Spring opening for Florencecourt Gardens restoration

FLORENCE COURT House is on course for a Spring opening to show off to the world their newly-restored glass houses.
A revamp of the kitchen gardens was, back in 2014, the brainchild of the late David Corscadden who was Florence Court House’s senior gardener before he passed away last June.
The project involved the restoration of the walled garden that has seen a number of volunteers come in every week to give a helping hand in making the grounds bloom with both flowers and vegetables – not to mention apple trees.
Also being restored are the Glass Houses which were integral to the walled garden before World War Two but had fallen to a dilapidated state over the years.
The Covid period ensured that the project’s cost went from £568,385 to £680,635 thanks to the delay in re-starting the project after lockdown as well as the rising costs for building materials.
However, early Spring next year has been earmarked for the newly-restored walled garden’s launch.
Senior Project Co-ordinator, Kathy Dunphy, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the Florence Court Kitchen Garden Project is well underway.
“Work is ongoing to stabilise the brick wall, build the foundations, and prepare for the delivery and construction of the two glasshouses, due for completion this year.
“The project has been a while in the making, starting in 2012 with a small number of volunteers. Today we have around 20 passionate volunteers who look after the garden as you see it now.
“One of the glasshouses will be used for horticultural production, with the aim of growing similar crops and plants to those that would have been in the garden in the 1930s.
“The second glasshouse will be developed as a space for community activity and volunteer learning. This sustainable community hub will encourage a wide range of people to explore the garden’s rich heritage.
“We have been blessed with the support of our local community and placement volunteers from Europe, as well as welcoming in community, corporate and school groups to participate in our activity programme.
“Fresh produce is available on site at the Visitor Centre, and anything sold goes back into supporting the garden development.”
Funding from other organisations has proved to be a massive boost in helping the project near its completion.
Kathy added: “As well as continuous hard work from volunteers, the project has been supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage and Community funds, Landfill Community Fund, and some other donations.
“In April 2019, Florence Court received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £374,800 for a project to restore the Kitchen Garden.
“A further People and Communities grant of £37,808 from National Lottery Community Fund has provided opportunities for the community and volunteers to engage with their local heritage through a range of activities, including apple pruning, flower arranging, jam and chutney making, as well as opportunities for training and development.
“We plan to have our launch in the early spring when this phase of the project is complete.”

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The summer house at Florencecourt House estate has been destroyed by fire


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