The Tasting Garden

The Storey Gardens are large walled gardens in two sections with a Georgian wall between them.  For further details about the gardens and their history click here.

The eastern section nearer the Storey building is on two levels and contains an impressive copper beech tree.  The western “inner garden” is accessed through gateways in the Georgian wall.  This is an environmental artwork- an orchard, an artwork and a garden, known as “The Tasting Garden”.

In 1998 Artranspennine98 provided funding for a permanent artwork in the western section of the Storey Gardens.  This is The Tasting Garden, created by Mark Dion, an internationally renowned environmental artist.

  • Paths were laid out in the form of the branches of a tree,
  • Old varieties of fruit trees (apple, cherry, plum and pear) were planted on each of the four main branches. Extinct varieties were marked by memorial stones.
  • Plinths bearing a bronze sculpture of its fruit erected in front of each tree.
  • A small folly, an Arboriculturalist’s workshed, in one corner containing traditional gardening equipment, created as a monument to the people who produced the varieties of fruit trees that are part of our heritage.
  • Click here for a layout of The Tasting Garden.

The Tasting Garden was Mark Dion’s first major commission in the UK and the only freely accessible piece of his public work in Europe.  His subsequent commissions in this country include pieces for Tate London, Natural History Museum, Folkestone Triennial, and Porthmeor Studios, St Ives.

The Storey Gardens, including The Tasting Garden, were open to the public from 1998 to 2006.  During closure of the gardens coinciding with the refurbishment of the Storey building, thieves stole the bronze fruit and damaged the plinths.

  • Following the closure volunteers worked hard to remove invasive weeds and maintain the gardens.
  • In 2013 the Friends of the Storey Gardens were formed, a group of volunteers working in partnership with Lancaster City Council towards restoration of these historic gardens.
  • In 2017 a grant was received from the Lancashire Environmental Fund to improve access and security. Upon completion of this work, the gardens were opened to the public on 26th March 2018.

The gardens are open to the public Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm March to October and from 10 am to 3 pm November to February.