This is the view towards the summer house on the Terrace of the Walled Garden in the 1950’s. The picture at the head of the page is the same view now.
The 70th anniversary of the creation of The Garden House is being celebrated with a special week long birthday menu that includes some of the founders’ favourite foods! (May 18th – 24th)to the popular attraction’s tearoom can enjoy several special dishes to help mark 70 years since Lionel and Katharine Fortescue bought the former vicarage and 10 acre site at Buckland Monachorum and established the Trust that runs it today. Tearoom Manager Liz Ingram will be serving up:
Celebration Chicken with Rice and salad leaves, Roasted Garden Vegetable Tart with potato salad and garnish – and Lionel Fortescue’s favourite dessert Eton Mess. She will also be creating a special 70th birthday cake – a Victoria sponge, much loved by Katharine Fortescue – for visitors to enjoy too.
“Thanks to the hard work and generosity of the Fortescues, who transformed The Garden House and established the Trust, this wonderful attraction can be enjoyed for many years to come,” said Liz.
“It is only right that we celebrate this special anniversary in their honour and by offering a special range of dishes, it means our visitors can join in the celebrations too.”
It was in the late spring, early summer of 1945 that Lionel and Katharine Fortescue arrived at the former vicarage with their three daughters Mary, Cecily and Nancy, a former Trustee, who currently lives in Sussex, but still visits the garden each year.
They were joined by their gardener Bill Miles, his family and two container loads of plants. Back then, the garden consisted of The Walled Garden – a key feature today – with four terraces and was surrounded by eight acres of fields.
The couple’s initial task was a choice of name for their new home and in an article from the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society dated August 1958, Lionel wrote: “As the deeds do not permit it to be called “The Old Vicarage”, “The Garden House” seemed premature before the Garden was planted, but my wife maintained that a change of name later would not be possible. No doubt she was right as usual, for “The Garden House” has earned its name.”
This quote and other thoughts from Lionel Fortescue as the garden took shape forms part of a special display, new to The Garden House in 2015, called ‘The Garden House Story’ and created with the help of a generous grant from the John Spedan Lewis Foundation.
Situated in The Fortescue Room, it consists of a series of storyboard panels that trace the history of the site and garden from the 14th Century to the present day.