- Public Park
The first of Exeter’s notable nurseries was William Lucombe’s at St Thomas founded on this site in 1720. The most famous introduction was the Lucombe Oak. The nursery became Lucombe, Pince & Co in the 1820’s. Their catalogue (c.1870) featured an illustration of part of their Italian garden. The nursery, shaded by fine old Lucombe oaks, was famous for its ’Wonder of the West’ strain of cinerarias, calceolarias, and an extensive rockery. In the nineteenth century the nursery was renowned for its vast glasshouses packed with orchids, gardenias and rare palms. The nursery was sold in 1890 to The Exeter Nursery Company. In 1912 Exeter City Council bought the site and converted it into a pleasure ground. The 45 yard long pergola of mature wisteria was one of the main features of the nursery in the 1880’s and is still the most impressive feature today. The pergola is a very light construction of metal hoops and is reminiscent of the pleached alleys in Tudor gardens. The simple lodge and pavilions are of traditional design and together with the well kept bowling green and croquet lawn give a satisfying feeling to the pleasure ground.
Miles Hadfield: A History of British Gardening
Gabriel Levine: Secrets of a Garden City - Exeter’s Gardens in Words & Pictures
Steven Pugsley: Devon Gardens- An Historical Survey, 1994: 92