Our work in the garden at Little Moreton Hall
Projects are under way to restore the Knot Garden, whose box hedging is affected by box blight, and to create a new orchard at the far side of the moat.
The Knot Garden project
A much-loved feature of Little Moreton Hall’s garden for 50 years, the Knot Garden is formed of box hedging spanning hundreds of metres. In 2019, it became affected by box blight and a long-term project to restore it is now under way.
Over the past few years, several attempts were made to rid the box plants of the fungal disease, including applying treatments of a fertiliser designed specifically for preventing box blight. However, this wasn’t successful and the disease has spread throughout the Knot Garden.
What is box blight?
Box blight has been ravaging Britain and Europe since the 1990s; no cure has yet been found. Its relentless spread has been helped by the milder weather and wetter ground conditions of recent years, a trend that climate scientists expect to continue.
Box blight is caused by two types of fungi, cylindrocladium buxicola and pseudonectria buxi. The blight causes leaves to go brown and fall off which leads to bare patches. Once present it spreads rapidly, turning lush, green growth into a mass of dead twigs. The disease can last up to six years and there is currently no cure.
Getting rid of the box blight
A long-term project began in June 2021 to protect the future of the Knot Garden and try to prevent box blight from returning.
Firstly, the box plants were trimmed to ground level and all infected material removed, including the leaves and soil. This was quite a dramatic change to how you might be used to seeing the Knot Garden, but unfortunately it was necessary.
Preventing box blight returning
Throughout the rest of 2021, the box plants were allowed to grow back. During this time, four different methods were used to identify the most effective way of preventing box blight from returning.
This included leaving the box plants to grow back untreated as a control; applying specialised fertiliser; applying mycorrhizal fungus; and applying a combination of mycorrhizal fungus, bonemeal and fertiliser.
How you can help
It’s natural to think that plants, particularly impressive features like the Knot Garden, are unchanging and will last forever. But unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
The gardeners at Little Moreton Hall work hard throughout the year to keep the garden healthy and projects like this need a lot of time and resources.
Every time you visit Little Moreton Hall, spend money in the tea room and pre-loved bookshop or become a National Trust member, it contributes towards this important work. Donations, big or small, are also welcome. With your help, the Knot Garden’s future can be protected.
The cosy tea-rooms at Little Moreton Hall offer delicious meals and treats all year round. Find out about these and the estate's pre-loved bookshop.
Come for a day out to Little Moreton Hall with your dog. They are welcome on leads on the front lawn, car park areas and the open area outside the moat.
While modern life rushes by outside, Little Moreton Hall, encircled by a moat, survives as a Tudor fantasy, transporting you back to another time. The hall is dressed for a traditional Christmas through the ages on the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December (until 17 December) before closing for winter.
Discover the ritual protection marks scattered about the house, how the Tudors used to sleep twice a night, and why Little Moreton Hall may be the wonkiest house you’ll ever see.
We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.
Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.