PICTURES: Yorkshire gardeners measure giant Echium

Gardeners at Beningbrough Hall, Gallery and Gardens, near York, had to get their stepladders out this week to measure giant Echiums growing in the garden.

The plants, found in the Italian border at the National Trust-owned property, have reached a towering 4.3 metres high – the same height as a female giraffe.

ECHIUM 5 (C) National Trust_Matt Clark WEB

National Trust gardener Kate Wilkinson used a step ladder and bamboo pole to measure giant 4 metre Echiums at Beningbrough Hall, near York, during a regular survey of the garden. CREDIT: National Trust/Matt Clark

Kate Wilkinson, the gardener tasked with measuring the plants, said: “It wasn’t as straightforward as simply getting a tape-measure out.  I had to climb a stepladder, and even then it wasn’t enough. With the measuring tape attached to the end of a bamboo cane, I was just about able to reach the top of these amazing plants”. Continue reading

Ahead of the curve: innovative 19th century curved glasshouse is restored to its former glory

A rare example of a 19th century curvilinear glasshouse has been restored at the National Trust’s Quarry Bank in Cheshire after a year-long restoration project.

The original Quarry Bank Glasshouse. Credit Quarry Bank Archive.

The 1820s glasshouse was built to supply the owners of Quarry Bank mill, the Greg family, with tender fruit of the time, such as grapes and peaches. Its innovative design and use of modern technology sent a clear message to guests about the Gregs’ financial success and position in society.

Although the conservation charity acquired the 18th century cotton mill in 1939, it was only in 2010 that the kitchen garden was acquired by the Trust. The jewel in the crown of this walled garden was the severely damaged curvilinear glasshouse, a name given to the structure because of its unique curved roof.

Continue reading

Autumn colour arrives at Stourhead

As Stourhead in Wiltshire begins to witness the first signs of autumn colour appearing across the garden and wider estate, Alan Power, Stourhead’s head gardener, gears up to tell Radio 4’s PM about the changing landscape.

“This world-famous garden is starting to show signs of autumn’s arrival with golden, orange and red hues beginning to appear in the trees including the acers, the tulip trees and American oaks,” says Alan.

“Every autumn at Stourhead is strikingly distinct, with different types of trees changing at different times. The shorter days and a decent cold snap help to stimulate the chemical processes in the trees and increase the intensity and colour of the leaf foliage.

“Due to the sheltered position of the garden, situated in a valley, Stourhead’s trees generally turn slower than other areas. This means that visitors can experience a slow and gradual change in the garden, always offering a new scene if visited repeatedly over the autumn period.”

To help visitors who are planning to visit this autumn, Stourhead has once again set up the ‘leafline’. By phoning 01747 841152 visitors planning a trip will be able to hear a weekly update on the autumn colours in the garden from Alan Power.

London gardens open up over summer weekend

More than 200 gardens in the heart of London will open their doors for a weekend of celebrations this weekend as part of Open Garden Squares Weekend organised by the London Parks and Gardens Trust.

Over two days on 18 – 19 June, visitors can explore the vast number of urban green spaces in the capital. From roof gardens to community parks, schools to hospitals, the gardens are spread throughout the city.

The National Trust will open up seven of its gardens across London for the event, inviting visitors to discover the history, heritage and hidden stories of these city gardens.

Fenton House and Garden

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Credit National Trust Images/Sarah Jackson

Fenton House has extensive and innovative walled gardens, with formal walks and lawns, a rose garden, kitchen garden and a historic orchard.

In June, the rose garden comes into its own, with stems bowing under the weight of scented blooms. Cottage garden in style and feel, roses are under planted with traditional cottage favourites like phlox, foxgloves, poppies and London Pride, and herbs like sage.

Continue reading

‘Chamber of secrets’ brings Cliveden’s ghosts to life

Pic, A historic chamber will open to visitors at the National Trust's Cliveden following conservation work, NT Images-John MillarAs the glamorous Cliveden Estate in Buckinghamshire celebrates its 350th anniversary, an historic chamber located below the South Terrace is opening for the first time in 30 years, inviting visitors to help the National Trust solve the mystery of its past.

From the notorious 2nd Duke of Buckingham who built the first house for his mistress before fatally wounding her husband, to the focus of the Profumo affair in the 1960s, Cliveden has long been a place of scandal and intrigue.

Continue reading

63% more plants blooming in this year’s annual Valentine’s flower count

National Trust Garden teams in South West England have been busy recording flowers in bloom in this year’s annual Valentine’s Flower Count, with nearly all gardens showing an increase on last year.

The Annual National Trust Valentine's Flower Count - Fiona Hailstone counting Snowdrops

The Annual National Trust Valentine’s Flower Count – Fiona Hailstone counting Snowdrops

In 2008, 3,335 plants in bloom were recorded in Devon and Cornwall (where the flower count first started), marking the earliest spring so far recorded during the count. This year, 2,644 plants were recorded in gardens across the whole of the South West compared to 1,622 in 2015. Continue reading

National Trust gardens star once again in Open Garden Squares Weekend

The National Trust is inviting visitors to enjoy and explore the unique gardens of seven of its London properties on 13 and 14 June as part of Open Garden Squares Weekend 2015.

The gardens at Osterley Park and House in London. Credit National Trust Images

The gardens at Osterley Park and House in London. Credit National Trust Images

Continue reading