Spoilt for choice in the Hertfordshire area

August 18th 2016
By: Melanie Hollidge
The summer is a great time to take a stroll in a country estate. From St Albans and Harpenden so many historical sites are easily accessible but one that might be worth a trip, especially if you are an enthusiastic gardener, is to an estate that once included one of England's finest stately homes.  The Luton Hoo Estate mansion house was sold in 1999 but the main Estate remains in family hands.
A key historical feature of the estate is the Luton Hoo Walled Garden. The five-acre, octagonal Luton Hoo Walled Garden was designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, soon after he acquired the Estate in 1763. At the time it was said to be second only to Kew Gardens. The Earl, a former Prime Minister, was also unofficial director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and his garden at Luton Hoo Estate contributed to his reputation as a noted botanist and horticulturalist.
Over the years the garden was developed to match changing horticultural fashions, including numerous heated glasshouses built by the Leigh family in the last part of the 19th century to grow fruit and flowers. Some of them survive but the largest of the remaining glasshouses, was built by the firm of Mackenzie and Moncur for Sir Julius and Lady Wernher about 1911, and is testament to the extravagance of the Edwardian period.
The garden finally fell into decline from the 1980s until an enthusiastic team of volunteers began to revive it for the enjoyment of future generations.  For the 2016 summer season - 4th May to 28th September, the Walled Garden will be open to the public every Wednesday between 10.30am – 3.30pm at the cost of £5 per person.