The volunteer group of gardeners has now been in operation for 18 mounts. We meet fortnightly on Saturdays and our numbers range from four to 12, with a core of eight stalwarts attending regularly. The garden is half-way through a three year reconstruction with the aim of turning it back into a Victorian garden that lord Leighton would have recognised. It has been an enjoyable challenge, as gardeners we are still getting to know the garden’s character. Being surrounded with large trees, much of the boarders are in dry shade, other parts retain water or are dry and sunny but have poor soil. Where possible, we introduce varieties of plants that are old enough to have been found in Victorian gardens, this will add interest for visitors. We hope, one day, to be included in the Open Gardens weekend.
Work achieved so far:
- Cleared out most of the overgrown and self seeded grasses and shrubs which were choking the wide boarders and front beds. The newly exposed walls have been planted with climbing roses.
- The replacement of all the box hedging due to box blight with Sarcococca which is growing well. Approximately 250 other shrubs sand perennials have been planted. We have been disappointed with one or two herbaceous plants but the rest are flourishing. They are now becoming established and will provide a variety of colour for years to come.
- They installed an irrigation system across most of the garden, this reduced the need for regular staff to water in hot weather.
- The excavation and renovation of the white marble fountain which had been covered by hedging in the small rose garden outside the Arab hall. A new garden has been planted around it. Both the fountain and garden are work in progress as each has presented its own challenges.
Work planned for this winter:
- The two mounds will be reduced in size, the soil enriched and draining improved then planted with a mix of small shrubs, herbaceous plants and bulbs.
- General soil improvement throughout the garden.
- The irrigation system will be completed.
- The white marble fountain will be cleaned and sealed and a better water filtering system installed.
- Planting will continue throughout the garden including some evergreen structural plants near the house.