Recreating Gardening History
Edward Augustus Bowles was born at Myddelton House, now headquarters of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority on 14 May 1865 and became one of the 20th Century’s greatest gardeners. A range of Victorian glasshouses featured in the eight acre Myddelton House Gardens where he cultivated unusual and exotic plants.
Over time these unique glasshouses were lost but during work to restore the Gardens to their original splendour their foundations were discovered.
On 16 May following a year-long project to recreate these historic glasshouses, they were formally opened by Tim Smit, KBE, co-founder of the Eden Project and social entrepreneur. He said after the opening ceremony: “Myddelton House Gardens are amongst the top ten best gardens in the country. Along with the glasshouses they have been wonderfully restored and are a testament to the life of E A Bowles. The nation should be proud of Myddelton House Gardens.” He was given a personal tour of the glasshouses by Myddelton House head gardener Andrew Turvey (above right).
Myddelton House Gardens were inspired by the world famous Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall and attract around 60,000 visitors each year from London and the surrounding region. A tour of these historically significant gardens is often combined with a visit to other similar nearby sites such as the 30 acre Capel Manor or Forty Hall, one of Britain’s finest historic houses. Their location less than a mile away from Myddelton House Gardens have established E A Bowles’ unique gardens as one of the region’s leading horticultural destinations. Guided tours and a museum about E A Bowles provide a fascinating insight into the life and work of one of the nation’s most notable gardeners.
The Victorian glasshouse range ceremony was also attended by E A Bowles’ great great nephew, Brigadier Andrew Parker Bowles OBE, who is President of the E A Bowles Society which has played a key role in the restoration of sections of Myddelton House Gardens with much of the work carried out with Heritage Lottery funding.