The Garden House at Osterley Park and House

The Garden House at Osterley

The work on the Garden House is complete. The vital conservation work on this historic building was made possible thanks to everyone who bought a ticket in the Special Places raffle, or visited our Second-Hand Bookshop in 2018. Head Gardener Andy Eddy told us his plans now the work is complete.

One of the delights of working for the National Trust is the value that is put on the conservation of our special buildings and this year we have been able to spend a considerable amount renovating the Grade 1 Listed, Robert Adam designed Garden House. A good proportion of this money was raised in our annual raffle and it’s been a good way of engaging with our visitors and explaining the work of the Trust. As you can see in the accompanying images this building – the focal point of Mrs Child’s Flower Garden – is now gleaming in its new set of colours and with restored windows and doors, new balustrading and leadwork on the roof.

The Garden House is open
The Garden House at Osterley with the door open and spring bulbs inside
The Garden House is open

The most pleasing aspect of this project however has been the intention to always keep this building for its original usage, that is, as a display house for the collection of rare trees and shrubs that were housed here in the 18thC.

The main type of plant that we always grow and display in this building is lemon trees as we have historic evidence that 45 lemon trees were on show here in the 1780’s. We choose to have a mixed display of other interesting specimens alongside the lemons so as to give a greater display and range of interest for our visitors. All of these plants are known to have been either at Osterley in the 18thC or to have been available to grow at that time.

Spring bulbs in the Garden House
Spring bulbs in the Garden House at Osterley
Spring bulbs in the Garden House

As you can see in the photo we always have a huge display of bulbs in pots in the spring for colour, but more importantly for scent as this enclosed space concentrates the perfume of scented plants and is especially intoxicating, particularly when we first open the windows in the morning.

We are simplifying the display this year so as to give our visitors more room to move around the space so as to fully experience the architecture and design aspects of this very important building.

We hope to build on this display in the future by removing the tender lemon tree each winter to our nursery and to then place pots of hardy trees and shrubs in here. These will have either coloured bark or scented flowers and should include daphnes, willows, dogwoods, clematis and other rare or interesting specimens. This is to build on the work that we have carried out designing our Winter Garden and so as to offer our visitors another area of display from November to March.