HOW THE GARDEN HOUSE BLOSSOMED – THROUGH THE THOUGHTS OF ITS FOUNDER
A new display charting the horticultural history of The Garden House spanning some 700 years features a very special storyteller – founder Lionel Fortescue himself!
The storyboard panels trace the history of the site and garden in Buckland Monachorum from the 14th century to the present day, and include the thoughts of the man who established the Trust that has ensured it will be preserved for many generations to come.
Entitled ‘The Garden House Story’ and created with the help of a generous grant from the John Spedan Lewis Foundation, the display features a number of quotes from Lionel Fortescue, which were discovered in an article from the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, dated August 1958.
It reveals his views on the garden as it really began to take shape in the 1950s and 60s and gives a great insight into his determination to create a garden experience of the highest horticultural standard.
“It is wonderful to be able to tell our story with the help of the man who made it all possible. His comments on how he envisaged the garden and his gardening practices really helps to bring the display alive,” said Dianne Long, one of the trustees at The Garden House responsible for making the new display happen.
“We hope that Lionel and Katharine Fortescue would be tremendously proud of their legacy, as successive head gardeners and their teams have built on the creativity, excellent plantsmanship, horticultural excellence and sheer hard work. The Garden House is a very special place, many gardens in one that can be enjoyed now and long into the future.”
The storyboard panels begin with a history of the vicarage on the site from 1305 to the Second World War years before moving on to the story of the Fortescues, Lionel and Katharine, who purchased the house in 1945.
The creation of the garden in the 50s and 60s follows, ending in the deaths of both Lionel and Katharine in 1981 and 1983 respectively, dates which marked the beginning of a period of growth of the garden through the 80s and 90s under Head Gardener Keith Wiley, who introduced ‘New Naturalism’, and then Matt Bishop who designed the Jubilee Arboretum.
The display then charts the garden’s development from the dawn of a new century and there are additional panels highlighting the rich biodiversity at the site, its role in education and an overview of the garden’s wide variety of plant species.
The display is situated in the Fortescue Room at The Garden House and includes state of the art audio-visual facilities for showing presentations and video. It was created with the help of Steve Carreck and Alison Sherrell of Graphic Words, based in Peter Tavy