Prior Park recruits youngest head gardener

Alice Palfrey with the Palladian Bridge at Prior Park in the background (c) National Trust / Clare Green

The youngest head gardener in the National Trust has just started worked at Prior Park Landscape Garden in Bath.

Alice Palfrey, who is 29, already has seven years of National Trust gardening and rangering under her belt. She comes to her new role with both experience of looking after Prior Park, and enthusiasm to take the garden forward and continue the process of restoring it to its 1764 state and the time of creator Ralph Allen’s death. Continue reading…

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…

Distinguished Horticultural Award for South West Garden expert

Ian Wright with his RHS Associate of Honour Award

Ian Wright, National Trust Garden Consultant in the South West, has been awarded the prestigious ‘Associate of Honour’ for horticulture.  This is an award given to persons who have given distinguished service to the practice of horticulture by The Royal Horticultural Society.

Ian received this award in recognition of his distinguished service to the practice of horticulture throughout his 35 year career.

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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.

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Discover the benefits of volunteering at Snowshill Manor and Garden

Visitors and room guide in the Turquoise Room at Snowshill Manor and Garden ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

Would you like to make new friends?  Need a fresh challenge in your life?  Or want to develop your interests?

On 28 January, between 10am and 12.30pm, Snowshill Manor, just a couple of miles away from Broadway, will be hosting a drop in New Volunteer Day where you can discover what being a National Trust volunteer is all about and have an informal chat with staff and volunteers.

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