Gardening team extended for Lowther estate reopening

Lowther Castle & Gardens in the Lake District National Park has boosted its gardening team ahead of the reopening of the estate on 5 May.

Two new gardeners - Richard Gough and Martin Ogle - have joined head gardener Steve Lannin (see Interview, p15) as the 17th century gardens prepare for a formal opening to the public after more than 70 years.

Visitors will be able to see a restored stable courtyard as well as all of the gardens. Parts of the castle will open to the public later this year. The estate expects to recruit a further two gardeners in June.

Work already done has seen the clearance of around 2,000 Norway spruce trees. In addition, 4ha of lawns have been created and paths and avenues reinstated. The estate hopes to reach 100,000 visitors annually within two-to-three years.

Lowther project director Andrew Mercer said the gardens would be allowed to settle before more thought was given to how they would be presented. But he added that would it not merely be a case of restoration and the estate would have a modern look.

Immediate objectives for the gardening team include clearing the Japanese Garden, removing shrubs from the escarpment and planting new avenues of yew.

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