Snowdrops at Kingston Lacy

Snowdrops flowering in the garden at Kingston Lacy Dorset ©National Trust / Images James Dobson

Kingston lacy, a National Trust estate near Wimborne, Dorset, is famous for its snowdrop display.  The snowdrop walk stretches through the 40-acre garden for one and a half miles.  Even without the cold weather needed to encourage the snowdrops to bloom the team are still expecting a good display throughout late January and February.

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Christmas lights up with a new illuminating tradition at Kingston Lacy

For the first time, visitors to Kingston Lacy will be able to enjoy an illuminated Christmas trail as part of a month-long celebration of the season’s traditions. With extended opening hours seven days a week, the team at Kingston Lacy is continuing the spirit of the Bankes family by inviting visitors to explore and create new traditions and memories with friends, family and loved ones. Continue reading…

Tree work being carried out on Beech Avenue at Kingston Lacy

Kingston Lacy beech avenue (c) National Trust

Kingston Lacy beech avenue (c) National Trust

 Some more remedial tree surgery is due to start shortly on the famous Beech Avenue at Kingston Lacy.

 The surgery will be carried out to 16 trees on the 180-year-old avenue – as well as removing one tree which was toppled in the storms at New Year. The work is due to start on Monday 10 February and will involve the use of traffic control on the B3082 past Badbury Rings. Continue reading…

Duke of Wellington’s tree at Kingston Lacy

The National Trust owns more old and significant trees than any other organisation in the UK including some of international importance such as the Tolpuddle Martyr’s tree or Newton’s apple tree and takes the responsibility of looking after these very seriously. The Trust spends significant resources every year surveying these trees and carrying out work to enhance their useful lives and many staff and external arboricultural consultants and contractors are involved with this.  However for various reasons and no matter how important they are, it is not possible to keep all trees indefinitely but the need to make difficult decisions like the one to remove the Duke of  Wellington’s cedar at Kingston Lacy are fortunately very rare. 

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Historic Glasshouses restored at Kingston Lacy

Some of the historic glasshouses in the Kitchen Garden at Kingston Lacy are being restored thanks to a grant of £38,345 from Local Action Group Sowing Seeds.

Work being carried out on the Orchid House (c) National Trust

Work being carried out on the Orchid House (c) National Trust

The buildings had fallen into disrepair with rotten frames and broken glass meaning that part of the Kitchen Garden could not be opened to the public.

But now the National Trust at Kingston Lacy has started work to restore some of the glasshouses and bring them back into use.

The glasshouses are adjacent to the 118 Growing Spaces community allotment plots which has allocated spaces for local families and individuals, as well as community groups and schools.

The award of the grant has enabled two of the glasshouses – one of them a ‘sunken’ glass house – to be restored along with the small boiler house and cold frames, creating a new public area in the Kitchen Garden.

The users of the community growing spaces will use the glasshouses to cultivate seedlings and grow crops previously unavailable to them.

Andrew Hunt, the National Trust’s Head Gardener at Kingston Lacy said: “The grant is good news in allowing us to restore the glasshouses and we will also be able to use them to support the growing spaces and for part of our garden training and formal education programmes.

“We want to make a difference, help our users learn more gardening techniques from seed propagation through to fruit and vegetable cultivation and stock.”

Work has already started on the buildings including an attempt to save a 100 year old Wisteria growing on the Orchid House. The plant has been pruned back and supported on a specially made frame.

“Saving the Wisteria is quite a challenge but we will try to keep it. We will also take similar care to keep as many features of the original buildings as we can – and restore others, such as replacing modern concrete tiles with recycled Victorian clay tiles,” added Andrew.

In the sunken glasshouse, overgrown ivy has been removed and the walls are being dismantled brick by brick so they can be rebuilt. Door frames have also been carefully dismantled so the new timbers can be made to match the originals closely.

The local community groups who use the kitchen garden are helping with some of the work, clearing the old ivy and will be helping to paint once the building work is complete.

“We are following the development of the Kitchen Garden in the Victorian era with this restoration. It would have started as a modest vegetable plot and then developed and grown with the addition of the glasshouses allowing the cultivation of rare plants and for plants to be grown throughout the year. Thanks to the grant allowing this work, our residents of the growing spaces plots will be able to grow a greater range of produce and for longer periods of time replicating that of a Victorian gardener when glasshouses were first introduced.”

Surplus from the plots is sold through the Kingston Lacy Kitchen Garden’s vegetable shop for the benefit of the individual plot owners. Already more than half of the visitors to Kingston Lacy visit the Kitchen Garden and Growing Spaces plots

Join in and help restore the glasshouses. There are open have a go sessions were visitors can join the National Trust building team to help reinstate the pointing on one of the glasshouses. 30 August and 6 September between 2pm and 4pm. No booking required.

More information is available on www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingstonlacy