Bushey Rose Garden was originally designed by the famous exponent of the Arts and Crafts garden style Thomas Mawson as a private garden for the eminent artist Sir Hubert von Herkomer RA (1849- 1914). It became a public garden in 1937, but had become derelict, and in 2008 LUC was commissioned to help rescue it so the garden could be enjoyed again by all.
LUC was lead consultant for Hertsmere Borough Council on the restoration. Our design team took great care to understand the original design intention and specified a wealth of traditional materials and techniques to bring back to life the distinct character of Mawson’s original 1913 garden.
The large Bavarian tufa fountain forms the heart of the formal garden and the Cloisters, which were once part of Herkomer’s Art school, have been rebuilt in the lawn area to make a backdrop for theatre and music performances. The Grade II listed Summer House and an octagonal timber structure — the Rose Temple, similar to the one Mawson designed at the Hill Hampstead — have been restored to their original glory. A new building, designed by our team’s Conservation Architect, provides a base for the new on-site gardener. Over 4000 plants and 500 roses have been planted, Hertsmere Borough Council researched Mawson’s designs and planned the planting.
Handmade bricks and tiles with lime mortar were used in the restoration of paths, roofs and walls. Specialist plasterers restored the lathe and plaster work of the domed ceiling in the Summer House. Conservation craftsmen made the ‘spider’s web’ fan-lights over its entrance doors. Green oak timber formed the Pergola, Rose Temple and Rose Pillars. Furniture experts replicated original Mawson designs for the semi-circular and straight benches from photographs found in an original Mawson catalogue. Bavarian grey tufa rock was brought over from Germany to match the stone for the fountain and red sandstone sourced in Britain, was used to restore the Cloister. New railings and gates were designed by our team and built by conservation metal workers. Traditional lost wax casting techniques were employed to make a ‘Spirit of the Garden’ bas-relief from a photograph. The original bas relief was sited in the garden but stolen in 1967.
Bushey Rose Garden is open all the year round with free admission and thousands of visitors have enjoyed the garden since it reopened in July 2010.
Jonathan Lovie of the Garden History Society wrote of the restoration:
‘Little that I had read prepared me for this jewel-like garden and its fascinating context. The Rose Garden is unusual as a readily accessible example of Mawson’s work in the south of England. If you find yourself in Bushey (Hertfordshire) seek it out - it will not disappoint.’