Cliveden’s Parterre - planting by numbers

An aerial view gives an idea of the scale of the Parterre © National Trust

An aerial view gives an idea of the scale of the Parterre

Latest update 11.02.2014 13:21

Every spring and summer our floral planting on the six-acre Parterre provides a colourful spectacle. But what goes into creating these impressive displays?

Plants galore

Our spring displays are a mixture of bulbs and bedding plants – 11,050 bulbs and 19,650 plants to be precise. All these plants are then removed and the beds replanted for summer with a further 30,950 plants. As well as the change over of flowering plants there are over 2.5 miles of hedges and 18 topiary pyramids to keep trim.

Thousands of work hours

We have 12 full-time gardeners and over 40 volunteers who freely give their time to help us in the garden. When it comes to changing over the displays (in autumn and late spring) it’s all hands to the Parterre for 15 days of intensive, back-breaking work.

And, of course, keeping the Parterre’s lawns tidy and the beds free of weeds is hundreds of hours more – we spend 18 hours a week just cutting the grass inside the beds in the height of the season.

A precise eight-stage plan

With every change over, our gardening team follow the same detailed process:

1. Lift the existing display
2. Single dig all 16 triangular beds,18 pyramid beds and the semi-circle, removing roots and stones
3. Tidy and trim the 3.2 miles of bed edges
4. Sculpt and level the soil in the beds, removing any remaining debris
5. Mark out the shapes that will be used in this display’s design
6. Place the plants. Each triangular bed has up to1,450 plants in summer and 900 plants plus 400 bulbs for the spring display
7. Plant beds, checking that the plants are evenly spaced and in straight lines
8. Final levelling of the soil and tidy edges

A breathtaking view

The Terrace above the Parterre offers a perfect vantage point to look down on the display. But a wander amongst the beds is as rewarding too, as you’ll see the fine, detailed planting that creates the mass of colour.

Our spring display is usually at its peak from mid April to mid May with the summer display coming into bloom from late June through until September.

Exact timings can vary, depending on the weather, so do give us a call on 01628 605 069 if you’re going to make a special trip.