Park & Garden
The landmarked park in front of Huseby’s beautiful manor is built in a German style, which was the highest fashion two hundred years ago. Each year, agaves, plants which have a long history at the estate, are planted in the symmetrical flower beds.
Experience the 1800s in Elisabeth’s Eden
The winding flower-bed that Elisabeth Stephens laid out to honour her three daughters that were born in the 1880’s is filled with begonias, marguerites and different coloured succulents – the same colourful varieties that she would have chosen. The eldest daughter Florence inherited the old estate built in the 1600s and she was scrupulous about preserving the garden and park to look as it did during her childhood. Old cultivation methods have always been used in Huseby Bruk’s kitchen garden. In recent years, the garden has been re-constructed to suit the same intentions as Elisabeth Stephens had in the 1800s. Now, as in the old days, everything grows in natural crop rotation. Highly fragrant flowers keep away various vermin from the garden’s artichokes, cardoon cabbage, point cabbage and savoy cabbage, as well as the different varieties of onion, beans and peas. Elisabeth’s old shopping lists for plants and seeds are preserved.
Managing a Legacy
The Stephens family wanted to enshrine historical species at their great estate. Now, like then, the gardener is an important person in the care of the ironworks. Chickens and colourful peacocks bring the right feeling to Elisabeth’s Eden. And a heavy Ardennes horse pulls the mower across the well-kept lawns – just like in her time.
The Seasons in the Manor Park – The Gardener tells us:
January – February
In January and February, the year begins with the winter pruning of shrubs and fruit trees. The occasional snowflake is shovelled away, and in the greenhouse, the first vegetable seeds for the kitchen garden are sown. The agaves and exotic plants that are to be planted in the manor park still slumber in the cold greenhouse. The fruit trees are pruned to give lots of delicious fruit in the fall.
March – April
In March and April, it is time to spring-clean the whole park. All the old debris has to go, and twigs and leaves are gathered. We keep our fingers crossed that winter will loosen its grip, and as soon as the ground has thawed, the spring flowers are planted in the flower-beds by the Manor. The spring bulbs that were set in autumn peek up from the ground and spread hope of spring and warmth. Weeds begin to grow, and the perennials need to be cut down. In the greenhouse, the agaves and exotic plants have woken up, and the pots are full of seedlings that are ready to be moved to the kitchen garden. The April weather plays tricks on us and it is important not to get spring feelings too early and start sowing. It is essential to keep track of the soil temperature, otherwise the seeds will rot.
May offers us warm spring days, rain, and lots of lawn mowing. The kitchen garden is slowly getting prepared, the first seeds are sown, and the pre-cultivated seedlings are planted at the end of May. The pansies are at their best, while the tulips and daffodils start to look tired. When the last frost has released its grip on the park, the agaves and exotic plants are moved outside. The chickens are released into their chicken yard and the peacocks are trumpeting – spring is here.
In June, the vegetables have started to line up and you can begin to see what the kitchen garden will look like in late August. Everything sprouts and grows, even weeds, which we frenetically chase. Spring flowers and bulbs are dug out and replaced by summer flowers. The historical flower beds are planted.
In July, the summer flowers are true splashes of colour in the park. In the kitchen garden, the cabbage butterflies have a feast, but we humans have to wait a little longer to be able to enjoy the tasty cabbage. Early summer carrots and salad taste the most delicious now.
August – September
In August and September, the kitchen garden is the most beautiful. We are in full swing harvesting and we bring everything to the café and restaurant so that it can be used for cooking. Weeds continue to grow in both flower-beds as well as on the gravel paths – one never seems to win the fight against the weeds.
October – December
October, November and December offer leaves, leaves and more leaves. The park has to be autumn-cleaned and prepared for winter. The weeds finally stop growing. The summer flowers are dug up, and all the agaves and exotic plants have now moved into the greenhouse. In the kitchen garden, the frost has nipped the last of the vegetables, but the different cabbage varieties, such as kale and black cabbage, are harvested until Christmas time. Huseby’s garden falls into a quiet rest.
A few words of wisdom along the road – Better rain in July, than frost in May!
Gardener at our beautiful Huseby Bruk