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  • Chelom Leavitt

Chelom: The Orangery—Update

The footprint of the orangery. You can see remnants of the piping system and the slate tablets. The concrete floor is still very much intact!

I was delighted that so many of you wanted to know more about the orangery. Orangeries were notable even in the late 1890’s. I think it’s because those of us who did not grow up in California or Florida or some other place that grows oranges are fascinated with the idea that we could grow citrus in colder climates. Our house in the US has a small atrium where I attempted to grow an orange tree, lemon tree, and lime tree. I failed. We need to install a circulation system that would help stave off spider mites. They are pernicious little parasites and I finally admitted defeat and replace my citrus with fig trees, who by the way are thriving and filling the atrium.

We, by we I mean George and his crew, have found the location of the real orangery. It is just steps from the castle, but like the other outbuildings, is only a foundation. There is however, some piping and other remnants of a circulation/heating system that would avoid the nasty spider mites. The orangery is an octagon shape and has many thick slate tabletops that I’m sure they were used to pot seedlings for the property and allow for good drainage for the citrus trees. We will reuse these slate tabletops and eventually restore the orangery. Blog reader Tom W.M. Walker sent us an old map that had evidence that all the outbuildings had glass roofs. We were grateful for Tom's willingness to send it to us. Thank you, Tom!

So possibly the other remains that we thought was an orangery may have been a lovely gazebo used for those watching the tennis players on the clay courts (now overgrown with all sorts of vegetation).

I’ve always loved glass outbuildings whether they’re called a conservatory, sunroom, atrium, gazebo, or an orangery. Tanglewood is an American company that has beautiful designs like the one shown, but I believe this tradition probably began right here in the UK. So, I will begin to investigate companies and designers here.

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