Tuesday 7 June saw the official opening of Hever Castle’s new garden exhibition Astor’s Garden Legacy by gardening celebrity, Rachel de Thame. Held on the Loggia with the stunning backdrop of the Lake and Italian Garden, over 60 guests attended the launch including the owners of Hever Castle & Gardens, the Guthrie Family, as well as many dignitaries and councillors.
In her speech, Rachel de Thame commented that “it’s [the exhibition] perfect, it really will add greatly to the experience of visiting the garden. There’s masses of information, but it’s accessible; there’s something for all ages, for all levels of expertise.”
Rachel went on to praise the way the displays bring to life the history of how William Waldorf Astor created the gardens: “the exhibition is brilliant for showing how that was achieved – so much in such a short time. It highlights the extraordinary feats of engineering and the efforts involved, not since Capability Brown moved hills and re-routed rivers has such an ambitious reordering of nature taken place to become a reality…”
Launched to coincide with VisitEngland’s ‘Year of the English Garden’, Astor’s Garden Legacy brings the rich heritage of the Hever Castle gardens to life. Tracing the restoration and development of the gardens from Tudor times to the present day, this interactive garden exhibition fuses archive imagery and informative display panels with modern technology.
The exhibition is housed in a refurbished 19th century potting shed located next to the Courtyard Shop. Prior to the renovation, the shed was used by the gardeners to store their tools. Visitors to Astor’s Garden Legacy will glean fascinating insights such as:
- Hever Castle & Gardens was subject to two devastating floods, in 1958 and 1968
- William Waldorf Astor spent over £1 million creating the gardens and lake (in excess of £110 million in today’s money)
- The 38-acre lake was hand dug by 800 men over just two years
Astor’s Garden Legacy is a permanent display which gives visitors a rare insight into the design and creation of the stunning Hever Castle gardens. Entrance to the garden exhibition is included in the normal admission price, please visit the website for more details.