Bio Reading Luton Hoo Estate
Luton Hoo Estate
The last time I visited the estate was several years ago, when my son was a young boy and the estate held a ‘Pumpkin Festival’ in the walled garden.
This is a privately owned estate, by the former family that once also owned the large house and surrounding land. The current Luton Hoo Estate, contains the walled garden and surrounding land, with several businesses that are also located in the outbuildings. Luton Hoo Estate is a traditional country estate with a working farm, with Leaf Certification. ‘LEAF’ Marque is a farm assurance system, showing that food has been grown sustainably with care for the environment.
There are also residential and commercial properties, pheasant shooting and of cause the walled garden. Some of the outbuildings have been featured In many film and TV productions such as ‘Call the midwife’,’Taboo’ Batman vs Superman to name but a few.
The walled garden was designed by Capability Brown and established by John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute in the late 1760’s. Successive owners of the Estate adapted the garden to match changing horticultural fashions, only for it to fall into decline from the 1980’s.
The walled garden is now the focus of a fascinating project, largely carried out by an enthusiastic team of volunteers, but is in need of funding to restore the glass green houses, as they could be wonderful and outstanding if renovated, but due to cost and weather, rather need some urgent attention.
Through research and hard work by the gardeners and conservationists the garden is gradually being revived and its structures are being repaired for the enjoyment of future generations.
Luton Hoo Walled Garden, is a fascinating project run by a group of dedicated volunteers. They have transformed the garden from an abandoned, overgrown area to a progressive, beautiful and functional garden for the public to visit and enjoy.
The first volunteers to the project undertook much of the initial cultivation which included fighting the brambles above the ground and the concrete beneath it! Now volunteers are leading the regeneration of the garden under the watchful eye of the estate and the head gardener researching, designing and implementing plans to restore its functionality.
An education group forms part of the volunteering team which now runs children’s activities during school holidays, which have become a fantastic way for children in the local community to become involved with the garden. Our spring and autumn open days have also proven very popular with seasonal children’s activities, innovative guided tours as well as a produce stall enabling visitors to purchase produce direct from the garden.”
The garden is unique in its approach due to all activities being mainly volunteer lead. The themes and topics explored are all researched by the volunteers delving through the history of the garden and its previous ownership and developing talks that engage and make the history of the site more accessible to all.
The walled garden unlike many other gardens is not the finished article and is continuously changing and developing, meaning that visitors to the garden will usually witness a new development or project which has evolved since their last visit.
Volunteers work within the grounds cultivating and propagating the plants for the garden rustic shop. The shop is quant and nostalgic with an honesty box.
This is the start of the growing season, so only a limited supply of produce for sale, but last years’ honey looks wonderful. Today the bee keepers attended to the hives for the first time since the winter, to see if the bees have survived the cold winter. You could feel the apprehension by the bee keepers, as many hives can be lost over the winter! The bee keepers returned with the great news that only one hive may have been lost, (out of ten) so rather good results! This is not always the case and bees are vital to a garden’s productivity. A government scheme, to help provide support and equipment for new bee keepers would be a great way to encourage more new people getting involved or becoming bees keepers.
There is a Coffee Shop on site with a woodland walk. The estate offers a substantial venue for outdoor activities with a massive marquee, this is idea for events, weddings or even a great party. I look forward to seeing it fully matured and blossoming, in the years to come.
The garden offers guided tours and visitors can attend open days as this is currently recommended to attain full knowledge and historical references to the buildings and content of this estate.
Open Farm Sunday 10th June – family day where there will be tractor rides, machinery demonstrations, animals, walled garden tours and more.
Open Wednesdays in the walled garden. For the 2018 season, the Walled Garden will be OPEN to the public every Wednesday 10.30am-4pm, between 2nd May and 26th September inclusive. Individuals are welcome to visit at a cost of £5 per person. Free tours of the Walled Garden will be available at various times throughout the day. A tour of the Victorian Farm Buildings will also be available at an additional cost of £3.
Thanks to the Family who run the Luton Hoo Estate, for your support and allowing me to stay with you for the day. Thanks to Amelia for your info on Luton Hoo Estate.