Benington Lordship Continues Support for NGS
Benington Lordship is hidden in one of Hertfordshire’s prettiest villages and it has been opening its grounds to the public in aid of the National Gardens Scheme since 1927 when the scheme first started. In those days the simple idea behind the NGS was to ask individuals to open their private gardens to the public for 'a shilling a head'. In the first year 609 gardens opened and raised over £8,000. A network of volunteer County Organisers was created and by 1931 over 1,000 private gardens opened to the public. This year 54 will be opening in Hertfordshire of which 17 will be opening for the first time.
To thank the Lordship for the support it has given the NGS they have been presented with a tree by County Organiser for Hertfordshire, Julie Wise. This is their second tree to mark more than 80 years of opening.
During the presentation Julie said: “Benington Lordship has provided me, and thousands of others, with inspiration and enjoyment over many years and I would like to thank them for all their continuing support. Since they first opened they have raised more than £20,000 for us which is a fantastic achievement”.
Since 2005, The Lordship has been in the ownership of Richard and Susanna Bott and it was Richard’s great grandfather, Arthur Bott, who, in 1905, bought the estate. He and his wife, Lillian, set about major redevelopment work. His great aunt, Miss Marjorie Bott, was NGS county organiser for Hertfordshire from 1965-72. In 1970 Arthur’s grandson Harry and his wife Sarah, moved into the Lordship and they began sympathetic restoration work in the garden.
It is interesting to note that Lillian, Marjorie and Sarah were all driving forces and threw a great deal of time and energy into the gardens. Today Susanna continues to be very actively interested in the garden, although the demands of a young family mean her time is limited.
For the last 20 years they have been blessed with the same gardener, Richard Webb, who trained at Cannington and then worked as an under-gardener at the Abbey Gardens in Tresco, Isles of Scilly, before moving on to growing vegetables and then to the Lordship. Richard continues the tradition of allowing the garden to merge into the hillside to be in sympathy with nature. He is also very keen on birds and, among other things, he has installed 15 boxes for Barn Owls on the estate.
They also have other gardening help one day a week and Sarah still tends the borders while Susanna works in the rose garden. All this hard work can be enjoyed when they open to the public and this hidden treasure is revealed.
The gardens at Benington Lordship are open during February for the snowdrops and winter flowers; Easter weekend; May bank holiday weekends; Sunday 15 May and for the Chilli Festival during August Bank Holiday weekend. They open for the National Gardens Scheme during Floral Festival Weekend which is Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June from noon to 6pm.
For further information about openings visit their website: www.beningtonlordship.co.uk or telephone 01438 869668
For more information about gardens opening for the National Gardens Scheme visit www.ngs.org.uk or telephone 01483 211535