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Grade II listing accolade for 18th century park

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English Heritage recognition for Kelmarsh

8 April 2010

Kelmarsh Hall gardens. Image: Robert Leveritt

A 10-year project to restore the gardens of Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire has won a Grade II* listing from English Heritage, which accepted the gardens onto the Register of Parks and Gardens for the first time.

“It's thrilling to have the exceptional nature of Kelmarsh recognised at a national level,” said head gardener Esther McMillan. “We've been trying to preserve the past and the spirit of its heyday, so this registering is further proof that the gardens' conservation is vital.”

Assessors said the landscape at the 18th-century park showed layers of history, from the remnants of a lost medieval village to features dating from the garden's creation in its current form such as serpentine lakes and a triangular walled kitchen garden.

A further layer of history is provided in the planting, carried out by several leading 20th century designers including Geoffrey Jellicoe and society garden designer Norah Lindsay, who designed the 30m-long twin herbaceous borders and the long border for interior designer Nancy Lancaster in the late 1920s.

The repair of the vinery glasshouse was made possible with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant and is just part of the garden’s restoration which has reversed the decline which set in after Nancy Lancaster left Kelmarsh in the early 1950’s. The borders have been rejuvenated and replanted using a similar palette of colours to those Norah Lindsay would have used, and in the walled kitchen garden, cut flower borders have been reinstated and are now furnishing the house with fresh blooms.

Kelmarsh is one of our RHS Recommended Gardens, and is open from April until September.

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