Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Luton Hoo Walled Garden

Gateway to the garden

Let me introduce you to the walled garden at Luton Hoo. I have an artists access card which will enable me to visit the garden a couple of days a week for the next year to take photographs or sketch or whatever. Today I had my first chance to explore and I am so excited at the opportunity I have. Let me fill you in with a quick bit of history first. The Luton Hoo estate has a long history but is most well known for its beautiful house and gardens designed by Capability Brown. In the late 1760s/70s an octagonal walled garden was built. This was to be a botanical garden to grow exotic flowers, fruit and vegetables. In the 1880s Sir Julius & Lady Alice Werner had a glass house built by Mackenzie & Moncur. After WWII the cost on running large estates became prohibitive and the garden and glass houses gradually fell into disrepare. The house was sold off and is now a luxury hotel and spa, but the estate is run by a different management. A great project is in hand to restore the garden and there are many volunteers working on researching the history of the gardens, fund raising, restoration and gardening. The garden is vast and surrounded by a 19ft wall which creates a micro-climate. There are many glass houses, an brick outbuildings which have been used in lots of TV series and films - if you are interested you can read about it on their website here  and there is info about the estate on wikepedia.

Inside the garden

The garden is divided by a great 'diaphragm' wall which increased the area availble for trained fruit trees. I hope this gives you an idea of how vast it is.

Through the gap

This is taken from the great glass conservatory looking through the gap in the 'diaphragm' wall to the far gate.

The Mackenzie & Moncur conservatory
This has been wrapped in plastic to try to stop it deteriating any further.

I will definitely be sharing more photographs of this wonderful place with you. I am actually more interested in making more abstract, graphic images, but I thought I'd start with a taster of the whole garden.

(No guarantee on the accuracy of my historic information) 
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