Florence Court has received a grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £374,800 for an exciting project to restore the Kitchen Garden in the estate’s Walled Garden to its 1930s character and atmosphere.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will see the reinstatement of two glasshouses on the footprint of the two original glass structures revealed in archaeological excavations carried out by the Trust in 2014.
Two new glasshouses to take central stage
One of the new glasshouses will be dedicated to horticultural production and the second will provide a sheltered space for volunteer learning and community use. The garden will also be returned to full horticultural production in empathy with its historic planting schemes.
Commenting on the news Jim Chestnutt, General Manager in Fermanagh said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to have secured funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fun for this project which aims to attract and involve the community and volunteers with their heritage through the restoration of Florence Court`s historic 2-acre Kitchen Garden by reinstating the two glasshouses demolished in the 1970s and the horticultural restoration of the planting schemes.
‘The funding will also provide vital support for the delivery of an exciting activities programme to engage a far reaching and diverse audience with this special place. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Florence Court during the delivery of this two-year project as the glasshouses and garden takes shape.’
A historic horticultural hub
At peak production, from the late 1890s up to World War II, twelve full-time gardeners would have worked in the Kitchen Garden, the produce from which provided valued crops for the House and wider estate. The garden and glasshouses fell into decline following the departure of the last Head Gardener in 1947. In 1995 the Walled Garden was transferred into the care of the National Trust who recreated the Upper Rose Garden and restored the apple orchard.
The new project to reinstate the two glasshouses is the final part of the restoration of the Walled Garden to its 1930s arrangement and will provide an opportunity for the community and volunteers to engage with their local heritage.
Activity and learning programme
A comprehensive interpretation, activity and learning programme will support the project engaging a diverse range of audiences with the garden and wider estate. It’s hoped that the resulting growth in community and volunteering involvement will establish Florence Court’s Kitchen Garden as a vibrant and sustainable community hub, and will further enhance Florence Court`s wider appeal to local communities and international visitors alike.