was planted to try to show visitors the main types of plant that would have been around in Roman times. This was coupled with an information panel mentioning some of the main plants and their uses. The plants singled out for a mention on the information panel are Fig, Juniper, Myrtle, Vine, Acanthus and Bay. As time has passed the garden has grown up. Some of the plants have flourished and some have died. The figs and the vines have been the successful ones, while the bay has died from cold and wet.
Roman relics are scattered among the plants in the garden. They serve as a reminder of the links with the past and are an informative part of the future interpretation of the garden.
The Gardens are regularly used for Wedding photography, Corporate Events and Family Fun Days throughout the Spring & Summer months.