Transcript of "Space to Grow: Why People Need Gardens"
Space to Growwhy peopleneed gardens
2 N AT I O N A L T R u S TThe role of the National TrustThe National Trust has been caring for special gardens forover 110 years. Our professional interest in gardens took offin the late 1940s, when we established a Gardens Committeeto advise us on our work. We now look after over 200 gardensand parks and and 32 Plant Heritage National Plant Collectionsand over 70,000 plant species. We employ 450 professionalgardeners, who are assisted by 1,500 volunteer gardeners.Another 2,400 volunteers help with activities such as plantselling and guided talks.Octavia Hill, one of our founders, was passionate aboutthe idea that gardens could serve as ‘open air sittingrooms’. Indeed, the National Trust was very nearly calledthe ‘Commons and Gardens Trust’. Around 87 per cent ofthe population of England, Wales and Northern Ireland nowlive within 15 miles of a National Trust garden. Our gardensoften function as vital local community spaces, for exampleat Osterley Park in London or East Riddlesden Hall in WestYorkshire.Many of the gardens in our care have special historicalsignificance. Almost all of the great garden designers ofthe past worked on gardens that are now looked after bythe Trust, among them Charles Bridgeman, William Kent,Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, Humphry Repton, GertrudeJekyll and Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe.
S PAC E TO G R O W 3Space to Growwhy people need gardensGardens and gardening have a special place in our nationalculture. Most weekends, millions of us will be planting, diggingand weeding our own plots, or appreciating other people’sefforts as visitors to gardens. There are few who do not valuethe simple pleasures that gardens and gardening can offer:beauty, fresh air, connection with nature and plants, andthe satisfaction of growing our own food. Spending timein a garden is time well spent.That’s why I believe that gardens are more importantthan ever before. Significantly, seven out of ten of us believethat spending time in gardens is critical to our quality of life,with many agreeing that it is a more enjoyable pastime thanshopping or watching TV. I am passionate about the idea that,in today’s fast-paced society, everyone should have accessto a garden or green space that they feel entitled to enjoy anduse. After all, this was the inspirational vision of the foundersof the National Trust.Gardens, great and small, face many challenges. The examplesin this report set out how the National Trust is responding tothese, and the measures we are taking to ensure that gardenscan be appreciated by everyone for generations to come.Fiona ReynoldsDirector-GeneralLeft: Fiona Reynolds clearing daffodils with the gardenersat Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire
Gardening is one of Britain’s most popular pastimes.Most weekends 11 million of us will be tending ourgardens, and more than twice that number say theyenjoy visiting gardens each year. Put simply, gardensare a constant source of joy and pleasure.Gardens are places where people can play and relax.When people were asked why spending time in gardenswas important to them, ‘unwinding’ was the most frequentlymentioned response (68 per cent). One in three membersof the public consider gardens to be romantic places thatcan give your love life a boost. Walking in the scent from the300 varieties of old-fashioned roses growing in the gardensat Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire on a summer’s eveninghelps to demonstrate why!Nine out of ten of the Trust’s most visited properties aregardens. Even in the depths of winter thousands of visitorscome to enjoy the delicate beauty of snowdrops at propertiessuch as Colby Woodland Garden in Pembrokeshire andAnglesey Abbey near Cambridge. This popularity meansthat gardens open to the public are a major draw fortourism in Britain. Gardens are important to sustaininglocal economies. Visits to gardens generate an estimated£300 million in direct spending and even more than thisin associated spending on local businesses.Gardens bring people together. They provide a safe andcomforting environment in which to pursue a variety ofactivities: exercise, socialising with friends, appreciatingnature and the seasons, or quiet contemplation. Assuch, gardens are great social levellers, helping to unitecommunities in ways that other public spaces often do not.
S PAC E TO G R O W 5 The Gateway Gardens Trust and Moseley Old Hall Staffordshire The 17th-century style garden at Moseley Old Hall is one of many in the National Trust to work in partnership with The Gateway Gardens Trust, which helps disadvantaged groups of all kinds to become involved with and experience gardens. Chairman of The Gateway Gardens Trust, Bettina Harden, describes a typical project with local schoolchildren in the garden at Moseley Old Hall in Staffordshire: ‘The children came from a hugely deprived urban area. They planted seeds in their own plot, and came back week after week to weedMore than 12 million ‘The best thing about and water them, and then harvest the produce. They wrotepeople visit National Knightshayes Court garden amazing poems and drew pictures about their experiences.Trust gardens each year (above) is that it feels warm It was a spectacular success.’ and neighbourly. DespiteSeven out of ten of its scale and splendour I Bettina sees access to green spaces as a human right.us believe it is critical always feel I’ve just popped ‘Gardens offer infinite resources to feed our needs as people.to our quality of life to in to see an old friend’ One refugee child, amazed to discover the beauty of the walledspend time in gardens National Trust visitor, Devon gardens at Dinefwr, asked us whether he was in paradise.’ The Gateway Gardens Trust is running a series of seminars about increasing access to gardens and historic parks for National Trust staff in order to develop skills and share good practice in outreach work.
Research has shown that physical activity in green spacesis effective in the treatment of clinical depression and canbe as successful as psychotherapy or medication,particularly in the longer term.The mental health charity Thrive has found that nearly onein three disabled people believe that gardening has ongoinghealth benefits, and one in five report that it has helped themthrough a period of mental or physical ill health. At ClumberPark, Nottinghamshire, the National Trust is working withthe charity Rethink and the Adult Social Care and Healthdepartment of Nottinghamshire County Council to helppeople who have suffered from severe mental illness byproviding space in the Walled Kitchen Garden to propagateand grow vegetables and flowers.Gardening is an excellent form of exercise. Just 30 minutesof gardening can burn as many calories as aerobic exercise,greatly reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and otherchronic illnesses. It can have broader health benefits too, forexample helping older people maintain stronger and morenimble hands.Doctors are beginning to see ‘green exercise’ and ‘horticulturaltherapy’ as effective treatments for many mental and physicalconditions. At Stourhead, Wiltshire, a ‘Heritage to Health’project has been established to help train and develophealth and social care professionals to use horticulturaltherapy. Healthy gardening initiatives such as at Greys Courtin Oxfordshire offer communities the chance to enjoy thesebenefits at their local Trust properties. Our many garden andparkland walking trails provide visitors with gentle exercisefor their bodies as well as spiritual refreshment.
S PAC E TO G R O W 7 Anglesey Abbey Cambridgeshire The gardens at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge are the site of a pioneering project to improve the health and well-being of local people – and particularly of disadvantaged or socially excluded groups. The garden has a varied network of long-term partnerships – with charities like Mencap, health trusts, local schools and organisations working with at risk or socially excluded groups. Head Gardener Richard Todd has seen lives change through the experience of working in the gardens: ‘It’s partly just theAcross the UK 21,000 magic of being in a lovely place, and doing something worth-people a week are using while and physical with other people. Many, for instance peoplegarden projects to recovering from mental illness, have lost all confidence inimprove their well-being themselves. At first there’s no eye contact; they struggle to have a conversation. But then they start gardening, see a result, and begin to feel worthwhile. They come out of their shell and can begin to deal with the hubbub of life. ManyWeeding for 30 ‘My garden is such a have gone on to full-time jobs.’minutes can burn wonderful place when lifethe same amount gets too much. Listening The mental health charity Red2Green has also taken over partof calories as a to the birds and pottering of the kitchen garden, while other groups, including childrenhalf-hour walk amongst the flowers relaxes with special educational needs, now grow vegetables which me more than anything else they sell on to the National Trust restaurant at the property. in the world whenever I start to get all frazzled!’ National Trust visitor, Kent
Gardens are a great source of food, and help inspire peopleto appreciate more about where their food comes from.The Trust now cares for 26 working kitchen gardens, fromTrengwainton, Cornwall, to Wallington, Northumberland.They are increasingly popular visitor attractions at properties,providing opportunities for community involvement, schoolplots and growing areas for disadvantaged groups as wellas fresh produce for the property restaurants and tea-rooms.In the walled garden at Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire, threegardeners and 40 volunteers grow hundreds of traditionalvarieties of fruit and vegetables, including 60 kinds of tomato.The gardeners work closely with Wimpole’s chef, KeithGoodwin, who explains: ‘Everything here is cooked fresh.It’s all food in season, grown locally. We don’t talk about“food miles” here; we talk about “food feet and inches”.’Through our gardens, we can connect with local communities.At the magnificent 2.5 acre kitchen garden at KnightshayesCourt in Devon we work with local schools who now comeon a regular basis to tend their plots and learn about growingfood. At Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire there’s alively community-based programme of planting and gardeningsessions involving families from diverse backgrounds in HighWycombe. Through the Landshare initiative we are committedto offering a thousand new growing spaces by 2012, someof which will be in redundant National Trust kitchen gardens.We’re also encouraging volunteers and allotment holdersto cultivate traditional varieties of fruit and vegetables wherepossible, and passing on the skills and know-how to help themto do so. At Cotehele in Cornwall our cultivation of traditionalfruit varieties in the Mother Orchard helps to maintain a uniquegene bank suited to conditions in the Tamar Valley.
S PAC E TO G R O W 9 Gibside near Gateshead ‘I love working with the children, sharing my love of growing things with them and teaching them basic gardening skills which hopefully they will take into adulthood. One of the children told me last week that she enjoyed gardening because she would just be bored if she stayed at home!’ says Sue Adamson, Gardener at Gibside. Just five miles from Gateshead, Gibside was once a grand estate built on the profits of coal mining. Now the estate is building a different name for itself, as the centre of a thriving community allotment scheme and a successful farmers’ 21 per cent of people market. Property Manager Mick Wilkes explains, ‘The historic have taken up gardening four-acre walled garden, long ago turfed over and turned into to grow their own fruit a car park, is now gradually being restored, with fruit trees and vegetables planted along its walls and the space inside divided into allotment plots.’ So far 30 plots have been created and all are being used The National Trust already by local people and community groups including mental has community growing health charities, four schools, a rehabilitation service spaces – from allotments and a homeless shelter. The only rule is to kitchen gardens – at that plots must be kept in a reasonable over 50 locations around condition and gardened along the country organic principles. Most crops‘Kitchen gardens like are grown from heritage seedours are fantastic places varieties, although modernto inspire people to value varieties are used too andfood and start growing the differences discussed.it themselves’Christine Brain, HeadGardener, Barrington Court,Somerset
The Trust employs and trains volunteers as gardeners,garden guides and stewards, and in other garden-relatedroles. Similarly, our working holidays allow people to getinvolved and work in our gardens. From revamping gardensat Cwmdu in Carmarthenshire to creating a CaribbeanHerb Garden at Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton,volunteering provides a chance to work with garden staffand experience at first hand how to maintain and managehistoric gardens.Many volunteers have gone on to develop successful careersas professional gardeners with the Trust and they in turn havea crucial role to play in helping others learn gardening skills.The Trust’s own gardeners’ training scheme, Careership,is the uK’s largest new entrant programme for heritagegardeners. Since its inception in 1997, over 200 studentshave been trained and many are now employed by the Trustor are working within the botanical and heritage garden sectorin the uK and beyond.
S P A C E T O G R O W 11 The National Gardens Scheme Enabling the spread of garden expertise throughout the gardens sector is a key objective of the partnership between the National Trust and the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). The Careership scheme is designed to ensure a continuous supply of suitably qualified graduate gardeners, competent to work in historic gardens. At present 13 students each year are supported directly by the NGS. The success of the scheme can be measured by the number of post-Careership gardeners now employed by the National Trust and private gardens. Leslie Hurst, who now works as an Interactive Gardener at Biddulph Grange Garden, says: ‘The Careership scheme is a‘Volunteering at Colby (above) gives me something perfect balance of theoretical study and workplace experience.worthwhile to do with my spare time, working in a lovely All aspects of working in a historic garden are covered, fromplace – I don’t have a garden at home so it’s the only tools/machines through to garden history (and everything inchance I get to garden!’ between!).’ Another former Careership student, John Hawley,Volunteer Gardener, Colby Woodland Garden, Pembrokeshire is now the Head Gardener at Sizergh Castle and explains the appeal of the opportunity to work for the National Trust: ‘After working in a garden for a number of years, helping toWe have 3,900 garden- shape and evolve things, you feel a part of the place, it’s inbased volunteers across your heart and soul.’the Trust who give us nearly40,000 hours of their time As Julia Grant, NGS Chief Executive, explains: ‘The Careershipa year – equivalent to 366 scheme allows the NGS to play a part in preserving our gardenadditional posts heritage. Gardens and garden visiting are an integral part of this country’s culture and keeping a pool of horticulturalPublic gardens, domestic experts couldn’t be more important in maintaining andgardens, botanic gardens developing this wonderful tradition.’and parks, nursery trades,market gardens and In addition, many National Trust gardens open their gateshistoric properties employ each year for the NGS and help raise funds for the NGS’sover 200,000 people in beneficiary charities which include Macmillan Cancer Support,horticulture Marie Curie Cancer Care, Help the Hospices and Crossroads. Over the last decade, the NGS has raised £25 million this way.
Our gardens are safe, secure places where people candevelop their self-esteem and confidence. We work withthe charity Thrive in the gardens at The Vyne in Hampshire,giving disabled adults greater confidence and social skills,a stepping stone to employment and a sense of purposein the community.We provide placements under a number of different governmentschemes such as the Intermediate Labour Market and NewDeal for the long-term unemployed. Biddulph Grange inStaffordshire provides work placements and training fortraining provider Total People Stoke-on-Trent.At Sheringham Park and Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, theTrust is working with The Prince’s Trust on re-socialisationprogrammes for troubled teenagers, in some cases leadingto full-time employment. Our ‘Getting into the past’ programmewith The Prince’s Trust aims to offer an opportunity to get afoot on the ladder in the horticulture field, for example for12 young people not currently in education or training atKingston Lacy.Our gardeners also collaborate with probation and prisonstaff to provide horticultural and social skills training. Examplesinclude the partnership between a secure unit in Newmarketand the gardens at Ickworth in Suffolk, and Quarry Bank Millin Cheshire, where prisoners from Styal are helping to restoreits newly acquired garden.
S PAC E TO G R O W 13 The Walled Garden at Stackpole Pembrokeshire The six acres of walled gardens on the Stackpole Estate are leased and managed by Pembrokeshire Mencap Ltd on a 40-year lease. The focus is on providing opportunities for people with learning difficulties to gain horticultural skills and work experience. Mike Evans, Trustee and Treasurer, explains: ‘We bus 45 students to the garden from their home or a care unit during the week and they take part in pre-NVQ courses in Horticulture and Life Skills for which we are funded by the Welsh Assembly. Funding is also received from Pembrokeshire Social Services.’‘The ladies from Styal women’s prison had the chance Students, staff, volunteers and visitors value the gardens forto experience a variety of skills they probably would the experience it offers them. under expert guidance, thenever have even considered. The scheme so far has students take responsibility for their own growing spaceshad great success with two of them on release finding and crops. Friendly and welcoming staff and volunteers areemployment in a very short time and getting their committed to providing students with the very best interactionlives back on track. They still keep me updated with the garden presents. Visitors are also encouraged to enjoytheir news’ the space and to take advantage of the availability of delicious,Alan Knapper, Head Gardener, Quarry Bank Mill (above), fresh, local produce through the shop. Schoolchildren alsoCheshire visit to see how vegetables are grown and what they taste like freshly picked. Mike sees the garden as a place which coaxes people who might not otherwise develop their own skills. ‘The Mencap Walled Gardens at Stackpole are a peaceful oasis. This environment encourages our students to feel comfortable and be themselves.’More than 30 National Trust gardens already havepartnerships with training bodies, social services,prisons and organisations for people with learningdisabilities
The Trust’s 200 gardens are sensitive barometersregistering the pressure of environmental change on ourlives, and on the natural world around us. Spring flowersnow bloom and trees come into leaf on average two or threeweeks earlier than 30 years ago. Summer rainfall in centralEngland has fallen by 20 per cent since the 19th century,and the growing season has lengthened by a month. Frostsare now uncommon in the West Country, and frozen lakesand rivers have become a rarity, even in northern England.The Trust is keen to find ways of reducing the environmentalimpact of gardening. New methods, such as the solar-rechargedlawn mowers piloted at Nymans in Sussex, are being testedalongside tried and trusted techniques, such as the restoredVictorian ram pumps used to distribute water at The Vynein Hampshire and Emmetts in Kent without the need forelectricity. We’re working in partnership with Yorkshireand Clydesdale Banks to find new ways to reduce ourenvironmental footprint.Green gardening methods, such as composting and waterhavesting, are good for the environment and save moneyas well as resources. These techniques also show how wecan care for our historic gardens without harmful chemicals.At Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire, the garden is run onorganic principles. No chemicals are used: garden staffrely on natural methods to maintain a balance.Gardening without peat helps to conserve the carbondioxide locked up in peat bogs and protects endangeredwildlife. Amateur gardeners are currently responsible fortwo thirds of all peat use in the uK, the CO2 equivalent of277,000 return flights to Sydney. All National Trust gardenshave been peat-free since 1999, as are all the plants soldat our properties.
S PAC E TO G R O W 15 Nymans Garden Sussex Nymans is admired as one of the 20th century’s outstanding British gardens but it also leads the field in demonstrating best sustainable gardening practice. Ed Ikin, Head Gardener, is clear about his priorities: ‘We never compromise on the appearance of the garden – the amazing colour and display that makes it famous – but wherever possible we use alternative organic methods and conventional herbicides or fungicides are a last resort. There are so many alternatives if you look for them. In the rose garden for instance we adopted a system from Australia of spraying regularly with milk – a potent fungicide.’‘Our aim remains the same as when the garden wascreated within the Arts and Crafts philosophy: to Water consumption is a fraction of what it would be in arestore the ideal of man in harmony with nature’ conventional garden. ‘Even in the 2006 drought we wateredLinda Roberts, Gardener in Charge, Snowshill Manor, the borders only four times. Get the plants used to it rightGloucestershire from the start and they’ll adapt and their roots go deeper.’ The garden’s carbon footprint is very low. ‘Solar panels recharge all our portable electrical equipment, including lawnmowers. We run our vehicles on recycled vegetable oil and we recycle almost all our waste through composting – including from the house and restaurant.’ Members of the team pass on their experience by talking to visitors, and by offering green garden trails, throughSeven out of ten gardeners A garden sprinkler can interpretation panels, activity weekends and a hugely popularnow put concerns about use 300–650 litres in Green Living Fair. ‘People trust what they hear from our staffthe environment into action an hour – as much as a and garden volunteers, because they can see that it worksin their own gardens family of four uses in a by looking around the garden.’ day. We are resurrecting old wells and harvesting rain water and installing more efficient irrigation
Our own back gardens are the most common way forpeople to experience nature close at hand. Private gardensin the UK cover a million acres, an area almost as large asall of the UK’s National Parks. This represents a hugelyimportant resource for wildlife.Birds, bats, amphibians, fungi and a wealth of invertebratesthrive in domestic gardens. In the typical suburban backgarden of Mendips, John Lennon’s childhood home,a survey found beetles in the undergrowth, birds in thehedges and a woodmouse munching on geranium seeds.National Trust gardens are important refuges for decliningspecies of native flora and fauna, such as the Four-spottedFlower Bee. Scotney Castle and Sissinghurst Castle are twoof the best sites for dragonflies in Kent, while the old lawnsat Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire boast rarities such asAdder’s Tongue Fern and Bee Orchid. The Mistletoe Beetlewas recently found in old orchards on the BrockhamptonEstate, Herefordshire, while Celypha woodiana, a rare speciesof moth protected under the Biodiversity Action Plan, wasdiscovered at Barrington Court, Somerset.Wildlife-friendly gardening practices help to promote biodiversity.Older cultivars of garden plants, especially bedding plants andperennials, tend to have much more nectar than their modernequivalents. This helps support pollinating insects such as bees.Gardens have a vital role in maintaining the link betweenpeople and the natural world. Gardening is also the easiestway we can encourage wildlife – by providing old wood stacksand ponds, reducing chemicals or growing a greater diversityof plants. Gardens are likely to become increasingly importantas refuges in future decades as the countryside comes underpressure from development and climate change.
S PA C E T O G R O W 17 The Weir Herefordshire For 20 years, this informal 10-acre garden, set dramatically on the banks of the River Wye, has been managed for the benefit of wildlife. The result, according to Ned Price, Head Gardener, is a rich sequence of sights and sounds for visitors to enjoy from January through to late autumn. The sheltered riverside location and abundant plant life encourages all kinds of insects, birds and animals. ‘Rooks and ravens, birds of prey, a great range of warblers and tits… it’s a haven for badgers, otters, stoats, weasels, yellow-necked mice, voles, bats, toads and frogs. There’s always so much90 per cent of adults believe that domestic gardens happening here.’have a key role in improving the natural environment Ned’s team take positive steps to encourage wildlife: ‘We don’t cut the grass as soon as the bulbs are finished, so meadow flowers thrive and encourage a huge variety of insects. That brings the birds, bats and amphibians. When we do mow, twice a year, we do it in a patchwork, keeping wild corridors across the garden.’ As agriculture has intensified and towns expanded, Ned sees gardens as being more and more crucial as wildlife refuges. ‘It’s not a grand garden here, but the peace, the simplicity,‘Formal gardens and Paving over of front the birdsong, the grasshoppers,wildlife don’t need to be gardens is one of the the butterflies, the damselfliesmutually exclusive. The main reasons why – the whole atmosphere –two can go hand in hand London’s house sparrow that’s what people relate to.’and they uniquely combine population has declinedtwo quintessentially by 70 percent in 10 yearsBritish passions’Matthew Oates, ButterflyExpert at the National Trust
Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren benefit eachyear from the experience of visiting Trust gardens. Ourpioneering Schools Guardianship Scheme forges closelinks with over 40 local schools as gardens have becomean unexpected and powerful way of bringing history,science and geography alive. They also provide thechance for children to learn practical growing skills.Nothing can inspire the imagination more than a living link tocenturies past. The Ankerwycke Yew still grows in the groundsof the ruined Priory it takes its name from in Runnymede, andmarks the very spot where the Magna Carta was sealed in1215. A descendant of Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree bearsfruit in his garden at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire andinspires local schoolchildren as well as generations of studentsat universities who have received cuttings from the parentplant over the years.The Trust is now working in partnership with local educationproviders on initiatives such as Forest Schools. These givechildren the chance to enjoy the natural world and promoteproblem-solving activities. Teachers in Sheringham’s ForestSchool in Norfolk have found that under-performing pupilsexcelled for the first time and visibly grew in self-esteemfollowing a visit to nearby Sheringham Park.Students also come on placements or day-release schemesfrom local colleges, such as those who helped to restorethe walled garden at Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire.A wide range of young adults, some with mental healthproblems, addictions or backgrounds as former offenders,have helped to bring Tyntesfield’s magnificent estate innorth Somerset back to life.
S PAC E TO G R O W 19 Trerice Cornwall For five years Trerice’s gardens have been the setting for an award-winning history project enabling local schoolchildren to ‘taste the Tudors’. They discover at first hand what it was like to work in an Elizabethan garden: growing authentic plants, cooking and tasting the produce, even enjoying Tudor pastimes. James Breslin, Assistant Property Manager, says the key is the practical quality of learning. ‘If the true history of Trerice is to come alive, children have to get their hands dirty. You know the old saying, ‘I hear and I forget. I see and I remember, butThe majority of the public (80 per cent) think that I do and I understand’.all children should learn about gardening, includinggrowing food, at school. Studies have shown that The garden the children have developed over the years ispupils from years six to eight developed better based on historical sources, including the first gardening bookinterpersonal relationship skills after participating in English, by Thomas Hill. ‘There’s practical advice we canin a garden programme use, but also lots of superstition, and quite barbaric methods of pest control that the children call “grisly gardening” – they ‘I know more about love it!’ gardening now, and help The children have recreated Hill’s ‘Great Squirt’, a massive my gran in her garden. garden watering device. ‘The children worked with 2-inch We’re going to share wide steel augurs, turned wooden pegs on lathes and made our vegetables with her the pistons for the device. Give children responsibility and friends too. My mum they’ll act responsibly.’ didn’t know how potatoes grow, but now I do!’ Gardens, James believes, are just as important as great Liam, school visitor, aged 8 buildings for bringing history to life, and inspiring curiosity. One child summed up what he’d learned over a hectic year of planting and weeding, hoeing and watering: ‘Now I know that gardening can be tasty.’The recreated ‘GreatSquirt’ at Trerice
A hugely significant and growing area of the Trust’swork is in the conservation of the internationally importantcollections of plants that contribute directly to the characterand significance of our gardens. Many are of great cultural,botanical and ecological value. In fact, no other organisationin Europe has such a large and diverse collection.We manage 32 National Plant Collections on behalf of thecultivated plant conservation charity Plant Heritage. Theseare heritage plant collections that represent particular stylesor periods of gardening and are integral to ensuring ourgardens are authentic in design and content.Some of our plant collections have special local significance,such as the historic Hereford and Marches apples atBerrington Hall in Herefordshire or the Tamar daffodilsthat were bred for the Cornish cut flower industry and areconserved at Cotehele. The names of many favourite gardenplants across the uK also have their origin in Trust gardens,such as ‘Hidcote’ lavender and Hypericum ‘Rowallane’.Without the skills and knowledge to propagate and growplants, the diversity and cultural significance of our collectionscould not be sustained. Based at Knightshayes Court in Devon,the Trust’s specialist propagation facility, the Plant ConservationProgramme, ensures the survival of many of its importantspecimens. In light of the recent spread of the fungal diseasesPhytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae we areworking with the specialist micropropagation unit at DuchyCollege in Cornwall to ensure the survival of plants threatenedby the disease.Building national and international partnerships is crucialto conserving these plants. The Trust is a signatory to theGlobal Strategy for Plant Conservation, which seeks to haltthe alarming rate of plant extinction worldwide.
S PAC E TO G R O W 21 A nationwide plant hunt The National Trust is undertaking the uK’s biggest ever cultivated plant survey. Currently only 10 per cent of the many thousands of plants in National Trust gardens are recorded. Now, thanks to sponsorship from Yorkshire and Clydesdale Bank and the dedication of hundreds of staff and volunteers, details of at least 75 per cent of the plants in our collections will be recorded by 2011. The database will enable the Trust to identify which plants are most seriously threatened, and help safeguard the future of thousands of plants that are significant to the character of our gardens. So far over 40,000 plant details have been recorded andA rare large-leaved rhododendron, Rhododendron we expect this figure to move towards a million by 2011.magnificum (KW213), in full flower Volunteers are helping us survey our collections. using GPS technology, each plant is identified, photographed and its details entered onto the database. This in turn is now linked to ‘PlantCollections’, an ambitious international data sharing project led by Chicago Botanic Gardens, of which we are the European lead partner. The project aims to link the databases of major plant collection holders, arboreta and botanic gardens around the world, to help prioritise conservation efforts at each location as aThe Trust works with The Over 300,000 species response strategy to climate change. The database will enableRoyal Botanic Gardens, of cultivated plants are us to confirm which plants are most seriously threatened. TheEdinburgh, to help conserve grown in UK gardens, plant surveys should help safeguard the future of thousandswild source material from compared to only around of rare plants and varieties of fruit and vegetables that arethe conifers Fitzroya 1,500 native species simply part of the character of our gardens. Mike Buffin, ourcupressoides, threatened Gardens and Parks Advisor, explains, ‘We can’t promise thatby illegal logging in Chile, nothing will be lost. But those plants we believe are mostand Torreya taxifolia (above), significant to our gardens won’t be lost – that’s our aim.’a conifer native to Floridaand Georgia of which only27 are left in the wild
Gardens are among this country’s greatest culturalachievements. The 18th-century landscape gardeningtradition is associated throughout the world with placessuch as Stowe in Buckinghamshire or Fountains Abbeyand Studley Royal in Yorkshire, which has World HeritageSite status.Figures such as William Kent, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brownand Humphry Repton were crucial to the development of thistradition – transforming earlier formal gardens into broad sweep-ing landscape gardens. In the 19th century garden designerssuch as William Nestfield, the architect Sir Charles Barry andGertrude Jekyll continued to experiment with new designs andinnovations: newly imported exotic plants, ever more elaborategreenhouses, and gardens laid out to harmonise with the latestarchitectural styles. The tradition continues to evolve, with newgardens still being created in Britain.Keeping garden traditions alive and interpreting their historiesfor new generations is a vital part of the management ofall National Trust properties. At Sissinghurst in Kent, thefamous gardens designed by Vita Sackville-West are carefullymaintained by a team of gardeners in the spirit of her originalplans and methods. Stourhead in Wiltshire has been attractingvisitors since the 18th century and today over 300,000 visitorscome each year to discover its beauty for themselves.Many of our smaller properties have gardens that are everybit as important as those found at large country houses.The cottage garden and orchard at Rosedene, Warwickshirebring to life the story of the Chartists and the struggle fordemocratic rights. The garden at Red House in Bexleyheath,William Morris’s 19th-century home, is filled with cottagegarden plants which inspired some of the most iconicdesigns of the Arts and Crafts movement.
S PAC E TO G R O W 2 3 Mount Stewart Northern Ireland When she arrived at Mount Stewart in the early 1920s Edith, Lady Londonderry, found an unremarkable parkland typical of any ‘big house’ of the day. Within 10 years, her unique passion had created a landmark in the history of the modern garden. Edith worked with ex-servicemen from the First World War, who helped turn her passion for exotic plants into a unique garden, ‘a fantasy, a wonderland of plant treasures’, according to Head Gardener Phil Rollinson. Taking full advantage of the unique microclimate found next to Strangford Lough, Mount Stewart became a true garden of the imagination. The Italian‘We need these places of pilgrimage to give us space and Spanish gardens feature glorious and eccentric statuary.to think and be ourselves’ Tudor roses nestle beneath shapely dovecotes, while clippedRespondent to the History Matters campaign Irish yews form symbols steeped in Celtic symbolism. Together our gardens Lady Londonderry opened the garden to the public for two represent over 400 years days a week in the 1920s and 30s. The desire to let a wide of changing fashions in range of people enjoy the beauty of the place led her to garden design, charting donate the garden to the National Trust in 1956. our evolving relationship The Trust now has a delicate balance to achieve in conserving with the natural world this design classic. We can draw on a fantastic archive ofAbove, Phil Rollinson, Head diaries and paintings and the vast knowledge of LadyGardener at Mount Stewart Londonderry’s daughter, Lady Mairi Bury. At the same time,– a true garden of the as Phil explains: ‘This must never become a museum piece.imagination It’s a living collection and we want to keep to that tradition – always looking for exciting new plants and pushing theOver half of the population boundaries of what we can grow, just as Edith did.’believe we are a nationof gardeners
Our gardens have huge potential to provide public benefit,but their future is not secure. The cost of maintaining themkeeps growing, and is currently £11 million a year. Withoutnew recruits to the horticultural profession, there could beeven more significant challenges in the future, as traditionalgardening skills are lost. Climate change will affect thecharacter and content of our gardens as well as the costof maintenance, and has encouraged the spread of pestsand diseases. Beyond the care of the National Trust manygardens are at risk of being lost to development or neglect.Developing gardening skillsA chronic lack of young people training to work in historicand botanic gardens could result in borders and flowerbedsat some of the country’s finest gardens being grassed over.With almost 40 per cent of the existing workforce due toretire by 2015, there are not enough younger staff availableto fill their shoes. Potential recruits, young and old, are putoff by what they see as a low-status job with poor wagesand conditions, and limited career prospects. Yet the realityis that gardening provides a range of relevant skills, and careeropportunities and conditions are the best they’ve ever been.At the National Trust our vital skills base is being eroded asexperienced staff retire and only 6 per cent of the Trust’sgardening staff are under 25. Alongside our own Careershipprogramme, the Historic and Botanic Gardens skills partnershipis now helping to develop a national strategy to improve themarketing and delivery of training and work experience foryoung people. This is backed by an innovative web portalGROW (www.growcareers.info) which the National Trust hassupported and which provides details of the different careersand training available throughout the horticulture industry.
S PAC E TO G R O W 2 5Adapting to climate change New pests keep coming, the latest being the Oak Processionary Moth whose larvae can defoliate oaks and cause severeGardeners cannot stop the clock on climate change. health problems such as respiratory difficulties for humansThey know our gardens must evolve to survive as the and animals. The Trust is working with local authoritiesplanet grows warmer. So the range of plant species and and organisations such as Kew Gardens and the Forestrythe techniques used to cultivate them will inevitably have Commission to provide guidance and help to sites affectedto change. or threatened by this pest.The Trust is re-thinking what conservation in a changing Chestnut Leaf Minerclimate will mean, and we are already altering our gardening (Cameraria ohridella) Ensuring political and public supportmethods. For example, we mow over 30 square miles oflawn, consuming more than 200,000 gallons of fuel a year, Long-term political and public support of the contributionso finding alternatives is vital. being made by gardens depends on them responding to public needs and wants and reaching out to new and differentThose who care for historic gardens need to combine a audiences. We want our gardens to be more accessible andwillingness to innovate with a responsibility to protect the involving. People want the chance to ask questions, to dounique historic character of each of our gardens, and research, to take home new gardening ideas, interests orprotect the biodiversity of our heritage plant collections. produce – and in time, as volunteers, to take a hands-on role in plant conservation under the guidance of the experts.Tackling new pests and diseases Oranges and other The sense of pride and achievement through being involved citrus fruit could be a in gardens projects paves the way for people to realise theirOther forces, both natural and human, threaten our gardens. common sight in UKEarly indicators of climate change are the increased incidence own potential. Many of the garden projects we’re involved in gardens under climate are resource-intensive and many of them are almost entirelyof new pests and diseases. Phytophthora ramorum and changePhytophthora kernoviae, first identified as new to this country reliant on one-off funding. Longer-term investment in thisin 2002, have so far affected 19 Trust properties, resulting in work would allow the connections generated between thethe loss of thousands of plants. The Trust has already spent Trust and others to become better established.over £750,000 on containment measures. We are developingand implementing biosecurity measures through informative ‘I spent my career as an engineer in the metal processingposters at properties to remind our staff and volunteers industries and experienced at first hand what a mess we canof good practice. We are also a partner in the £25 million make of the environment; working in a National Trust gardenGovernment-funded programme to tackle Phytophthora. offers me an opportunity to enjoy and contribute to a better human endeavour!’ Flooding at Coughton Tristram Hill, Volunteer at Treasurer’s House, York and Court, Warwickshire Beningbrough Hall and Gardens, North Yorkshire
2 6 N AT I O N A L T R u S TCall to action Recruit and train tomorrow’s gardeners Use gardens as outdoor classroomsGardens have immense potential beyond the conventionalboundaries in which we place them. Through the experienceof the Trust’s own diverse collection of more than 200 gardens Greater effort needs to be Local authorities shouldwe have begun to understand this power and the ways in made to promote careers in actively enable and supportwhich gardens can transform people and places. gardening in schools. Training schools to use gardens in horticulture should be as places for learning, andThe National Trust cannot achieve all this alone and we are boosted through education gardening as a doorwayalready working in partnership with many other botanical and reforms for 14 to 19-year-olds, to science, ecology, artshorticultural organisations across the uK and beyond. If we such as apprenticeships and and cultural learning.are to release the potential of gardens, however, more needs work experience, and nationalto be done by Government, local authorities, business and and local voluntary bodiesothers to recognise the extent of the true value of gardens expanding the scope forfor the benefit of us all. garden volunteering.There are seven areas in particular where more actionneeds to be taken…
S PAC E TO G R O W 2 7Develop garden Develop the Respond to Inspire green Share bestspaces for healthcare the threat thinking and practice withincommunities potential of new pests promote the garden and of gardens and diseases greener living horticultural sectorExpanding and improving The Government and NHS The Government and All those concerned with We need to share bestthe quality of public and Primary Care Trusts should the gardening sector engaging people about practice and knowledgecommunity gardens and exploit the full potential of should raise standards climate change, wildlife within the sector and provideallotments should be at the gardens as a ‘Natural Health for biosecurity, domestically conservation and greener stronger championing of theheart of green infrastructure Service’ in promoting physical and internationally, and invest living should harness the public benefit of gardens.strategies and community and mental well-being. in research and eradication extremely effective vehicle We would like to explore thedevelopment, particularly Investment should reflect programmes. We need to of gardens to tell the story idea of building a networkin areas with a poverty of their role in preventative support the industry in and inspire action through of garden organisations,green space. healthcare and gardens developing sustainable, informal learning, advocacy, to press for a better deal should be a regular environmentally friendly volunteering, social marketing, for gardens. ‘prescription’ to improve alternatives to the many campaigns and expansion of the health of the nation. synthetic pesticides that opportunities for allotments will soon be withdrawn and other growing spaces. under Eu regulations.