Historian, writer and garden designer Sir Roy Strong CH is marking his 85th birthday by donating 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.
Perennial will receive ownership of The Laskett with effect from 1 January 2021 and has pledged to maintain it as a garden of great distinction to delight visitors in the years to come.
Commenting on the extraordinary gift, Perennial Chief Executive Peter Newman says: “Everyone at Perennial wishes Sir Roy a very happy birthday. This year is a special anniversary; not only has Sir Roy reached the milestone of 85, but he has marked the occasion by announcing that he is donating, as a living gift, his fine home and garden so lovingly created with his late wife, Julia Trevelyan Oman. We would like to place on record our enormous gratitude and our determination to fulfil the trust placed in us by Sir Roy.”
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and elements of surprise which draw the visitor through the terrain, which uniquely abounds with autobiographical and historical references.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 said: “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 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.
Sir Roy Strong continued: “I have supported the work of Perennial for many years and see this partnership as a wonderful extension of my continued love of gardens and those who dedicate their time to serve them.”