23 Jun English Charm in Oldham’s Horse Country
Vegetables fill Ashbourne Farm’s six production greenhouses, while basil, thyme, olive trees and key lime trees (to name a few) fill the Hartley Botanic Greenhouse next to the stunning Show Barn. The summer months elicit a breath of fresh air where the grass is greener, the flowers are blossoming, and the sun sets later in the evening, painting the sky a vivid array of oranges, pinks and reds. The summer sun casts a warm glow on the green pastures and seven greenhouses dotting the land out on Ashbourne Farms.
June 3, 2022
By Elizabeth Scinta
Photos by Andy Hyslop
Austin Musselman, the third generation Family Manager of Ashbourne Farms, grew up helping his grandmother, Sally Brown, in her greenhouse at her property off River Road. “She was kind of a famous Kentuckian. She was involved in the Garden Club of America and eventually was a founder of The Nature Conservancy. My grandmother had a lot of native plants in her extensive gardens, and in the winter, she’d move her flowers into the greenhouse. When I was a little boy, I remember going in there and it being almost tropical, even in the cold winter of Kentucky,” explained Musselman. “You know how smells bring back memories? To this day, every time I go into a greenhouse, it takes me back to working with my grandmother.” In 2021, The Hartley Botanic Greenhouse made its debut on Ashbourne Farms to house fine herbs, fruits and other culinary items. These items, along with the vegetables from the production greenhouses and other locally sourced ingredients, adorn the menus utilized for events in the Show Barn.
After seeing ads for Hartley Botanic greenhouses in The Voice-Tribune and other publications, Musselman knew it was the perfect addition to Ashbourne Farms. “I felt like they had that classic, old-world European look to greenhouses that you would see in the Royal Gardens in London. It has that classic look, but a modern fit and finish to it,” explained Musselman. Based in Lancashire, England, Hartley Botanic has a rich history of manufacturing handmade Victorian greenhouses dating back to its founding in 1938. Just last year, they were recognized with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade for their growth overseas, according to a press release.
The magnificent glass greenhouse is actually two separate custom greenhouses connected by a walkway that sits atop an old stone springhouse, an idea from Ben Page, a Principal Landscape Architect at PAGE|DUKE. Another reason Musselman chose Hartley Botanic was for its innovative design features, such as the crystal clear windows at the top of the greenhouses that open and close without power to adjust the temperature within.
The gorgeous flowers around the greenhouse were chosen and planted by Jon Carloftis, an award-winning Lexington based landscape designer, whereas Monica Boone has the role of greenhouse caretaker. “She envisioned Lowcountry, Charleston plantings in the first phase. She really wanted it to feel like a courtyard that you would see in Savannah or Charleston with branches from young live oak trees and bougainvillea flowers to provide shade,” explained Musselman. On the outside wall of the greenhouse, find “jasmine vines that give off a nice smell, passion flowers, lavender and a few gardenias.” Finally, various herbs and edible plantings line tables in the middle aisles.
“It was a fun project and collaboration between Hartley, Ashbourne’s culinary team, the gardeners, the landscape architect Ben Page and Jon Carloftis. We were looking for something that would be both functional, decorative and utilitarian all at the same time,” explained Musselman. “We’re really proud of it, and we hope that everybody has a chance to come out and see it.” Although most events transpire in the show barn, Musselman mentioned quaint events, like a small dinner party or cocktail hour, can occur in the Hartley Botanic greenhouse. So, when planning your next event, don’t forget about the Hartley Botanic greenhouse that will bring a little old-English charm to the lush, rolling hills of Kentucky’s horse farms.