Summer at Osterley Park
The summer is upon us and with the return of warm weather the gardens at Osterley are reaching their prime. With dazzling colours in the tranquil setting that the gardens provide, you can while away a day ambling through the formal gardens or take a relaxing stroll around the Long Walk to see nature at its very best.
Mrs Child’s Flower Garden
Sarah Child lived at Osterley between 1763 and 1793 and was a passionate gardener, filling the space in front of the Garden House with fashionable and exotic plants, which have been faithfully recreated for you to enjoy today. The Flower Garden has been designed to peak in summer, so a visit to Osterley between June and September will present you with a myriad of colour just as it would have done in the eighteenth century.
The garden features a series of flowerbeds, radiating out from the Garden House with delightful gravel paths twisting and turning through them so you can enjoy them from all angles. The flower beds would have been planted with a tall plant, shrub or tree in the center, with colourful flowers of lesser height around it.
You will find planted throughout the garden a range of campanulas, sisyrinchiums, lupins, geraniums and peony plants, sitting beside rhododendrons and other small shrubs and trees which provide this peaceful garden with variety and colour.
The Garden House
This semi-circular building, built in 1780 and designed by Robert Adam, is a fascinating feature of the gardens set amongst the borders of Mrs Child’s Flower Garden. Used to entertain guests, Mrs Child filled the Garden House with exotic scented plants, including grapes, pineapples and, according to the 1782 inventory, ‘Forty five Orange and Lemon trees in tubs’.
Constructed out of wood with the exception of the stone floor and Welsh slate roof, the building looks deceptively solid, designed to appear as if made from stone. It is adorned with stucco medallions of festive figures and Ionic pilasters and would have once had sphinxes flanking the building at each end of the parapet.
The Garden House is in need of some conservation works to return it to its former glory. These will include a series of joinery works, plaster works, repairs to the Welsh slate roof and timber balustrade, as well as some new paint work. This year, we are raising funds through the property raffle and our second hand bookshop and plant sales to help fund this vital conservation. Do talk to a member of the team to find out more about how you can help.
Tudor Walled Garden
The Tudor Walled Garden is split into various compartments, with space for our gardening team to cultivate a wide range of beautiful plants for purchase at our Second hand bookshop and a cutting garden which supplies beautiful blooms throughout the year which we display in the house and shop.
The key compartment over the summer months though is what has become known as the Ornamental Veg Garden. This, the largest compartment, is made up of four square plots in the center of the lawn and flower borders around the exterior walls. We use each plot for a number of different functions, one given over for more traditional cropping and two for a creative mix of brassicas, dahlias, antirrhinums, zinnias and amaranths, interspersed with attractive coloured forms of kale which provide us with a wonderful winter crop for use in our café. The final plot is mainly used as a pumpkin and squash patch which we harvest in time for use at our annual Hallowe’en half-term Pumpkin Festival. Set within each plot are a number of brightly painted obelisks for dramatic effect which show up brilliantly amongst all the vibrant colours the garden provides.
The Tudor Walled Garden is planted in April and we are just beginning to see it develop for the summer ahead. By July and August, it will be reaching its peak so do make sure you take a look on your next visit to Osterley.