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Gardners in Leeds to celebrate the Year of the English Garden

PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 August 2016

The summerhouse at Lotherton Hall, today

The summerhouse at Lotherton Hall, today

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September festival is part of Heritage Open Days campaign

Buckle Lane Chapel, High Royds before work beganBuckle Lane Chapel, High Royds before work began

Green-fingered folk from community allotments to private gardens and civic parks across Leeds are being encouraged to celebrate the Year of the English Garden as part of Heritage Open Days next month.

The horticultural festival, which runs from September 8th-11th, coincides with the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown and showcases some of the most stunning public and private gardens in England.

There’s also free access to the gardens and houses at a selection of National Trust properties as well as lesser-known ‘secret’ private and public green spaces and community gardening projects with fascinating stories to tell, including Lotherton Hall and High Royds Memorial Chapel & Garden, both in West Yorkshire.

Loyd Grossman, patron of Heritage Open Days, said: ‘This is a great opportunity to showcase the hidden histories behind the green spaces. From formal, prize-winning horticultural landscaping, to allotments, pub gardens and community planting projects, every gardener has a story to tell.’

Buckle Lane Memorial Gardens, High Royds todayBuckle Lane Memorial Gardens, High Royds today

Visitors will be able to see the newly-restored summer house in Lotherton Hall’s Edwardian gardens, and will have the chance to speak to Heritage Lottery-funded Re-Making Leeds trainees involved in the restoration.

Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for employment, enterprise and opportunity, said: ‘There’s no doubt that their hard work and attention to detail right through this project has paid off massively. It’s brilliant to see the summerhouse now returned to its former glory.’

The Lotherton estate, on the outskirts of Leeds, has undergone numerous changes in the last few years. The servants’ rooms in the main Edwardian house have reopened following major restoration and the upper floor has been transformed into a wonderful fashion gallery.

High Royds Memorial Chapel & Garden in Ilkley has also undergone something of a metamorphosis in recent years.

The paupers’ graveyard, which closed in 1969, was restored in 2011 to create a tranquil garden of remembrance. Details of the 2,861 people buried there – many of them patients from High Royds Psychiatric Hospital, which closed in 2003 – are recorded at the neighbouring chapel, providing a poignant memorial to those who have gone before and an informative tool in the campaign to remove the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health.

A special thanksgiving service will be held at 4pm on Sunday September 11th to commemorate the restoration, which also included the replacement of a bronze memorial plaque featuring the names of High Royds’ staff who gave their lives in the two world wars; and the creation of a wild flower garden by students from St Mary’s Academy in Menston, supported by a grant from Tesco and lot of professional advice.

If you would like more information, all the Heritage Open Days events are listed at heritageopendays.org.uk

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