Let’s make our beds
English heritage has launched a campaign to protect the art of Victorian bedding schemes, which they fear are at risk of being lost as councils across the country are forced to make substantial budget cuts (In The Garden, page 87). seasonal borders are extremely time-consuming and expensive to create—for example, changing the planting from spring to summer at Wrest Park, in silsoe, Bedfordshire, required more than 1,000 man hours and 11,000 new plants.
in a bid to reverse the trend, english heritage has set out to highlight how historic gardens play a crucial part in ‘telling the story of england’ and therefore need to be preserved as much as buildings and monuments.
‘Victorian bedding schemes are the equivalent to The Great British Bake Off’s technical challenge: they’re very difficult, are labour intensive and require a lot of precision, but they’re worth the effort as they’re not only beautiful, but also a vital reminder of a hugely influential period in British horticultural style,’ says Michael Klemperer, senior gardens advisor at english heritage. ‘We’re detemined to keep this art alive. if we don’t, we could lose important botanical skills and even some of the flowers themselves, because people simply won’t breed them anymore if there isn’t a demand.’
the charity is urging the public to visit sites that display seasonal Victorian garden beds, such as Wrest Park Osborne house on the isle of Wight; audley end, near saffron Walden in essex; Brodsworth hall, near Doncaster in south Yorkshire; and Witley Court in great Witley, Worcestershire. For more information, contact english heritage (www.english-heritage.org.uk).
Expensive and timeconsuming seasonal borders, such as this one at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire, are under threat