The Tree Seat renewed

The Swiss Garden team are thrilled to announce a replacement Tree Seat feature in place this week, thanks to funding from the Friends of the Swiss Garden and other contributors.

Books indicate that the original Thatched Tree Seat was already an established part of the garden in 1878, when a “cover to seat in Swiss Garden and thatching” are described, thus dating it from the Ongley phase of the Garden. Its stylistic use of thatch was likely contemporary with the Swiss Cottage and Indian Kiosk c.1830.

In 2013, the old Oak tree, which supported the framework of the thatched canopy, became unstable due to disease and had to be felled. With it, the loss of the tree seat as a beloved feature of the garden. To ensure that this loss was not permanent, a young Cedrus atlantica (Atlas Cedar) has been planted in its place, which one day will be large enough to support the canopy and enable this lovely feature to be fully restored to the Garden.

Local craftsman Trevor Lingley, who has a workshop in Old Warden, was commissioned to re-create the seat from old photographs of the original. A further image was found in a 1906 book on garden furniture which, was discovered in The House and was owned by the Shuttleworth family. There were distinct similarities between the seat taken down in 2012 and one of the designs found in the book, and the Swiss Garden team believe the family tweaked the catalogue design to suit their own taste and the setting. This new Tree Seat has now been installed for visitors to enjoy for many years to come.