The Trust is thrilled to share with you a video entitled: ‘La Rochelle: Robbie Honey’ that enjoyed its premier screening at the recent Trust’s 60th birthday celebrations held at La Rochelle where it was projected against the French style tower with a full moon behind.
Robbie, Floral Designer, Lecturer and Author of ‘The Accidental Botanist: The Structure of Plants Revealed’, passionately shares his botanical knowledge about the abundant flora growing in the grounds of La Rochelle. He also explains the history of the estate and reveals some interesting old black and white photographs of the Courtauld’s taken in the UK and in Zimbabwe. The video shows magnificent sweeping aerial views of the house and estate made possible by drone footage.
The video opens with Robbie sitting on the sunny veranda of the house, now a boutique hotel, talking about the history of Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld who generously donated their estate to the Trust in 1972. Robbie then walks around the formal lounge, courtyard and Lady Virginia’s private ‘Fantasy Room. He then invites you to take part in a delightful, guided journey around the 226 acre estate which was established with the professional help of the UK Horticulturist John Henry Mitchell, with exotic plants and trees gathered from all over the world. Co-incidentally, Robbie is friendly with Henrietta Courtauld and Bridget Elsworthy who visited Zimbabwe in 2014 and redesigned the gardens.
As you will discover the estate has an exceptional botanical area and Dell that covers 20 acres of land both contain many fine specimens of exotic and indigenous species. Robbie’s tour includes the unique Orchid biome that is home to a large and diverse collection of exotic orchids that Sir Stephen collected from around the world including the Lady Virginia Orchid: the only in the world.
After the orchid collection Robbie moves on and chats to Kevin Martin who runs the commercial organic farming area consisting of 25 acres of trial beds of herbs being grown for teas including various mints, lemon balm and grass and thyme and petals such as sunflower and calendula and recently planted super grain foods like chia and quinoa.
We do hope that you enjoy watching this wonderful production by Media Matrix Productions, very kindly sponsored by Mr H. Leared for which the Trust is extremely grateful.