2018 marked the 70th anniversary of Parham House & Gardens being opened to the public on 17th July 1948. Visitors have been coming here ever since to enjoy our rare and precious collection of paintings, needlework and furniture as well as our spectacular Gardens.
This year also marked the anniversary of our Garden Weekend, which has been running for 25 years. To celebrate the occasion we welcomed some of the biggest names in gardening to share their knowledge, including award-winning landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith, modern day plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke and Gardens Adviser to Historic Royal Palaces Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. This weekend also offered visitors a chance to learn more about our recent planting trials, enjoy live music, and browse a range of stalls showcasing specialist plants and gardening accessories as well as handpicked catering outlets serving delicious locally sourced food and drink.
The Garden Weekend wasn’t the only event we held this season. Our Easter Family Fun Weekend and Autumn Fair also returned, as well as a new Apples in the Orchard day, which included cookery demonstrations, apple pressing and identification and some beautiful, memorable displays created by the Gardening Team. We also organised a Needlework Display in the House, offering visitors an enhanced opportunity to discover Parham’s needlework collection, including items that are not normally seen by visitors.
Our Head Gardener Tom Brown and his team have been busy this year. As well as the annual climber planting trials, they redesigned our stunning gold border in collaboration with local plantswoman Marina Christopher and created a wildflower meadow, planting 1,200 Iris sibirica amongst hazels and lilacs, Camassias and daffodils. The team took careful note of which plants thrived, to further improve the meadow for next year.
We weren’t the only ones to recognise Tom’s hard work and expertise this year; we were very proud to hear that he was invited onto the RHS Herbaceous Committee in 2018 and undertook training to become accredited and join the esteemed team of RHS Show Judges.
One of the significant projects in the House this year includes the repainting and gilding of The Saloon. Originally a wood store, the room was elegantly remodelled in 1790 by the 12th Lord Zouche and features delicate cream paintwork with gold gilding. The work is being undertaken by specialist decorators and plasterers to ensure it is restored sensitively back to its original glory.
It really has been a very busy but wonderful and thoroughly fulfilling season for us once again at Parham. Now the House has been put to bed for the winter months, we will be focussing on caring for everything that makes Parham a treasured destination for so many visitors each year.