Luton Hoo Walled Garden was the place to be at the weekend as people from far and wide poured through its ornate gates .
Thanks to Heritage Open Days, visitors enjoyed a rare stroll round the 250 year-old-treasure, designed by Capability Brown for the third Earl of Bute and currently being restored to its former glory.
They were able to step back in time to see some of the fascinating tools used on the estate during the last century as well as several plants grown when the Earl was around.
This year marks the tercentary of the birth of Lord Bute who was prime minister under King George 111 and who was instrumental in establishing of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
Co-ordinator Charlotte Phillip said: “It was lovely to see so many people with a genuine interest in the garden and its history.
“We very much hope they came away with a much greater appreciation and understanding of the man who was not only important to our garden, but whose legacy can still be seen in Luton today.
“For example how many Lutonians know that several streets in the town are named after him, or places where he lived – like Bute Street, Stuart Street and Rothesay Road?”
She added: “It’s interesting to note that he was a very unpopular figure in his day but we want to celebrate the very positive contribution he made to 18th Century learning as a botanist, collector and student of national history.”
The Society of Botanical Artists is staging a special tercentary exhibition at Luton Hoo Walled Garden from October 30 – November 6.
Its members have each been asked to submit an illustation of a plant from Lord Bute’s archive. There will also be a talk by Maureen Lazarus from the National Museum of Wales. She is an authority of Bute’s Botanical Tables.
The annual Pumpkin and Apple Gala will take place on Saturday, October 12.
Its central wow factor is the wild and wonderful display of hundreds of pumpkins, squashes and gourds turned into objects of art by children from local primary and secondary schools as well as Cubs and Brownies and a group from Keech Hospice Care.
In addition the London Vegetable Orchestra will be performing old favourites like Gourd Golly Miss Molly, Pump(kin) Up the Jam, Swede Caroline and Twist and Sprout on instruments crafted out of vegees.
There are activities galore including Morris dancers, ferret racing, working dogs and a farmers’ market as well as all sorts of apple drinks and eats. All funds raised will go towards the garden’s restoration.
Tickets cost £7 for adults, £3 for children under 16 and £5 for concessions. Reduced price advanced family tickets at £12 are available from the website.
> For more information go to www.lhwg.org.uk