Let’s make our beds

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

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

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