But over the last couple of years, James, Kate and the Pipe and Glass staff have worked closely with Malton-based garden designer Stephen Bean to create even more idyllic surroundings for the pub.
The planting at the front – colourful in the warmer months, still lush and green in the colder parts of the year – welcomes visitors, and provides a relaxing backdrop for those eating and drinking at the informal picnic tables in fine weather.
At the back, an assortment of different garden spaces fulfils many needs: it’s a great place to wander and explore before or after dinner (much appreciated by those with little ones needing to let off a bit of steam!); it’s a glorious view for those dining in the conservatory; and, with every one of the plants in the garden now being edible, it provides so much produce for the kitchen – and for zero air miles!
The two areas are linked by verdant pathways to the side of the pub, so in good weather, you could visit and stay outdoors all day long, if you wished.
For those seeking inspiration for their own garden, there are many innovative aspects, from the dramatic round table at the centre to the living wall which enables the Pipe and Glass to grow a wide assortment of wonderful herbs in a relatively small space.
And we haven’t forgotten about the history of the gardens at this former coaching inn – one of our favourite garden elements is the magnificent 500-year-old yew tree, the only tree on the Dalton Estate with a preservation order. And we’ve added to that sense of history with a rather special apple tree, which you can read about below.
The apple never falls far from the tree
One of the most intriguing plants in our garden is a rare Flower of Kent apple tree which is a direct descendant of one of the most famous trees of all time – that which led Sir Isaac Newton to develop the theory of gravity.
Whether the story is true or not, it’s one of the best-known in British scientific history – that Newton was sitting under an apple tree in his garden in Lincolnshire in 1666 when one of its fruits fell on his head.
Although Newton himself never wrote the story down, we have the following account of this momentous event from his friend and biographer, William Stukeley:
"After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden & drank thea under the shade of some apple tree; only he & myself.
"Amid other discourse, he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly the notion of gravitation came into his mind. Why sh[oul]d that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself; occasion'd by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood.
"Why sh[oul]d it not go sideways, or upwards? But constantly to the Earth's centre? Assuredly the reason is, that the Earth draws it.
There must be a drawing power in matter. And the sum of the drawing power in the matter of the Earth must be in the Earth's centre, not in any side of the Earth.
"Therefore does this apple fall perpendicularly or towards the centre? If matter thus draws matter; it must be proportion of its quantity. Therefore the apple draws the Earth, as well as the Earth draws the apple."
The remarkable tree that prompted such a complex thought process still survives at Newton's birthplace, Woolsthorpe Manor; over the years, grafted cuttings have been taken from it, and from the trees which have grown from those cuttings. Ours came to us from York University, where a tree given to the Department of Physics by Kew Gardens in 1976 flourishes.
Writing on the university’s website, the department’s Dr Richard Keesing tells us: “It came [to Kew] from the Cambridge Botanical Gardens who obtained it from the Fruit Research Station at East Malling in Kent. They obtained their stock from a tree at Belton Park in Lincolnshire in the 1930’s which had been propagated there from Newton’s garden at Woolsthorpe Manor by the Rev Charles Turnor about the year 1820.”
James says: “It’s truly remarkable to think that we have a little bit of such important history growing in our garden here at the Pipe and Glass.”
And who knows – next time you order the ever-popular trio of apples for pudding, you could be eating a little bit of history.