The Orchid House

The Orchid House was originally restored from its derelict state in 2003. Nearly twenty years on, it once again required remedial attention. So, in 2021, Helmsley Walled Garden launched an appeal to raise £25,000 towards the renovation of one of this historic glasshouses.

One of the original glasshouses that would have been part of this working garden at its inception in 1759, it would have housed a range of exotic plants and orchids grown for floral displays at Duncombe Park. Now it’s a place where volunteers meet for a flask of coffee and to chat about the work in the garden. Art exhibitions and courses are also held in this elegant space.

The house has almost 900 panes of glass and the beaver-tailed glass used in the glazing was part of the latest developments in glasshouses. The innovative way of fitting them without top puttying was the invention of then head gardener, Michael Rochford. This cut down the weight on the glazing bars and allowed them to be thinner, thus letting in more light. His invention became standard practice in glasshouse design.

As part of the restoration, a new heating system was installed and other repairs will include general repairs, repainting, new blinds and a watering system that uses the existing under floor water storage tank.