TV gardener Christine Walkden was the guest of honour at the reopening of the newly restored Victorian Conservatory at Cedars Village – and she was full of praise for the ‘Cathedral of Glass’.
The One Show’s resident gardening expert and Radio 4’s Gardeners Question Time panellist, Christine revealed she hadn’t seen anything like the retirement village’s two storey Conservatory – which has links with Crystal Palace – outside of famous botanical gardens such as Kew and Edinburgh.
Performing the official reopening following nine months, and half a million pounds worth, of restoration work, Christine talked about the ‘opulence’ of the Conservatory. She likened it to a ‘Cathedral of Glass – a place that brings people together, for contemplation, for enjoyment and for activity’.
More than 150 residents and invited guests listened as Christine said: “I am delighted to see the commitment that Retirement Villages as an organisation has made to this wonderful Conservatory. The substantial amount of money spent on restoring it is tribute to both its past as a Victorian Glass House and to its future as a place for residents of Cedars Village to enjoy. It really is a gem to be treasured.”
Christine enjoyed a tour of the Conservatory which, following its refurbishment work, has been filled with architectural plants, feature ferns and carefully-chosen ornaments.
The Conservatory is a favourite facility of residents of the Village, which sits on the fringes of Chorleywood, in Hertfordshire.
Chairman of the residents association John Corner said: “We are thrilled to have our Conservatory opened again and delighted at how beautiful it now looks.”
The Conservatory was built in the 1860s around the same time as the French Renaissance-style Mansion House which is the centrepiece of the retirement village. It was originally heated and used to house the owners collection of tropical plants and reptiles.
Retirement Villages Ltd is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this year, having pioneered the concept of age exclusive villages in the UK. The founder of the company Ray Brown joined the celebrations at Cedars Village.