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Time to bloom at Bushey Rose Garden

PUBLISHED: 08:31 25 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:25 20 February 2013

Time to bloom at Bushey Rose Garden

Time to bloom at Bushey Rose Garden

The historic Bushey Rose Garden is at the centre of a £1.5m renovation project to restore it back to its former glory. Catherine Feast at Hertsmere Borough Council tells us about the work

The historic Bushey Rose Garden is at the centre of a 1.5m renovation project to restore it back to its former glory. Catherine Feast at Hertsmere Borough Council tells us about the work

Whats so special about Bushey Rose Garden?
It has a lot of historic importance for Bushey and the surrounding area, not least because of the site it is on. The gardens historic significance is recognised by its inclusion in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, and several of the structures within the garden are Grade II listed buildings.

Tell us about this historic importance.
It is built on the site of the Herkomer School of Art which the Victorian artist, Sir Hubert von Herkomer (1849-1914), ran from 1883 to 1904. In 1904, Lucy Kemp-Welch (1869-1958) took over the art school and ran it as the Bushey School of Painting until Herkomer took the building back in 1912. He then had it demolished to make way for the garden.
The Rose Garden was first laid out in 1913 by landscape architect Thomas Mawson (1861-1933) and he was paid for the design by way of a portrait painted by Herkomer.
Mawson went on to become the first president of the Landscape Institute in 1939. He has left a legacy of gardens, parks and town planning worldwide.

What is in the garden?
Many of the original features of the garden remain, such as the sunken garden, summer house, fountain, rose temple and pergola. The cloisters that were once part of the art school will be reassembled in the lawn area to form a backdrop for performances.
The Fountain is built of the same unusual Bavarian tufa stone as Lululaund, the mansion built by Herkomer in 1894 in Melbourne Road, Bushey and named after his dead wife Lulu.

How did the council come to own the garden?
The council (at the time the Bushey & Urban District Council) acquired the garden from the Herkomer estate in 1937 and it has been a public garden ever since. The BUDC took a loan of 1810 and 250 for the purchase of the Rose Garden and contingent works.

Why is the renovation work needed?
Unfortunately the garden had steadily fallen into disrepair over a period of years, not least because of vandalism. Sections of the yorkstone paving had been pulled up and stolen; the summer house vandalised resulting in it being boarded up. There was also no full-time gardener there to maintain it. From now on it will be locked at night and covered by CCTV.

Who is paying for the restoration work?
The restoration is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Big Lottery Funds joint Parks for People programme and Hertsmere Borough Council. Landsberg-am-Main (Busheys twin town) and the Rotary Club are also contributing towards the project. The project total is estimated at 1.5million.

Who is carrying out the restoration work?
Firstly the council appointed professional Land Use Consultants (LUC) to help us. LUC have a wealth of experience and worked on the Eden Project and park restoration schemes such as Russell Square in London and Heaton Park in Manchester. The LUC team include experts such as landscape architects, a conservation architect, quantity surveyor and an engineer. LUC prepared the tender package and drawings for the restoration and Crispin & Borst won the tender and started on site in August 2009.

What does the restoration project entail?
The project includes restoring the original features such as the summer house, fountain, pergola, rose temple, cloister and paving; a new potting shed and toilets; new planting in keeping with the period of the garden; new seating similar to the original designed by Thomas Mawson; replacement bronze plaque and a new on-site gardener.
The gardener will work with a small team of volunteers to maintain and keep the garden to a high standard.
The garden is due to reopen on July 23 this year and therefore will have taken nearly a year.

What events are planned for the garden in the future?
There will be a wide events programme including story telling for children, live music, plays by local drama groups and local heritage days.
The garden will make an ideal outdoor classroom for school visits offering many opportunities to link in with the school curriculum. The council is working with the Bushey Museum and local schools to produce an education pack. It is expected schools will be able to visit from September 2010.

How can I find out more?
To sign up to a quarterly newsletter of the work or to join the Friends of the Rose Garden email or call 0800 731 1810
For school visits or volunteering opportunities email: or call 0800 731 1810.


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