The newly restored Victorian gardens at Myddleton House in north London could boost business for local nurseries, its head gardener has said.
The two-year £487,500 Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) restoration project at the birthplace of 20th century botanist and gardener EA Bowles was officially opened by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall last week.
As part of the HLF grant agreement entrance fees have been removed and head gardener Andrew Turvey said the policy was attracting greater visitor numbers, many of whom were spending more money and being inspired to get involved in gardening.
"I am offering tours followed by a gardener's question time, which is proving popular. Many of the people aren't gardeners but go away inspired to grow something," he said. "They are buying plants from us and I think the local nurseries will benefit too because we can't sell a full range of plants."
Turvey said he would approach local nurseries to sponsor beds in the gardens in an effort to raise funds and boost relationships with local businesses. "It's a way to provide benefits for our gardens while marketing for the local nursery."
Visitor numbers to the gardens have topped 4,500 in the month since their initial opening - just 1,000 short of the usual annual figure for the attraction. But Turvey did not anticipate extra wear because new pathways were keeping people off the grass.
Other improvement works included renovations to the original potting shed, peach house and kitchen garden as well as a new tea house and visitor centre.
Myddleton House Project contractors
Hopes Grove in Kent provided hedging and root and potted specimens, Isle of Wight firm Deacons supplied fruit trees for the peach house and kitchen garden, Paye Stonework and Restoration carried out stonemasonry work, Glebe supplied herbaceous plants and Rochfords planting provisions.