Sir Roy Strong bequeaths The Laskett Gardens to Perennial, safeguarding them for the next generation

Historian, writer and garden designer Sir Roy Strong, has agreed to bequeath The Laskett Gardens to Perennial. The Laskett Gardens, which cover some four acres, have been described as the largest formal gardens to be created in England since 1945.

Dougal Phillip, Chair of Perennial’s Board of Trustees, says,

“Perennial’s history lies in the great gardens of England. The charity was set up by the custodians of gardens of national importance as a pension fund for those who had dedicated their lives to caring for them. Today, in addition to continuing to support all those who work in or have worked in horticulture, Perennial maintains and cares for late 20th century gardens of note. We are delighted to have been offered the opportunity to carry out Sir Roy’s wishes to preserve the integrity of his outstanding garden for future generations.”

Sir Roy Strong and his late wife, the designer Julia Trevelyan Oman purchased the house and the undeveloped four acre site in Herefordshire in 1973. Inspired by the great gardens before 1914 such as Hidcote, by those of baroque Italy and of Tudor and Stuart England, they embarked on designing and planting the incredible garden visible today. This is a garden of rooms underpinned by dramatic vistas and elements of surprise which draw the visitor through the terrain, which uniquely abounds with autobiographical and historical references.

Speaking about his decision to leave his Gardens to Perennial, Sir Roy says,

“It is no secret that the creation of the Gardens was a shared passion with my late wife and that they will remain a monument to a marriage. Now that we have opened to the public that passion is shared with the thousands of visitors each year which we welcome. I am heartened that that will continue and also that the Gardens will continue to change and develop in the future. I see it not only as a bequest to Perennial but also to the county of Herefordshire.”

The garden will be left to Perennial with a generous endowment to ensure its maintenance for years to come. The charity will continue to open the garden to visitors for periods of the year, as it does its two other open gardens, York Gate near Leeds and Fullers Mill Garden in Suffolk.

Speaking about the opportunity offered to the charity by Sir Roy, Perennial’s Chief Executive Richard Capewell says,

“We have a particular interest in looking after gardens to benefit horticulture and their local communities. Sir Roy has stressed the importance of his garden to the county of Herefordshire and his wish is that it should be used for training purposes as well as to be continually enjoyed by visitors. We are looking forward to working with Sir Roy over the coming years in order to preserve his garden in the spirit of its creation and to ensure its survival for many generations to come. We thank Sir Roy Strong for affording us the opportunity.”

Sir Roy Strong continues,

“I am thrilled, as I reach my 80th birthday, that a plan for The Laskett’s future has been secured. I have supported the work of Perennial for many years and see this new partnership as a wonderful extension of my continued love of gardens and those who dedicate their time to serve them.”

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The Laskett Gardens are one of the largest private formal gardens to be created in England since 1945. Over almost four decades the historian, Sir Roy Strong, and his late wife, the designer Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman, transformed a four acre field into a series of stunning garden rooms, vistas, ascents and descents. These include a rose garden, pleached lime avenue, orchard, knot garden, fountains, statuary and parterres as well as the Colonnade Court and a spectacular array of topiary and rich herbaceous and prairie style borders. Uniquely, the garden tells the story of both their marriage and their creative lives in the arts.

Situated between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye, the Gardens are open to pre-booked groups of 20 or more. Admission is £12 per person including a decorative plan and audio guide.

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Perennial offers free, confidential advice and support to everyone working in or retired from horticulture and their families, including gardeners, landscapers, nursery and garden centre staff, parks and grounds care staff and tree surgeons. People turn to Perennial for financial and emotional help in times of need because of disability, sickness, poverty, financial hardship and old age – although increasingly younger people are seeking their assistance. Many individuals describe the services Perennial offers as a ‘lifeline’. The work of Perennial depends entirely on voluntary donations from the horticultural industry and the garden-loving public.

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