March Meeting and Talk ‘Restoration of Hestercombe Gardens’

MARCH TALK ‘The Restoration of Hestercombe Gardens’ by David Usher
DATE Wednesday March 22nd, 7.30pm
VENUE Uplyme Village Hall

Head Gardener for 18 years, David Usher has a unique insight into the acclaimed gardens at Hestercombe, near Taunton, Somerset. He restored them.

His illustrated talk will include the history of the garden, house and owners, the Bampfyldes in the 18th century, Portmans in the 19th, and the local authority from 1951 when the estate was taken over by the Somerset Fire Brigade.

Using old engravings as guides for the restoration, work started on identifying original features – buildings and garden plants. The lake was cleared – 17,000 tons of silt was excavated – and water flowed down the Great Cascade once again. Derelict classical temples and urns were restored to their former glory and paths made accessible. A replica of the large Victorian terrace in front of the house was built (pictured) overlooking The Great Plat, a great sunken parterre, resplendent with the bright colours specified by garden designer Gertrude Jekyll.

The famous Lutyens and Jeckyll garden, commissioned by Mrs Portman in 1903, was completely overgrown and few of the original plants had survived. Fortunately, the plans had been saved and enabled the restoration to be true to the original Edwardian garden.


Are you competing in the Summer Show this year? See Class 35: ‘A fuchsia plant grown from a young specimen distributed at the March monthly meeting. Any size pot.’ Fancy your chances nurturing a young fuchsia better than anyone else? – then collect your specimen at this meeting. See the Summer Show Schedule HERE.


Refreshments will be on offer before and after the talk.