Seeds for Thought

Spring 2014 | Baron Cavendish of Furness

Portugese Laurel Arches
Portuguese Laurel Arches at Holker Hall in Cumbria
© Grania Cavendish

Thank you for making Seeds for Thought 2014 a success. We wish to send our sincerest gratitude to all who attended Lord Cavendish’s lecture, “A Time to Plant: Life & Gardening at Holker,” and to our co-sponsors, The Garden Conservancy and the Union League of Philadelphia.

Lord Cavendish reflected on his 40 years at Holker Hall, in Cumbria, and the people and experiences that have influenced his passion for horticulture. The lecture, which was based on his book A Time to Plant: Life and Gardening at Holker, explored the history and evolution not only of an incredible garden but also the vision and legacy of its owners.

A Time to Plant: Life & Gardening at Holker:

Hugh Cavendish
Hugh Cavendish,
Baron Cavendish of Furness
© Grania Cavendish

Hugh Cavendish, Baron Cavendish of Furness, was brought up at Holker Hall, a neo-Elizabethan stately home in Cumbria, and inherited the estate in 1972. Set among a rich backdrop of ancient parklands, woods, and gardens, Holker was formerly part of a 16th-century priory, and the land was passed down to the Cavendish family in 1756.

Today, Holker is run by Lord Cavendish and his family, passionate gardeners who have dedicated themselves to creating the garden’s first real enhancement in over 100 years. They have revitalized Holker’s grounds with a wildflower meadow, Sunken Garden, Neptune Cascade, and Labyrinth, among other features. Bold and radical in their approach, Lord and Lady Cavendish also have expanded Holker’s nationally renowned plant collection by incorporating new specimens, flowers, and rare trees. They have also ensured the survival of relics of Holker’s gardening history–common sheep laurel from North America bearing its ancient lead label from 1736–while incorporating new plants, flowers, and rare trees such as the Chinese tree Emmenopterys henryi.


Seeds for Thought 2014 Committee
Friederike & Jeremy H. Biggs
Tracy & Daniel Dart
Madeline & Ian Hooper
Pamela & Roger Hull
Katharine & James E. Morris
Charlotte Moss
Steve Godwin & J. Rodney Pleasants
Phillis & John Warden
Brian D. White & James M. Kinney

All proceeds from the 2014 Seeds for Thought lectures support The Royal Oak Foundation’s 2014 Stourhead Appeal. Stourhead in Wiltshire is foremost among the most beautiful and historically significant landscape gardens in the world. Royal Oak is raising funds to protect three major features within the garden: The Temple of Apollo, The Grotto and The Pinetum. To learn more about this project please visit:

These lectures were given in Phildelphia, New York and Lake Forest during April, 2014. Watch this space for announcement of the Spring 2015 Seeds for Thought Lectures.

Seeds for Thought co-sponsor: The Garden Conservancy