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Lights, Camera, Action

Victoria ITV

Harewood has regularly been used as a backdrop for filming; this winter is no different! During December and on into spring, Harewood will be used as a location for new ITV drama, Victoria, which will air on ITV. The ambitious 8-part drama follows the early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of 18, through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who, Death Comes to Pemberley, Dancing on the Edge) will star as a young Queen Victoria.

Jenna Coleman said: “I am delighted to be cast as Queen Victoria in this ambitious drama of her life. She is a vivid, strong, inspirational and utterly fascinating woman in British history and I can’t wait to tell her story.

BAFTA-nominated actor Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle, Parade’s End, The Pillars of the Earth) has been cast alongside Jenna Coleman in the series.

Rufus Sewell stars as Lord Melbourne, Victoria’s first prime minister. The two immediately connected and their intimate friendship became a popular source of gossip that threatened to destabilise the Government – angering both Tory and Whigs alike.

Jenna and Rufus are joined by a stellar ensemble cast including Paul Rhys (The Assets, Borgia, Being Human) as Sir John Conroy, the ambitious controller of the Duchess of Kent’s household, who controlled Victoria’s upbringing, hoping to rule through her, when she came to the throne. Peter Firth (Spooks, Undeniable, World Without End) is the Queen’s conniving uncle the Duke of Cumberland and Catherine Flemming (Simones Labyrinth, No Place to Go) plays the Duchess of Kent, Queen Victoria’s mother.

Eve Myles (You, Me & Them, Broadchurch, Torchwood) plays Mrs Jenkins, the Queen’s senior dresser and Adrian Schiller (Suffragette, Residue, Endeavour) is Penge, the Household Steward. Nichola McAuliffe (Agatha Raisin: The Quiche of Death, Coronation Street) is the ruthless Duchess of Cumberland, Daniela Holtz (Phoenix, Der Verdacht) is Victoria’s governess and confidante Baroness Lehzen, and Nell Hudson (Outlander, Call the Midwife, Les Bohemes) plays the mysterious new member of the household, Miss Skerrett. Tommy-Lawrence Knight (The Sarah Jane Adventures) also joins the royal household as the hall boy, Brodie.

Nigel Lindsay (You, Me and the Apocalypse, The Tunnel, The Fear) is Sir Robert Peel, the leader of the Tory party. Alice Orr-Ewing (The Theory of Everything, Pramface) is cast as Lady Flora Hastings, lady-in-waiting to Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent.

Mammoth Screen, producers of Poldark (BBC One) and Endeavour (ITV), and the series is created and written by acclaimed novelist Daisy Goodwin, in her screenwriting debut.

The series will open with a 90-minute episode, followed by 7 one-hour episodes. Tom Vaughan (Doctor Foster, He Knew He Was Right, Starter For Ten) opens the series as director and Paul Frift (Doctor Who, That Day We Sang, Room at the Top) will produce the landmark series.

See ITV Press for more details.

A Celebration of English Gardens 2016

Treasure Houses of England

In 2016 The Treasure Houses of England will be marking the 300th anniversary of ‘Capability’ Brown and celebrating the English Garden. Visitors can enjoy ten of the most magnificent stately homes, castles and palaces each with its own unique garden and parkland to explore.

Celebrate the English Garden at Beaulieu. This ‘beautiful place’ has a variety of antique and modern gardens to visit. From the Victorian Flower Garden, created in recognition of the Victorians’ interest in plants and gardens, to the Ornamental Kitchen Garden which houses and abundance of apple and pear trees, potted figs and lemons, hedges of yew and purple beech as well as a traditional vegetable garden. Enjoy the manicured lawns of Palace House which contrasts with the informal Wilderness Garden, dating back to the 1700s. Beaulieu provides a colourful and varied day out for garden lovers.

Blenheim Palace sits within 2,000 acres of Capability Brown landscape. Visitors can expect an exciting calendar of activity including specialist garden tours, a new temporary exhibition, self-guided trail and guided walks. Opening in February 2016 the new temporary exhibition will share ‘Capability’ Brown’s work at Blenheim Palace across the 11 years he was commissioned (1763 – 1774) through detailed accounts of how he designed and executed such a masterpiece through photography, drawings, equipment and costumes with a selection of never-been-seen-before elements.  There are 13 key vistas that will be marked out at Blenheim Palace in the ‘Capability’ Brown trail; these allow visitors to see the best examples of Brown’s designs around the Parkland. Visitors will also be able to enjoy carriage rides in the Parkland on selected summer dates.

Celebrating ‘Capability’ Brown’s longest commission, which included not only landscape gardening, but also architecture, Burghley is undergoing an extensive restoration to restore the original views and vistas he created. By re-creating the natural look visitors will be able to enjoy Brown’s landscaping vision in all its glory in time for his tercentenary, which is also being marked with a host of events and activities. Visitors can enjoy new self-guided tours of the major elements, a special exhibition staged within the House as well as a series of lectures and special group tours that will offer more in-depth exploration of Brown’s landscape and architectural designs during his 20-year association with Burghley.

Castle Howard sits in 1,000 acres of breath-taking parkland in the rolling Howardian Hills. Meander through woodland and along lakeside terraces which offer spectacular view of temples, follies and the imposing Atlas Fountain. The formal 18th century walled garden is a haven of tranquillity with herbaceous borders filled with English country garden favourites, a carp pond and shaped hornbeam hedges. In the rose garden a fine collection of roses ramble up the wall and over archways filling the garden with perfume and colour in the summer. In the ornamental vegetable garden, sweet pea wigwams sit amongst vegetable patches filled with traditional crops from runner beans and cauliflowers to rhubarb, strawberries and more.

Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105 acre Chatsworth garden continues to change today. There is plenty to discover at every turn, including permanent sculptures to be found. The garden is famous for its rich history, historic and modern waterworks and sculptures, the Victorian rock garden and the maze. From the famous waterworks which include the 300 year old Cascade, the Squirting Willow Tree Fountain and the impressive gravity-fed Emperor Fountain, to the Maze, Rockery, Rose, Cottage and Kitchen Gardens. There are also over five miles of walks with rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds to discover.

Harewood House will celebrate the magnificent landscape gardener, ‘Capability’ Brown with an interesting calendar of activities including a new temporary exhibition ‘Art of Landscape, which will run from 25th March – 30th November. The exhibition will celebrate the influence that Brown has extended to some of Britain’s most well-known artists. Showing works from great masters who have engaged intimately with the vistas created by Brown, visitors will be able to see watercolours of Harewood, produced in the late eighteenth century by celebrated artists including JMW Turner, Cotman, and Girtin will be displayed alongside photographs by pioneering Victorian photographer Roger Fenton, who captured the Brownian views in 1860. A contemporary response by Simon Warner will take visitors through the landscape in a new film titled “North and South”. The Art of Landscape presents a full and fresh assessment of the cultural influence of the “Capability” Brown design at Harewood.

Enjoy a celebration of the Formal Gardens at Hatfield House. The West Garden contains a Knot Garden styled to an Elizabethan design, a glorious parterre, topiary, planted borders and many fantastic flowers and shrubs. Discover the Old Palace Garden which is an intricate design, bordered by box and containing a mini-maze in one of its four sections. This garden or parterre was originally surrounded on all sides. From the Pleached Lime Walk through to the Sundial Garden, visitors can also enjoy The East Garden which is open one day per week; The East Garden was laid out by the 5th Marquess of Salisbury. This part of the Garden has elegant parterres, topiary and rare plants are a delight for the gardening enthusiast and for those wishing to spend a quiet time in idyllic surroundings.

An exciting project is underway at Holkham Hall to restore the 6 acres of walled gardens which were originally laid out by Samuel Wyatt during the late 1700s. Step through Venetian iron-work gates into one of the seven rooms whose walls within the gardens act as a windbreak and reflect the sun to create a gentle microclimate. In Victorian times these gardens would have provided a constant and varied supply of food and decoration to the hall; today Holkham’s modern vegetable garden provides produce for the family’s kitchen whilst a newly planted vineyard will provide fruits for grape juice and the table, once established. At the far end of the gardens one room has been laid to lawn with surrounding flower beds and will be the venue of the annual Holkham Plant Fair.

Leeds Castle is set within 500 acres of beautiful grounds, of which the beautiful Culpeper Garden is a must-visit. Designed by one of the greatest garden designers of the 20th Century, Russell Page the garden takes its name partly from Sir Thomas Culpeper, who bought the Castle in 1632, and partly from Nicholas Culpeper, the 17th century herbalist. The Culpeper Garden was originally the site of the castle’s kitchen garden; however in 1980 Page transformed it into a large cottage garden. With its informal layout and low box hedges as a border this very English garden features Roses, Lupins, Poppies and Lads’ Love, with exotic blooms mixed in to create a profusion of colour and scent. In 2016, the Gardening Team will continue to develop the Culpeper Garden, adding new plants to boost the variety of species and colour for visitors to feast their eyes on, particularly worth a visit in early summer when the garden is fragrant and at its tallest.

Woburn Abbey’s tranquil Abbey Gardens are open for everyone to enjoy the brilliance of Humphry Repton’s original designs. Visitors can enjoy approximately 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments: from manicured lawns and colourful flower beds to peaceful woodland glades and ponds teeming with life.  Discover the Cone House, recently reconstructed with reference to historic plans for a menagerie in the Abbey grounds. Also, the Bog Garden with its carnivorous plants is beautiful in all seasons, and the Doric Temple, which was carefully restored last year, exudes romance and elegance. There are many other features to see as well, and the gardens are constantly evolving as restoration work continues.

Behind the Scenes – Winter Projects 2016

View of Harewood House in autumn

We’re often asked why Harewood House closes to the public during the winter months. There are in fact, a number of projects that we are unable to complete when the doors are open to the public. This winter is no different! The team are busy delivering a whole host of activities to ensure that the House, grounds and Bird Garden are maintained. Here’s a snippet of what’s going on behind the scenes.

In the House:

Cleaning the Libraries at Harewood House, Yorkshire

Cleaning the Libraries at Harewood House, Yorkshire

Protecting the fabric of Harewood House and the collections we manage takes a huge amount of work and planning. The simplest task like dusting the top of a bookshelf requires scaffolding! Cleaning the floors is another challenge. To remove a delicate carpets from the State Rooms can take up to 10 members of staff over an hour. Only then can our expert housekeepers polish the entire floor. These are all jobs that form part of the winter cleaning schedule which is a rolling programme of work completed during our closed season.

In the Gardens:

Visit the Terrace at Harewood in Yorkshire

A view of the Terrace at Harewood

Our gardeners are now hard at work preparing the borders for the harsh winter months. On the Terrace, 3 members of staff and 8 volunteers removed 20,000 bedding plants and replaced them with spring bulbs ready for the 2016 season. Heavily scented hyacinth and violas form part of the planting scheme visitors will be able to enjoy.

Caring for our trees is another important aspect of winter maintenance programme in the grounds. Each year a survey is conducted which informs the work that we need to complete. Our specialists consider the condition of the individual trees, their location, hazards, disease, storm damage and any areas of dead wood which may need to be removed. All these aspects are taken into account before tree surgeons climb scale these magnificent plants and make sure they are in the best possible condition.

In the Bird Garden:

Harewood House in Leeds maintains trees

Tree clearing in the Bird Garden

The Bird Garden is undergoing a major change this winter with tree clearing and maintenance starting off this exciting project. We are in the process of finalising plans for an enhanced bird collection, aviary repair work and more. Watch this space for updates throughout the winter months!

These are just some of the activities which take place behind the scenes when we are closed. They form a very important function to protect, maintain and develop Harewood House Trust for future generations.

Tree Story

Autumn landscape at Harewood created by Capability Brown

As the dark nights draw in and the leaves begin to change, views across Harewood’s landscape become a vivid autumn spectacle. The red, orange and yellow leaves provide a vibrant display throughout October and November.

With 850 acres of managed woodland, there are hundreds of trees under Harewood’s care. From the creation of the “Capability” Brown parkland to modern events like the Tour de France, these trees have presided over much of Harewood’s history. Here are a few trees for you to look out for on your next visit.

  • The Tallest Grand Fir in Yorkshire:
    Harewood is home to Yorkshire’s tallest Grand Fir growing in the Lakeside Gardens (SE of the Cascade beside the path towards the Walled Garden). This tree was last measured at 36m tall or 118ft!
  • Our Oldest Trees:
    Exactly which is the oldest tree on the Estate is difficult to say. What we do know, is that along the Lakeside Path, two, beautiful, native trees reside which were planted around the same time as the “Capability” Brown parkland was design in the late 18th century. The striking Beech and Oak trees can be found just before the Walled Garden and are at least 250 years old.
  • Fairy Tree: Did you know Harewood has a magical tree which is home to a family of fairies? The grand old Oak stands proudly on the water’s edge of the Lake. If children walk up really quietly, they might just see a fairy busy tidying their house!
  • Head Gardener’s One to Watch:
    Choosing just one tree for you to look out for was no easy task for our Head Gardener, Trevor Nicholson. After some persuasion, it was decided that the Black Walnut tree, which sits alongside the Ice Cream Kiosk, is the one for you to find. As autumn flourishes, the leaves on this beautiful tree become a striking gold which you simply cannot miss!

We hope you can join us to see this wonderful, autumnal display. Enjoy the crisp air, warm sunshine and crunchy leaves as you explore everything autumn has to offer at Harewood.

Garden Tips from Harewood

Head Gardener, Trevor Nicholson, in the Walled Garden at Harewood

Head Gardener, Trevor Nicholson with fresh produce grown in the Walled Garden

September is a busy month in the gardens. From harvesting and weeding to spring planting, there’s plenty to be getting on with! Here are a few helpful tips from our Gardens Team to help you on your way.

De-seed perennial weeds:
To help stop the spread of perennial weeds, it’s a good idea to remove the seed heads in September.

Apply mulch after rain:
With so much to do, it’s a good idea to apply mulch to your beds after a heavy rain shower. It keeps the moisture in and give you a little more time to think about next year’s planting.

Harvesting vegetable crops:
For allotments owners and veg growers now is a wonderful time of year. All that hard work has paid off and you can enjoy the fruits, potatoes and onions of your labour.

Order your spring bulbs:
Now is the time to get ready for spring. Get your bulbs ordered and plan for the new year ahead. A good tip is to plant bulbs which flower in different months to give a succession of bright flowers as the seasons change. Don’t forget that September is the best time to plant Bluebells. Get them in early to ensure a full bloom next year.

At Harewood the Terrace, Archery Border and Walled Garden are at their best. Make sure you come along and enjoy them before the end of the season.