Prior Park head gardener retires after 20 years

Prior Park Matthew Ward retires (c)National Trust/Clare Green

After almost 20 years as head gardener, Matthew Ward is leading his last guided tour, before hanging up his trowel and heading off with wife Hillary into a well-deserved retirement.

After 37 years as a National Trust gardener, Matthew has untold tales to tell and knowledge to impart.  His 20 years at Prior Park have seen him lead a number of major restoration projects, in the aim to restore the garden to its 1764 state, and the time of creator Ralph Allen’s death. Continue reading…

Rare handkerchief tree in bloom at National Trust’s Dunster Castle

Handkerchief in flower (c)National Trust/John Miller

A rarely found tree in the UK is currently in bloom in the tropical climate of the river garden at the National Trust’s Dunster Castle, near Minehead in Somerset.  The warm, dry weather over recent months has meant that the unusual handkerchief tree has started to bloom earlier than usual. 

When fluttering in the breeze, the flowers look like a collection of hankies or white birds ruffling their feathers, meaning it’s sometimes known as the Dove Tree or Davidia involucrate.  Visitors will be able to see the tree for around three weeks when it flowers, until the end of May.  Continue reading…

Spring is on the way; you can smell it

National Trust garden teams have just conducted their annual flower count for Valentine’s Day and although this year spring seems to be on the way, just as we would normally expect, but what is noticeable is how many scented plants are out in flower at this early time of year.

National Trust gardeners reported 1,737 plants blooming in this year’s 12th annual Valentine’s Flower count, 34% down on last year’s figure of 2,644. Although numbers are down on 2016, they are still higher than the previous three years.

For the second year running, Saltram had the highest number of flowers recorded with 176 blooms (193 in 2016).

The snowdrop has been voted the top spring flower for the fourth year running in a survey run with National Trust supporters on social media. The gardens at Cotehele, Lanhydrock, Kingston Lacy and Saltram have been voted the most popular places to see spring blooms.  Continue reading…

Snowdrops at Kingston Lacy

Snowdrops flowering in the garden at Kingston Lacy Dorset ©National Trust / Images James Dobson

Kingston lacy, a National Trust estate near Wimborne, Dorset, is famous for its snowdrop display.  The snowdrop walk stretches through the 40-acre garden for one and a half miles.  Even without the cold weather needed to encourage the snowdrops to bloom the team are still expecting a good display throughout late January and February.

Continue reading…

Preparing for a blooming New Year at Dyrham Park

Tulips in the borders at Dyrham Park in previous years ©National Trust

Staff and volunteers have spent the last fortnight on the mammoth task of planting more than fourteen thousand spring bulbs at Dyrham Park in South Gloucestershire.

Staff and volunteers planting tulips in The Avenue borders at Dyrham Park ©National Trust/Richard Lawson

Staff and volunteers planting tulips in The Avenue borders at Dyrham Park ©National Trust/Richard Lawson

Freezing conditions and heavy rain haven’t deterred their efforts to get the hyacinths and tulips in the ground ahead of the Christmas break so they’re ready to bloom next spring from March to May. Continue reading…

Cotehele’s garland celebrates diamond anniversary

Cotehele’s annual tradition of building a 60ft Christmas garland made up of thousands of flowers grown on the estate is turning 60 years old, and the team at the National Trust House and garden are celebrating.

In honour of its diamond year, the gardeners have been sowing secret plans all year to give it a new look, which today was revealed.

Continue reading…

622 flowers an hour added to Cotehele’s bumper Christmas garland

After a very good growing season, National Trust staff and volunteers at Cotehele, nr Saltash in Cornwall, have nearly completed the process of creating the longest Christmas garland at any Trust property in the country with 46,000 flowers used - Head Gardener - David Bouch is pictured

Head Gardener, David Bouch adding some more flowers to Cotehele’s garland

After a very good growing season, National Trust staff and volunteers at Cotehele, nr Saltash in Cornwall, have nearly completed the process of creating the longest Christmas garland at any Trust property in the country.

When they are finished, the process which began on Monday 2nd November, they will have created a 60 foot garland overhead containing 34,000 flowers plus a 40 foot extension around the east doorway with another 12,000 flowers, all grown and dried on the estate.

‘The garden and volunteer team have calculated that they are adding 622 flowers one by one each hour’, said Dave Bouch, Cotehele’s Head Gardener.

Good growing season boosts Cotehele’s garland by 40ft

After a very good growing season, National Trust staff and volunteers at Cotehele, nr Saltash in Cornwall, have nearly completed the process of creating the longest Christmas garland at any Trust property in the country.

When they are finished, they will have created a 60 foot garland overhead containing 34,000 flowers plus a 40 foot extension around the east doorway with another 12,000 flowers, all grown and dried on the estate.

Continue reading…