The Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society cares for the Secret Garden of Maldon which is situated behind Iceland, next to the library and can be viewed on the first Sunday each Month. It can also be opened for private groups through the Society. The Garden includes several distinctive styles including that of the Edwardian era, raised bed vegetable cultivation, various fruit trees, old roses, and memorial gardens.
The Friary Walled Garden is bounded on three sides by a high red brick and stone wall, it is about one-fifth of an acre and the design suggests Georgian origin but the site may have been in cultivation far longer. Seven centuries ago there was monastic community next to the site and the garden may have been used for collections of medicinal and other useful herbs.
Since the early 19th century the walled garden was private, rented by successive owners of the Friary to tenant gardeners who planted many fruit trees, some varieties now rare, vines and flowering plants. The last tenant was a keen plantsman and many of the ornamental plants now seen there may be attributed to his interest in the garden.
When the Horticultural Society became interested in its restoration the garden had fallen into disuse and was very overgrown. After years of neglect it presented a very daunting task. However work carried out by the Society revealed that the box hedges and many other long established and interesting plants still survived and these flourished as soon as the sunlight was let in. The Georgian design has been maintained, it is laid out with gravel paths and box hedges surrounding small beds. The work is never ending and a team of volunteer gardeners looks after it.
The Friary Walled Garden is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month from 10am – 4pm.