Exciting news!

At long last we are about to start work to restore our Victorian Conservatory. Built around 1885 the cast iron Conservatory was bought from Chelmsford company Crompton & Fawkes and featured a geometrically patterned tiled floor, complex heating system and a rare luxury at that time - electric lighting. Also innovative for the time was a rainwater collection system which diverted the water from the glass roof into an underground storage tank via the cast iron columns.

Now in a sorry state, the conservatory is to be fully restored and is scheduled to be open to the public in the summer of 2013. The garden team have already carried out preparatory work on the site, moving and replanting some of the Rhododendrons and the contractors will begin work very soon. I’ll post regular updates as project moves forward.


Elsewhere in the Gardens, the mild weather has been a bonus. The native primroses (Primula vulgaris) are in bloom alongside Lady Lucy’s Walk and in the Union Jack Garden. Purple Cyclamen are still flowering and looking beautiful in the low winter sun.

The early flowering Rhododendron Nobleanum with its lovely scarlet blooms is showing well in the Victorian Flower Garden and the first Hellebores are starting to flower, bowing their heads in the breeze. There’s still a long way to go until spring but the Gardens have a lovely feel to them as the days once more begin to lengthen.