Seven unique garden projects
We look after many of the nation's famous heritage gardens. Some are special because of their plant collections, others because of their design, but they all need extra special care. Our head gardeners work hard to achieve horticultural excellence, through leading restoration and improvement projects, and by passing on their expertise to others in the team. Here is a selection of our unique garden projects currently underway.
Nuffield Place, Oxfordshire
One of our younger gardeners, Alex Prain, is restoring the original Arts and Crafts planting in this garden using documents from the 1950s. Until recently, Nuffield Place had been a low maintenance college garden, but now it's being restored to its former glory. You can see the restoration work in progress during your visit and learn more about the garden itself.
Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland
The mild climate of Strangford Lough allows our gardeners to experiment with planting and design. So much so that UNESCO has praised the 'extraordinary scope of its plant collections and the originality of its features'. The formal areas have a strong Mediterranean feel, while the Shamrock Gardens explore in topiary the story of the mythical Fomorians - a race of half-human, half-demons.
Sissinghurst Castle’s original garden was created by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson and had a loose, romantic style. This had been compromised recently by more formal horticultural standards, which had smoothed off the rough-edged design. But now our gardeners are working to gently return the garden to Sackville-West's more experimental planting.
Hughenden Manor, Buckinghamshire
The garden of former Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, is currently being restored by Hughenden's Head Gardener, Piers Hory. The garden boasts an impressive arboretum and kitchen garden. There is also extensive formal planting, incorporating a pergola stretching the length of the house, classical statuary and Italian urns.
Standen, West Sussex
After a group of volunteers discovered a swimming pond, whilst clearing out an overgrown part of Standen, we’ve discovered more and more of this garden’s secrets. We're now restoring the garden, which was originally designed to look like a natural part of the High Weald landscape by self-taught gardener, Margaret Beale. One of the highlights of this garden is the plant collection – for instance, many of the acers here are original and were planted by Margaret Beale, following her trip to Japan in 1906-7.
Our gardeners are working hard to restore Stowe's grounds and gardens, and enhance this highly political piece of garden art. Here, you have to choose which path you take based on whether you are male or female, saint or sinner. Stowe is also where Lancelot 'Capability' Brown learnt his trade, before going on to transform many aristocratic estates.
Bodnant Gardens, Wales
We are committed to involving the local community in our work, and with the help of volunteers at Bodnant Garden, a wilderness has been transformed into a tranquil riverside haven. Bodnant gardeners are also restoring the Penjerrick Walk, a historic avenue of rhododendrons, back to its former glory.