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
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