Historically an orangery was a place for the cultivation of the then exotic plants, oranges and lemons. They were first introduced into Northern Europe in the 18th century but did not start to become popular until into the next century.
Initially, an orangery was the actual garden in which citrus trees were grown. However, as the weather dictated that the cultivation improved under glass, in time the word orangery was used to describe the buildings constructed to house the trees, as well as the gardens.
A classic orangery design has stone-built parapet-sized walls which have tall, vertical sliding windows. The glass area on the sides would be approximately 75% of the wall area. The roof would be glass with timber rafters. A box gutter would run all round inside the parapet wall.
It was customary for the orangery to be separate from the main house.
Today it’s all changed. It’s harder to fathom the difference between an orangery and a conservatory. The big change is that the orangery is now more usually attached to the main building. Timber or brick have replaced the stone component.
I suppose, you could describe it as a more formal conservatory.
One of the most famous orangeries is in Kensington Palace. It was designed by John Vanburgh in 1704 for Queen Anne. Apparently, it has been described by Frommers Guide, as “the most amazing place for mid-afternoon tea in the world”
We’re not aiming for this level of grandeur, but this one is very special.