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.

Scots Pine tops the tree charts to become tallest in the UK

A Scots pine at the National Trust’s Cragside in Northumberland has officially become the tallest native conifer in the UK and the 200,000th record on the Tree Register of Britain and Ireland.

Measuring 40 metres tall – the same height as 10 London double-decker buses stacked on top of each other – the conifer is Cragside’s fifth champion tree. Continue reading

Biddulph Grange Garden – a starring role in this week’s British Gardens in Time

Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire takes the lead role this evening in episode three of BBC Four’s British Gardens in Time.

General Manager, Paul Walton said: “We weren’t sure what to expect when the film crew first arrived, although the sense of anticipation was huge! Needless to say, all staff and volunteers have had an amazing time over the last 12 months.

Filming at Biddulph Grange garden

Filming at Biddulph Grange garden

“The filming began at the very beginning of 2013 on a freezing cold, frosty morning with Stourhead’s Alan Power who’d come to see our collection of mature trees. It was lovely to see his enthusiasm and love of trees spill over as he walked through the Pinetum – especially when he couldn’t help hugging a Monkey Puzzle! Continue reading

The ‘Power’ of gardens

Alan Power, our head gardener at Stourhead is one of three presenters of the BBC Four series, British Gardens in Time. The four part series – which started last week – looks in-depth at four iconic British landscape gardens – Great Dixter, Stowe, Biddulph Grange and Nymans.

Last night’s programme featured Stowe in Buckinghamshire.

The south vista at Stowe. Credit NT Images

The south vista at Stowe. Credit NT Images

Here he reflects on the filming of the series, which he co-presents with garden historian Andrea Wulf and garden designer, Chris Beardshaw.

Continue reading

National Trust garden gems to feature in new BBC Four series

Three National Trust gardens are set to feature in a new BBC Four series uncovering the rich social and horticultural history of four British heritage landscapes with the first episode airing tonight at 9pm.

The four-part series, British Gardens in Time, explores the grand Georgian landscape at Stowe in Buckinghamshire (NT), Biddulph Grange, a superb example of a Victorian garden in Staffordshire (NT), the romantic turn-of-the-century Nymans in West Sussex (NT) and Christopher Lloyd’s dazzling 20th century garden, Great Dixter in East Sussex which is privately-run.

New series British Gardens in Time starts tonight on BBC Four at 9pm

New series British Gardens in Time starts tonight on BBC Four at 9pm

Continue reading

National Trust garden gems to feature in new BBC 4 series

Three National Trust gardens are set to feature in a new BBC 4 series uncovering the rich social and horticultural history of four British heritage landscapes in April.

The Parterre at Biddulph Grange Garden. Credit Stephen Robson

The Parterre at Biddulph Grange Garden. Credit Stephen Robson

The four-part series, British Gardens in Time, explores the grand Georgian landscape at Stowe in Buckinghamshire (NT), Biddulph Grange, a superb example of a Victorian garden in Staffordshire (NT), the romantic turn-of-the-century Nymans in West Sussex (NT) and Christopher Lloyd’s dazzling 20th century garden, Great Dixter in East Sussex which is privately-run. Continue reading

Alan Power sets off on a motorbike tour of historic Gardens

With his trusty 1958 Norton motorcycle and a passion for historic gardens, Stourhead’s head gardener is setting off for a three month tour of some of the best gardens of England, Ireland and Wales.

Alan Power, Head Gardener at Stourhead, Wiltshire.

Alan Power, Head Gardener at Stourhead, Wiltshire.

Well known for his expertise and love of the landscape garden which makes Stourhead world famous, Alan is keen to see and learn more about some of the other great gardens and has taken time off from his beloved Stourhead to fulfil his ambition. Also a motorbike enthusiast, he is using his classic Norton racing bike for the trip – as well as his more modern BMW S1000R. The aim of the trip is to see – and learn from – some of the many great historic gardens in the British Isles, and bring back ideas for the National Trust’s garden at Stourhead. Alan commented:

“There are so many wonderful places out there, and marvellous people looking after them,”

 

“I never have time to explore other gardens in the way that I would like to, just to see what they are and enjoy discovering something. Often we go to places with an agenda but this time I am planning to just arrive, have a good coffee in the restaurant and a wander round and discover things.

 

“I still love the reaction that I get when I walk into Stourhead so it would be good to see what reactions can be found in other historic gardens, learn how they came into being and see if there are any tips and lessons I can pick up to bring back to Stourhead.”

 Alan doesn’t intend to be alone on his trip. He is hoping to be followed by some of the many fans of Stourhead by recording his travels on twitter on @alanstourhead and also on the National Trust Stourhead Facebook page. He hopes to post photos and even some short videos of his adventure. He will also spend a little time filming a garden series for the BBC.

As well as picking up some gardening tips, followers will also be able to share his love of motorbikes. A trip to the National Trust’s Stowe landscape garden may just include a diversion to nearby Silverstone with a chance to take a track bike around Stowe corner.

Pride of place. Alan's 1958 Norton and BMW S1000R

Pride of place. Alan’s 1958 Norton and BMW S1000R