Happy Easter and Welcome to the 2018 season at Houghton Lodge Gardens!!!! We have done so much over the winter and hope you enjoy your time here.
We have been caught out badly by the weather, and our carefully timed plans to complete our improvements and also our new tourist accommodation, was fraughted firstly by the snow, and secondly by the torrential rain we have had over the last few weeks. Give us three dry days, and a bit of luck, we will finish the landscaping and restore Houghton Lodge Gardens to its normal glorious self.
We have finished the tourist accommodation houghtonlodge.co.uk/applerooms but still need to do some landscaping in front of them, particularly we have had to renew a soak away which proved unequal to the task and the first lot of grass seed we put on the bare areas of earth was either washed away or rotted.
We have put a new water main into the house and the tourist accommodation, as the previous pipes, which dated from the 1880s, with 1950s modifications, had failed (alarming water bill!). We have also put a duct in to bring Virgin Media’s fibre optic cables to Houghton Lodge which we know will be to the benefit of all here (promised for Autumn 2018). We have also increased the electricity supply to 415 volt 3 phase, which will be a huge benefit to the tearoom and the previous problems over insufficient electricity supply will hopefully be just a distant and unhappy memory! All these services share the same trench but annoyingly we have not been able to backfill the trench in time for opening or we would have made even more of a muddy mess.
We have had to increase the capacity of the rainwater drainage as the previous system was incapable of coping with the higher number of deluges we are getting these days and the bottom of the lawn was struggling so we have instigated a new system of drainage on the lawn which will hopefully intercept the water running down from the grotto and convey it away without it pooling. You may notice that the very unsightly plastic gutters have been replaced by larger seamless aluminium.
Please rest assured that while there is some short term pain for our visitors (and us!) it will be long term gain.
The gardening team have worked so hard this winter to present the gardens the best we have ever seen them since we can remember. Thousands of bulbs have been planted, we have replanted the Well Border, the ancient roses have been renovated and artistically pruned on the walls of the walled garden, we have introduced 50 specialist species roses in the outer garden to scramble up into our glorious trees, we are about to plant a new hosta bed by the fruit cages. Our ‘Passion’ wild flower seed is due to go in imminently, and 6 dozen fantastic varieties of sweet peas arrive next week courtesy of Jim McDonald! We have never seen the garden looking so well mulched. This year our daffodils are going to equal the displays of former glory years, and the raised beds look so promising with jaunty violas and the mini tulip festival is only a few weeks away!
We are delighted that Honesty are taking the tearooms again-we have missed them and their amazing coffee and delicious foods over the closed season!
We hope you have a lovely visit here and that you will come back (hopefully in better weather) and see the improvements as they develop.
Daniel and Sophie