People flock to Manor’s open gardens to boost St Luke’s

Friday 13th May 2022 11:00 am

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OVER the last 11 years £430,000 has been raised for St Luke’s Hospice from its Open Gardens and this year could be a bumper one as more than £5,000 has already been donated to the charity from the first two events.

After Gnaton Hall at Yealmpton and Bere Ferrers village garden tour in March and April, last Wednesday (May 4) it was the turn of Lewtrenchard Manor where visitors came in their droves to enjoy the gardens designed by William Sorel, complete with a sunken garden, rhododendrons and azaleas, wisteria all around the manor house and courtyard and woods carpeted in bluebells. A huge rustic dovecote and restored walled vegetable garden added to the interest.

Owner of Lewtrenchard Manor Duncan Murray said spring had well and truly arrived in the garden: ‘It’s great to see the fresh leaves on the trees and flowers starting to bloom,’ he said. ‘It is also the most normal it has felt for a long time with lots of people coming in today to see the gardens.’

Head gardener Martin Ashley was delighted to talk to visitors about how the garden produces all the fruit and vegetables used in the kitchen of the14-bed hotel from June to December.

‘We are self sufficient here for more than half of the year and grow lots of unusual and heritage varieties from white and purple carrots and pink fir apple potatoes which have a superior flavour to things like pak choi, microleaves and small white turnips like Tokys Silky which can be eaten raw. Martin said he was a wildlife friendly gardener and couldn’t bear to cut back the flowers of the purple sprouting broccoli even though the plant had finished producing as it was covered in bees.

Wayne Marshall from St Luke’s said it was great to see so many people out on a weekday and judging from the amount of visitors to the gardens already he was expecting a very good year. Open Gardens events for St Luke’s, sponsored by NFU Mutual in Plymouth, will be open in Bere Alston, Gunnislake and Harrowbarrow in the coming months, See

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