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Landscape & Garden Update – 22.12.17

I find myself sitting down for a while after a heavy morning of work putting the courtyard in order, following recent disturbance due to snow clearing. I’m pondering, as I do, what I should create in terms of this, the last Landscape & Garden Update of 2017. It certainly has been a long and very busy two months since my last post, bringing news that for another year Compton Verney attracted higher visitor numbers than the preceding year. A Growing Team Another record breaking year means more people than ever are visiting, seeing, and enjoying the park that the team and I care so much about. Most, but not quite all of the grounds team are to be seen in the image above, when we met for an end of season gathering at our recently finished grounds workshop. The team has grown over the last few years, and has become very adaptable to the many challenges that are thrown our way, but in every instance, there is always a smile on every face and a willing attitude to join in and move things forward. It is largely down to this group above, that the lawns remain green and lush, the paths stay neat and firm, the plantations keep […]

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Landscape & Garden Update – 13.06.17

Welcome to the Landscape & Garden Update – 13.06.17. Mowing As I type both the heat and longer daylight hours continue to stretch forcing maximum growth from plants across the park at Compton Verney. Lawns in particular have been growing strongly for many weeks now, prompting frequent mowing sessions; all in an effort to keep the landscape looking just so. If I’m honest, there are times when we can be overtaken by grass growth, but our machinery has been chosen specially to allow us to ‘catch-up’ if you like, so effectively we are always in control – or so I like to think! Our latest machine acquisition was thankfully supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the on-going project to restore and re-view the ‘Capability’ Brown landscape. Meadows

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Landscape & Garden Update – 17.02.17

Open Tomorrow! I couldn’t let the weekend pass without a quick post to let you know that the park at Compton Verney will be open from tomorrow – Saturday 18th February. The weather is looking settled for the weekend ahead, the welcome centre will be open, and the landscape is inspiring in its winter form. What better opportunity is there to get out and soak up a great British landscape!

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Landscape & Garden Update – 3.02.17

Welcome to the latest news from the grounds team at Compton Verney – Landscape & Garden Update – 3.02.17. The grounds team were relieved to reach the end of 2016 following a very hectic year which brought a new Welcome Centre, continual adjustments to the park, creation of a new building for the grounds team and much more.

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The ‘Capability’ Brown Landscape at Compton Verney

It would be remiss of me to let another day pass without a word or two about the results achieved at Compton Verney by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. It was Brown’s ‘Place Making’ efforts, in the pursuit of fashion which put the garden on the same page as many other notable landscape gardens in the eighteenth century – a fact that remains as relevant today as then. Invited along, (and paid for!) by the prominent 14th Baron Willoughby de Broke, John Peyto-Verney in 1768, Brown’s work followed that of Robert Adam who had spent the previous eight years updating the house. With a flick of the quill away went the previously fashionable formal garden to be replaced with a new, naturalistic style landscape with trees, serpentine lake plan and rolling acres of grass for farming and leisure pursuits. Teams of labourers and garden staff spent several years transforming the gardens and landscape to Brown’s new design, whilst master tradesmen set to work on a few very notable garden additions. The whole site would have been a hive of activity as the gravel walks, canal and parterres of the previous garden were gradually replaced by smooth lawns connecting the house with the […]

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Landscape & Garden Update – 25.08.16

Landscape & Garden Update – 25.08.16 – As is often the case, the busiest and most active times for the grounds team at Compton Verney result in less time for blogging and social media. We are however committed to the Landscape Blog and very much see it as an opportunity for the grounds team to speak directly to those who maybe can’t visit as often as they would like. If you are planning a visit however, it is worth knowing that the my monthly grounds walks, this year focused on ‘Capability’ Brown, continue. The tours are the first Thursday afternoon in the month, at 1.30 pm – please book with reception. The Fifties Allotment On almost every visitor agenda just now is the Fifties Allotment that we’ve installed to compliment the on-going Britain in the Fifties, Design and Aspiration exhibition. Little did we know that our modest allotment would be so popular, with visitors asking to look around the plot even before it was due to officially open! The success of the allotment however has been a real team effort, with volunteers being largely responsible for creating the plot we see today. From the initial planting list, I designed a plot that would be as accessible as possible, with as many details as […]

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Butterflies at Compton Verney in July

One of our recent #CVgrounds volunteer recruits has been out and about photographing Butterflies at Compton Verney in July. With the Old Town Meadow, East Park, and the West Lawn maturing as wild flower meadows, not to mention a good amount of woodland and lake area; we’re rapidly becoming a drop-in centre for most local wildlife which includes some beautiful butterflies! If you’d like a stroll around to see for yourself there’s a link at the bottom of this post to visiting information, and I’d recommend in respect of butterflies visiting before the middle of August, by which time we’ll have cut the larger part of the meadow areas. Tip – a sunny day is by far better for butterfly spotting, with many species only venturing out when the sun shines! Below are a handful of stunning photographs snapped mostly by volunteer Arthur Owens that give a flavour of what can be seen during early July for example. From a grounds management perspective the images and accompanying field notes help to build a picture of butterfly and moth species that live or visit Compton Verney throughout the season, which in turn helps us select the best management options for the many areas available to us. ‘Capability’ Brown, when he completed the re-design of the Compton Verney landscape may or […]

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Landscape & Garden Update 08.05.16

Long overdue is an update from the grounds team at Compton Verney…so here it is! Rising temperatures and longer day length makes for rapid plant growth, and most notably across the lawns and meadows. Indeed, brambles in the woodland garden areas have patiently waited and are now showing their worth and stretching for the light between the rapidly closing tree canopy. Across the lawns, we’re trimming as normal but for the West Lawn, the formally mown trellis pattern of last year is making way for informal paths that wind between the wild flowers. Already the mown paths are showing and can be followed to shady spots and a new feature garden I’ll describe below. Our bare-root planting was completed recently with a focus on the new ‘Wilderness-Area’ boardwalk. Colourful dogwood and willow was planted there and is already shooting from the tops of the rabbit guards, this will in time knit together to create nesting and feeding opportunities for our feathered visitors. We’ve also tried to capitalise on the moisture trapped in the soil during the winter and mulched many areas of planting. Mulching now with around 10cm of organic matter helps to retain moisture through the warmer months ahead, and makes […]

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Buzzard at Compton Verney #CVgrounds

The buzzard is a familiar sight across many areas now, and particularly so at Compton Verney. Our bird spotter Alwyn captured the following image as a buzzard swooped down above an established woodland know as Kennels Coppice – an area planted during the 1800’s to screen the old kennels. Alwyn does have a theory that, as buzzard numbers continue to rise little owl numbers will fall; the buzzard it seems is said to prey on the little owl. Maybe you have thoughts or knowledge on this, if so we’d love to hear your experience. All images © Compton Verney / Alwyn Knapton 2016 Don’t forget that our bird hide is now up and running in the newly formed ‘Wilderness Area’. The hide affords a good view of the eastern arm of the lake where, with binoculars the Great Crested Grebe can be seen nesting. There is much settling down of the area around the hide, but early signs are good with birds regularly visiting the new feeders, and kingfishers seen frequently nearby. Do visit and enjoy! Regards Gary Webb, Head of Landscape and Gardens at Compton Verney.

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January Landscape & Garden Highlights

Following the garden update sent out last week, I thought a good follow-up would be to use up some of the spare images and video clips from the trusty mobile phone. Enjoy! Compton Verney Landscape and Garden – January Highlights:

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Landscape & Garden Update 28.1.16

It’s high time for an update from the grounds team at Compton Verney where so much is happening it’s almost too difficult to keep track! We’re into that time of heavenly sunsets and beautiful frosty mornings, which of course brings ample opportunity for topping up the photo album.

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A Blogging Good Year!

Interested in social media stats? Here’s a few concerning a grounds, or garden blog from the team at Compton Verney.

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Landscape & Garden Update 24.11.15

Just a short post with my latest images showing progress with our Heritage Lottery Funded project to re-view the landscape at Compton Verney.

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Walking through a William Morris meadow

Did you encounter Dan Pearson’s ‘William Morris’ meadow at Compton Verney this year? Now the dust has settled and the wild flowers have been cropped, I thought I’d take a look back through poppy tinted spectacles to see what valuable lessons were learned.

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Garden Update 17-10-15

Chapel Bank: Arranged a little tidy last week, and more is needed, but the Verbena bonariensis is still flowering beautifully so I’m loathed to do anything just yet. The plants are knitting together really well now, but time will come to sort out what is and isn’t working well – more of this to come. West Lawn: Much has happened over the last month. Having to retain the wild flower area until the exhibition closed, as could have been expected, pushed us into poorer weather and so the hay cut was completed in less than ideal conditions. Too much herby growth was left in situ, which isn’t great for wild flowers, so we flail mowed then Adam took to the worse areas with the trusty knapsack blower, collecting as much grassy debris as we could. It certainly smartened up the lawn, which is already greening nicely and the wild flowers now have a fighting chance.

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An Autumn Stroll

The stroll into work takes many forms, and staff and volunteers at Compton Verney are most definitely spoiled. Walking as our visitors do along the paths and drives that lead from the car park to the gallery can be a mixed blessing, and there are the odd days when it can be a little too fresh so to speak. However, every now and then, and for many different reasons, we get witness things that make that walk memorable and very special.

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Re-viewing the Landscape is GO!

At any given time we have activity that includes archaeology, architecture, construction, landscaping, restoration, interpretation and much more – it is all go I can tell you!

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Landscape & Garden Research at Compton Verney

I’m glad to report that a NADFAS team of Heritage Volunteers from the Stratford-Upon-Avon area have volunteered to help us research the development of the landscape and garden at Compton Verney.

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Bird Watch Update

A short and sweet update of birds recorded on camera at Compton Verney by volunteer Alwyn Knapton.

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More Than A Meadow – Aerial Photography at Compton Verney

At one time or another, most everybody wonders of the sights our feathered friends enjoy. To be a bird flying high above tree covered hills and swooping low over lakes and meadows, perching high in branches or hopping silently across lawns. The sights they see are thankfully at last within our grasp due to a growing range of flying photographic devices now available. Professional drone photography is still developing, with much footage now making its way into television programmes as these devices offer new images, mostly never seen before. Gardens and landscapes of course are a magnet for such hi-technology, and as a landscape manager, I’ve looked for an opportunity to capture my landscape in such a way. For many organisations however, professional drone footage is reserved for larger, funded filming projects. I’m glad therefore to bring this post with some fresh footage captured recently by one of our latest volunteer recruits to the Compton Verney team; Jan Gillet. We arranged special access for Jan to fly his machine through the grounds. For this session we focused, literally, on the West Lawn area currently referred to as Dan Pearson’s William Morris Meadow. If drone photography is your main focus, then […]

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Scything the Landscape

A short article covering basic lessons learned on an Introduction to Scything workshop @ComptonVerney #CVGrounds

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Do behold the King in his glory…King Sequoia!

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Creating a Wild Flower Meadow

We have been extra busy bees at Compton Verney this last year, here’s our experience of improving a wild flower lawn/meadow.

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Bird Spotting at Compton Verney #CVGrounds

Heron, great crested grebe, woodpecker & reed warbler @ComptonVerney – Who’d have thought?! #CVGrounds #30DaysWild

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Big Sunday, this Sunday at Compton Verney

Interested in the traditional crafts such as thatching, brick making and stone masonry? Maybe hand crafting things from easily found timber, or wood turning and weaving to create chairs for example? #CVGrounds

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30 Days Wild

I’ve signed up to the Wildlife Trusts #30DaysWild challenge – join in today!

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Do you see yourself as the next Poldark?

Now, Compton Verney’s equivalent to Aidan Turner I can’t promise, but on Tuesday 7th July we’ll be hosting an Introduction to Scything Workshop, an old form of mowing that has so many benefits. Read on for more info!

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Anglers E-Bulletin – Edited Copy

Edited copy of Anglers E-Bulletin for general information. The 2015/16 angling season for members of the Compton Verney syndicate will begin on 16 June and run to 16 March 2016.

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Dan Pearson and the Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden Takes Gold!

Thought I’d add a quick blog post to let you know that Dan Pearson, the designer for our William Morris wild flower meadow at Compton Verney this year has today been awarded a Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show for the Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth Garden!  The garden was also awarded the prestigious Best Show Garden award, and is a real triumph for naturally planted gardens at Chelsea; a style that we know is close to Dan’s heart. The show garden is inspired by Chatsworth’s ornamental Trout Stream and Paxton’s rockery, and if you’re not planning to visit, the garden can be seen on the excellent RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage tonight at 8pm, and throughout the week. I’m sure this news will be warmly welcomed, a great achievement indeed for Dan and his team, and for the Chatsworth team who are new to the Chelsea show garden arena. We’re now even more thrilled as we look forward to The Dan Pearson and William Morris Meadow that is currently under preparation at Compton Verney – opening from June 27 as part of The Arts and Crafts House exhibition.  Great news indeed! Gary Webb, Head of Landscape and Gardens at Compton Verney.

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Bird Ringing, BBQ & Breakfast…

A quick post today after receipt of some images from Alwyn, our resident bird spotter. As part of an outreach project we recently welcomed a group of youngsters to site who were immersed in Compton Verney life for a twenty-four hour period – amongst other things this included a camping experience and bird ringing exercise led by Dr Andrew Gosler, university research lecturer in ornithology and conservation at Oxford University.

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Wellingtonia Avenue at Compton Verney

Wellingtonia Avenue at Compton Verney a 360 degree experience. #CVGrounds Sequoiadendron giganteum at Compton Verney, more information

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Compton Verney Tree Climbing 2015

– enter a tree canopy using ropes, knots and karabiners
– gain an experience which can’t be found on the ground
– complete a branch walk

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Honey Bee News – Compton Verney

We’ve had a few questions about the honey bees at Compton Verney lately, particularly about their condition post winter. Rod has kindly put a few words together as an update, although at this extra busy time of year I’m over a week late posting this to the blog… Please keep this in mind when reading! Spring Update – by Rod Oates

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Photographing the Landscape and Garden at Compton Verney

As always, I’m keen to explore ways to bring the grounds at Compton Verney to life for those who aren’t able to visit, and photography offers much potential. You might not be aware that, in addition to the regular Compton Verney twitter and facebook platforms, I use you tube, flickr, twitter and of course this weblog, where you’ll find a range of images and short video clips. Further links at bottom of this post.

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Easter Grounds Update

It’s been a very, very busy time for the grounds team at Compton Verney of late. I’m glad to report therefore that the lawns are thankfully very slow into grow this year – quite a relief all things considered! We have been

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BBC Gardeners’ Question Time

An opportunity presented itself at the end of 2014 to join in with a local effort that would ultimately see the BBC Radio Four Gardeners Question Time team descend for a recording in South Warwickshire. But for the sale of some tickets, relatively little input was required from myself but to join in with the organising committee and help where possible, with the added possibility of some secondary promotion for the landscape and gardens at Compton Verney.

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A Stinking Hellebore!

Spring always arrives in a garden with extra demands in terms of activity. The grounds at Compton Verney are no exception, although spring as you’ll quite rightly point out isn’t quite here yet… Activity in the grounds at Compton Verney traditionally slowed for the cooler January and February months, meaning the volunteer team took a well-earned rest, whilst the core staff team of two continued with essential maintenance; preparing for spring. This winter however, there was a willingness to continue with the full team right through the season, and we’ve certainly responded to this and have been very busy! A visual treat to keep us going back in January was the Winter Aconites, which cloaked the ground around the Lime trees on the West Lawn. These however have now given way to our lovely snowdrops that are massed on the bank of the Middle Pool. These will continue in flower for when we open on March 14th. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl8mjWBfnnI]

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Desert Island Discs

In June this year we’re looking forward to re-presenting the West Lawn at Compton Verney as the William Morris Wild Flower Meadow, an external element of the Arts and Crafts House exhibition. We’re lucky to have on board leading garden designer Dan Pearson who is designing the meadow, taking for his inspiration a William Morris design. Dan Pearson will be a familiar name to anyone in and around the gardening world, but to others, there’s an opportunity to hear more following Dan’s interview with Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs last weekend. We’re excited to be working with such a respected designer for our exhibition, and with his Chatsworth House inspired Chelsea Flower Show garden also under preparation, it’s sure to be a busy year for Dan. So, for an insight to this designers life and experience, do follow the link for a relaxing and inspiring 45 minutes… BBC Desert Island Discs

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November – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘November’ article, the eleventh in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘November – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :

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Slash and Burn – In the coppice at Compton Verney.

Last week saw a another pruning and sorting session in the Ice House Coppice at Compton Verney and with damp ground all around, we opted to burn in-situ rather than cart all the cuttings through the site – which would have caused much grass disturbance. Naturally the weather played its part and made proceeds ‘interesting’ shall we say, but a good days pruning and burning was had by all. Ahead of us now lies a large scale planting project to continue planting throughout the coppice. The eventual aim is to have tightly manicured shrubberies, with views through, over and around to one focal point or another.

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Capturing Wildlife

Capturing the wildlife of Compton Verney through a lens is quite challenging, as much of it is so good at blending into the background – being heard but not seen. As soon as we walk through the coppice for example, we can hear the birds making their alarm calls as they move away. It is like having a huge invisible aura that circles a person, an aura that repels birdlife!

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Compton Verney Grounds Blog – 2014 in review

Interested in social media and blogging? Check out this summary of statistics (provided by WordPress.com) following another successful blogging year from the grounds team at Compton Verney: Crunchy numbers… This blog was viewed about 8,000 times in 2014. There were 332 pictures uploaded, that’s about 6 pictures per week. The busiest day of the year was July 19th with 222 views. The most popular post that day was In a storm – please don’t shelter beneath trees! In 2014, there were 68 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 126 posts. The most commented on post in 2014 was Finish with a Flourish! Blog visitors came from 64 countries in all, most visitors coming from the U.K. (The United States & Canada were not far behind though!) Blogging can at times be a labour of love, but if you love the place you’re at; there’s always something happening and something to talk about. Making time is the key! Thanks to all who have supported the blog and passed on comments over the last two years – as ever we hope to bring more interesting and diverse stories during 2015! Keep an eye out for the next post in our 2014 month by month […]

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Bird Spotting

Two images received today from our wildlife recorder Alwyn, that I thought you might like to see. Alwyn visits often to record bird life around the grounds and landscape at Compton Verney. Occasionally one or two are caught on camera, and here are two snapped recently. The brightest is of course the Kingfisher, caught with lunch in his beak. The other is a Wren, paused on a shrub within the Ice House Coppice. Images © Alwyn Knapton 2014

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October – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘October’ article, the tenth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘October – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :  

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September – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘September’ article, the ninth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘September – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :  

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August – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘August’ article, the eighth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘August – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :

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July – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘July’ article, the seventh in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘July – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :

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June – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘June’ article, the sixth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘June – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :

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May – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘May’ article, the fifth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘May – The landscape at Compton Verney’ : (Please excuse the extra flower images this month – it’s an extra floriferous time of year!)

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April – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘April’ article, the fourth in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘April – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :

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March – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘March’ article, the third in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two! Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘March – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :

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February – The Landscape at Compton Verney

Welcome to this ‘February’ article, the second in a series of posts which aim to review, through photographs, twelve months of activity in and around the diverse landscape of Compton Verney. It’s a historic landscape that has seen much change, from the shaping of the areas as new plants establish to the visual delight gained from one of a number of artistic interactions. There are huge changes in the atmosphere from the busiest of open days to quiet days when just bird song can be heard. Either way, visually the landscape changes minute by minute and it’s wonderful to be there to experience it – and on occasion capture an image or two. Links to other months will be added at the bottom of the page, but for now, I hope you enjoy ‘February – The landscape at Compton Verney’ :

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January – The landscape at Compton Verney

‘January’, the first of a series of photographic posts about the landscape at Compton Verney.

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Finish with a Flourish!

Finishing the year with a Flourish! An article from the Compton Verney grounds team.

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Festive Fireworks at Compton Verney

Mini post with images of the festive fireworks at Compton Verney 2014

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Planting the East Park at Compton Verney

Planting is continuing this winter season in the East Park at Compton Verney, with support as always from Natural England under a countryside stewardship agreement. We’ve also thankfully gained additional financial support from Mercers’. The end result will see more avenue trees, a copse and Capability Brown tree ‘clump’ restored.

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Best Kept Footpath Award for Compton Verney

I’m glad to say that the team at Compton Verney have received another award, this time for the Best Kept Footpath!   Our path runs across the historic East Park, under which lies the ‘Old Town’ of Compton Murdak. The mown public right of way leads walkers through acres of wild flowers and recently planted trees that are forming a new wood pasture. At this time of year the path is a little damp under foot, but the views from the top of the field are certainly worth the trek. For visitors to the gallery, there is also a circular path which is mown to encourage visitors to explore the east park and its views.

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Exploring other aspects of Compton Verney

Compton Verney offers many things to many people, be it the permanent collections or the present British Folk Art exhibition. There’s also the extremely wide range and offer of educational activities, talks and workshops and a great cafe and restaurant! The outside environment however (as you’d expect if you know Compton Verney) holds other aspects to explore.

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William Morris Meadow Update

They days are passing swiftly by and I’m glad to say that the ground preparation, the first stage of work for the William Morris Meadow is finally complete. After a successful crowd-sourcing period (Art Happens) through the charity Art Fund, we were glad to get stuck into the work, especially as the colder autumn nights were closing in.

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Capability Brown Festival Update – Compton Verney

On Monday this week I ventured down to the capital for a workshop with a difference, titled New Ways of Looking at Brown. ‘Capability’ Brown was the subject of course, around which we learned from a range of speakers of some of the diverse projects that are springing up, with encouragement from the CB300 festival committee.

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Sowing Wild Flower Seed

It has been a while since the last grounds team update and for good reason – we’ve been too busy! All will be revealed below, but suffice to say that the weather has played a major part, as always, in dictating our work pattern.

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Ploughing on Regardless

Ploughing on regardless, or very nearly! Work on the Dan Pearson / William Morris meadow at Compton Verney gets under-way…  

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West Lawn Weeds Need Your Help!

After all: “A weed is just a wild flower in the wrong place”. To present a garden, and in my case a landscape garden in a certain way requires finding a balance, a balance between what we actively plant in terms of ornamentals, but more widely, considering a balance in terms of the ‘weeds’ we retain as wild flowers. Does this make sense?

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One Misty Morning

We have been treated to some lovely mild autumn days recently, the last few in particular preceded by chilly early mornings. The middle and upper pools at Compton Verney respond beautifully to this sort of weather, and Monday this week was one to treasure – thankfully I had a camera with me! Most often

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Art

Need I say more, we loved the sculpture too, looks like the sun shone perfectly for your visit 🙂

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Vincent

Stumbled across this lovely post from Compton Verney visitors, hope you like it too!

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Hot off the press: Compton Verney’s e-magazine

Excellent article, and great results already with a new volunteer for the grounds team!

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Stirring a Hornet’s Nest

I’m glad to report that our west lawn has received its end of season cut, amidst much activity on site. Now part of our ongoing maintenance schedule for the lawn, we aim to carry out this activity each season in the pursuit of a richer wild flower sward – from 2016 we’ll be cutting this area from mid-summer.

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Tai Chi at Compton Verney

Another Compton Verney Grounds event plug from me – however – this one is cost-free, very different from our normal offering and one that I think fits perfectly with our landscape! It is a Tai chi class and demonstration this Saturday morning, September 20th where well practised leaders have use of the landscape, and will aim to run sessions in a number of evocative spaces. Depending on group numbers, leaders will have a host of locations to choose from sculpted, open lawn areas, to intimate spaces sheltered by overhead trees. What a great way to interact with such a wonderful landscape. It is an ideal way for people to try tai chi at a stunning new venue. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact the organisers at the Swan School via the link below, who are happy to talk more about the event. Information direct from organisers flyer: This is an all-weather event run by The Swan School of Tai Chi and Chi Gung, where you can combine the beauty of this Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown designed landscape with the flowing, graceful movements of Tai chi. There is also opportunity to join in future Tai chi classes enjoying the landscape, wildlife and […]

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Catching Fish

Based largely on verbal feedback from our anglers (which often reaches me second hand!) it would seem that on the whole, anglers are having a fair season so far on the upper pool at Compton Verney. Thankfully however, I have recently received some concrete evidence for catches which might be of interest, as follows: One angler reported an afternoons catch that included fifty-four fish in total, including two roach, one around 6-7 oz, and one bream around 1 lb 4 oz. There has also been a pre-arranged overnight angling session, with a small group sitting out through a relatively mild evening. Some big bream and tench were caught down towards the bridge in the shallower water and a medium-sized carp came out half way along the bank, just where Moore’s Arch artwork was placed. Farther down along the coppice, roach of around 1 to 2 lb were caught very early in the morning.

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A William Morris Parterre…

What are we planning?

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Wild Warwickshire

Glad to spot one of our blog posts featured in the summer edition of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s – Wild Warwickshire magazine. Unsurprisingly, it is a quality magazine packed full of wildlife features, so it’s quite a thrill to see our efforts in wildlife promotion noticed, with a reprint in the magazine.

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Italian Art Talks – Palladio and Britain

There are a number of like-minded individuals who follow this blog with a good deal of love and appreciation, not only for landscape gardens but also for architecture. Indeed, most people who visit Compton Verney are acutely aware of the wonderful Robert Adam improved mansion that is reflected in the upper pool. I personally have spent many hours, by default, working around and looking at this, and other impressive Palladian buildings. It is unsurprising therefore that

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Tree Facts – Wellingtonia at Compton Verney

Welcome to a page of the Compton Verney Landscape Garden blog, providing information about our Wellingtonia trees. Plant name: Sequoiadendron giganteum (synonym: Sequoia gigantea) Commonly known as: Wellingtonia; Giant/Sierra/California Redwood

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Woodland Play Area, Compton Verney

Discovered the Woodland Play Area at Compton Verney yet? If not, then you may not know what you’re missing!

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Tree Climbing Time!

Yes our last climbing session of the season is being run, (or climbed!) NEXT FRIDAY – 22nd August. Managed on site by The Great Big Tree Climbing Company, the day long activity is broken down into bite-sized hour-long climbing sessions that are perfect for merging in with other features on site – the Woodland Play Area, Willow Tunnel, Nature’s Art Box and of course the Moore Rodin exhibition. There’s seating nearby to picnic, watch the action or take some action photographs. Other locations include Alexandra Palace, the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, and the National Trust’s Anglesey Abbey to name just a few, so we’re delighted the GBTCCo. are dropping by to lead one more day of climbing at our own Compton Verney. (c) Great Big Tree Climbing Company As described on the website: Reach new heights at Compton Verney in our tree climbing activity. Two experts will teach you how to enter a tree’s canopy using ropes, knots and karabiners, whilst being securely attached in a harness at all times. Once at the top of the tree you will see amazing views and gain an experience which can’t be found on the ground. If you’re feeling brave take the zip wire […]

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Colourful Caterpillars

At Compton Verney yesterday I caught sight of a hazel shrub with a branch tip that wasn’t looking quite as it should – a little tattered and torn. On closer inspection the culprits were still at the scene, and what a sight they were.

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Time for Tree Climbing!

Fancy trying tree climbing during the summer holidays? Well, not tree climbing in the traditional sense, but with trained climbers, using ropes and harness? Then do read on!   THE GREAT BIG TREE CLIMBING COMPANY  are returning to Compton Verney next Wednesday to manage a day full of tree climbing. Six individuals at a time are given simple tuition in the techniques that make tree climbing about as easy as it can get. Admittedly, you will need a head for heights, but you’ll be supervised and well cared for throughout. 

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Flutter-by Butterfly Count

I popped out for a quick walk around the west lawn at Compton Verney this morning to make a start on our butterfly recording for the big butterfly count. Aside from a wide-brimmed hat and catch net (are these still in use?) I simply wandered with my clipboard and camera – although catching good images would be easier with a zoom lens I think, for every time I got near enough – off they would flutter! 

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In a storm – please don’t shelter beneath trees!

There’s a good chance of more thunderstorms this weekend, and judging by the humidity today; tonight just might be the night. Naturally we’ve all grown up with the message to not shelter beneath trees during storms, but really; how likely is it for lightening to hit trees so close to home? Judging by the evidence at Compton Verney, more likely than many would imagine! The above image shows Compton Verney’s impressive Wellingtonia Avenue, a feature established since the second half of the nineteenth century. Planted to border a new exit towards Kineton, the conifers, now well over a century old are maturing nicely and exhibiting their characteristic down-swept branches and soft bark – features that provide many nesting places for birds, bees alike. 

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Strolling through the East Park

A few recent images following a trip around the East Park at Compton Verney, an area of seventy acres or so, now re-establishing as a wild flower meadow under higher level stewardship agreement with DEFRA. These two fields are settling down beautifully with their light-touch management, which consisted initially of re-seeding with native wild flowers, and an ongoing annual regime of cutting, baling, and autumn grazing. At the peak of summer, pathways are

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Edgehill Half-marathon, Compton Verney

For just a few hours today Compton Verney became the start and finish venue for the edgehill half-marathon organised by Tempo Events. The runners

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Waded and Weeded…

For many visitors to Compton Verney the lake, or ‘Upper Pool’ to be more accurate, provides either a familiar vista or a pleasant, some would say dramatic surprise. It is crossed by almost everyone via the ornamental Adam/Sphinx bridge on the way up to the mansion. For our anglers however

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Sheltering from the rain…

Passing through some woodland and in between showers this morning, I stopped suddenly at the sight of a large bird clinging to a chestnut tree. It hadn’t noticed me initially, so I moved in for a better look. It spread its wings a few times but seemed quite content perched there in the shade.

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The Dan Pearson & William Morris Meadow

I’m thrilled to bring you news of a new project that could have far-reaching benefits for the grounds and environment at Compton Verney. Landscape and garden designer Dan Pearson is to work with Compton Verney in connection with an exhibition titled ‘The Arts & Crafts House: Then and Now‘ (27 June – 13 September 2015).

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Capability Brown Festival Information Day

At Compton Verney tomorrow, Wednesday 18th June, we’re playing hosts to a Capability Brown Festival Information Day. Although this is a private event, engagement activities will be placed around the grounds from midday onwards – therefore, if you’re wondering which afternoon you should visit this week – Wednesday would be ideal! 

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Grounds Trails at Compton Verney

If you’re a regular visitor to Compton Verney, you’ll know something of the diversity the landscape holds. There’s establishing flower borders near the chapel, a long-established woodland garden known as the ice house coppice, acres of wild flower parkland and lawns aplenty. However, have you heard of the family activity trails to help you explore some of that landscape?

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The West Lawn at Compton Verney – Just a Lawn?

A photographic walk to introduce the West Lawn at Compton Verney… More to see than you’d think!

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Angling at Compton Verney – 2014/15 season

There’s a small community of anglers at Compton Verney who fish all year through but for a rest period from the middle of March to the middle of June. Regulated by a membership, the angling helps to keep a tradition alive that stretches back in one form or another to at least the seventeenth century. Fish caught previously include Common, Mirror and Ghost Carp, Bream, Tench, Roach, Pike, Perch and Gudgeon. What follows is a condensed version of a bulletin that is shared amongst our anglers for interest and update:

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Capability Brown 300 InfoDay 18th June

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Capability Brown Symposium

Interested in learning more of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and his working ways? Then here is news of an upcoming event organised between the Humanities Research Institute of Buckingham University and Compton Verney. Please note: this is a separate event to the CB300 Information Day.

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Spring Flowers at Compton Verney

With so much to do in spring, text heavy blog posts can sometimes be few and far between. What a great opportunity therefore to share some simple images that show off some of the spring flora at Compton Verney. You might have to wander the grounds to see them all, but here’s proof of their presence, at least for the month of April when these images were taken – treasures indeed!

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Wildlife Camera @ComptonVerney

Did we mention how proud we are of the wildlife at Compton Verney? Naturally, with any size plot, there is always space to nurture and enjoy wildlife, but with our larger than average area we have lots more opportunity. We’ve well kept and tidy areas, along with wilder and less intensively managed spaces, woodlands and a large lake for example.

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Inside Compton Verney

Have you heard about the on-line magazine produced in-house at Compton Verney? If not, there’s no better time than now to flick through its virtual pages, especially as our wonderful grounds feature heavily in this issue – not to mention a small but perfectly formed piece from our long-standing grounds volunteer Jenny! [scribd id=219598344 key=key-2dvoumgncg82rj02afff mode=scroll]     Link to ISUU Inside Compton Verney Link to Scribd: Inside Compton Verney

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A British Garden in Time

Another short post to say how delighted we all are after the amazing Compton Verney landscape was featured in the current BBC Four program called British Gardens in Time. The episode is the second of four, and featured in the main the landscape of Stowe, a National Trust property near Oxford. Of course our connection is Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, who started his head gardening at Stowe before running around the country to improve many more country estates – Compton Verney being one of the finest. I shall let the footage do the talking, which I’ve reduced to specifically highlight the Compton Verney section, but please do take the time to watch the whole episode which is hugely informative and sets the scene for the English Landscape Movement. BBC iPlayer – British Gardens in Time The link is only available for a short time – until 9:59PM Tue, 6 May 2014

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Tree Climbing

A quick post to thank everyone who helped make the tree climbing activity a success today at Compton Verney. A beautiful sunny day from the outset, and it was wonderful to see folks enjoying this very different aspect of the grounds.

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Historic features in the grounds – Ice House

In a wooded Warwickshire valley, sitting in silence and a little way back from an old carriage drive, is an oddly shaped yet picturesque building. Obviously from another age, it sits snugly amongst Yew trees with its fully restored lime mortared brickwork and thatched bonnet – the building is an 18th Century Ice House no-less!

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British Gardens in Time

Just a short post for grounds and garden focused followers to let you know of a four part series starting this Tuesday on BBC Four, at 9pm: British Gardens in Time. Following a visit from the film crew in November of last year, it is hoped that the landscape of Compton Verney will be featured in some way during episode two, though the focus will be the National Trust’s Stowe Landscape and in some way Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. It may only be a fleeting glimpse, if at all – so do watch closely! A short promo clip for the Stowe episode is available on the following link, but do also tune in for the first episode about the fascinating Great Dixter, which started life as an Arts and Crafts garden. Other episodes will focus on the Victorian Biddulph Grange, and Nyman’s. British Gardens in Time – Stowe    

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Help for Hedgehogs Survey

  We’ve been out with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust representatives Ben Devine and Sarah Brooks this week around the grounds at Compton Verney, on a mission to

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March Planting!

Another Compton Verney Grounds Blog post is overdue, and what better occasion than one to mark this blogs first Birthday! Yes it’s hard to believe a year has passed since its launch, but after many articles, lots of comments, likes and shares, and a little over 7000 views, it certainly seems to be worth the extra effort involved. Many thanks for joining in and sharing – long may it continue!

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Cake, Catch-Up & Capability Brown!

Compton Verney certainly isn’t different from many arts or heritage organisations in that volunteering is crucial to achieving its aims. As a result, and to mark the start of the twenty fourteen season I last week arranged a small gathering of grounds volunteers for cake, catch-up and Capability Brown chat! And where did we meet? The atmospheric (and freshly swept!) gun room! I hasten to add that guns stopped being stored there many, many moons ago!

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Ropes, Knots and Karabiners!

Do your family enjoy the great outdoors; exploring parks and gardens perhaps? If like me, you like to test your children’s perception and enjoy seeing them discover new things, or maybe you yourself are seeking a new challenge or experience? Then maybe this new event in south Warwickshire could be worth a look…

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Return of the bee hives!

Some of you might remember the upsetting time at the end of last year when our bees suffered visits from thieves in the night. It was a small enough collection anyway, but unfortunately over the two visits our hives were reduced even further, leaving a much smaller colony to hopefully limp through the winter.

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Capability Brown 300th Birthday Celebrations

Countdown to Capability Brown 300th Birthday celebrations begin as Festival wins Heritage Lottery Fund support An influential group of organisations, landowners and individuals are one step closer to marking the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown with a nationwide festival celebrating his life and influence in 2016. The Capability Brown 300 Celebration and Festival has received a first round pass* and will receive £139,200 development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

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#MooreRodin

Well what a fascinating week we’ve had! If you follow Compton Verney or myself on twitter, there’s probably no need to tell you that we’ve been rather busy recently helping with the installation of sculpture for our forthcoming exhibition – Moore Rodin; featuring works from English sculptor Henry Moore, and French sculptor Auguste Rodin. It has of course been more than a little challenging due to weather conditions, with heaven sent moisture playing a pivotal role in the process! I have to say however that the installation team involved have so far been very helpful and respectful of our precious grounds. That said, there is some lawn repair work to complete, but very little indeed considering the size of achievement.

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An Historic Landscape Needs Your Help!

Do you have an interest in Gardens? Maybe you’ve an appreciation for the English Landscape? You might even have a passing interest in the History of our Green and Pleasant Land… If the bold type strikes a note, and you’d like to learn a little more about each and any of the above, for free, then a perfect opportunity could exist for you on March 29th 2014 – literally just over the horizon!

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Spring in the landscape and garden of Compton Verney

Spring is an amazingly busy time in the great outdoors – bulbs and herbaceous plants send up shoots, trees and shrubs burst into bud, and lawns raise their level as quick as we can mow. Compton Verney, being a long established landscape and garden features many such plants and spaces of special interest, I have therefore assembled a short video to show just a little of what you could expect to see during a spring visit. Enjoy a minute or so of our spring landscape and garden: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yosIfLCTy70]

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Tree Facts – Common Lime trees at Compton Verney

Welcome to a page of the Compton Verney Landscape Garden blog, featuring a Fact Sheet for our Common Lime trees. Plant name: Tilia x europaea (synonym: Tilia x vulgaris)

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Winter in a landscape garden…

A working landscape and expansive ever changing sky…

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Georgeous Hellebores – Grounds Update January 10 2014

A glorious sunny morning greeted us today which is very welcome following some of the lacklustre starts we’ve experienced of late. Whilst the grounds remain closed to visitors, the grounds team itself remain as busy as ever working through some of those tasks that have to bend and sway with the fluctuating weather – the wet soil being the key decider.

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‘Winter Flowering’ Aconites

There is just a few metres across the west lawn at Compton Verney a stately grove of Lime trees, set a midst the lawn. In early January, when Compton Verney staff return to work following their Christmas break, we’re always drawn across to this grove to see a wonderful, expansive blanket of yellow flowers. Winter Aconites are the magnet, and they appear at Compton Verney from the earliest days of the new year through to February. It is a little beauty of a flower that keeps low to the ground, and

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2013 Landscape & Garden (pictorial) Review

January – Although snow came and went through to March, this early helping kept us more than busy clearing the lengthy drives for staff and residents + a little modelling too!

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Tree Facts – Cedrus at Compton Verney

Welcome to a page of the Compton Verney Landscape Garden blog, featuring a Fact Sheet for our Cedar of Lebanon trees. Plant name: Cedrus libani (Pinaceae family) Commonly known as: Cedar-of-Lebanon

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Wintry Compton Verney

Considering Compton Verney at other times of the year, are you one of those who likes to lie back on the lakeside grassy banks and enjoy the sunshine? Or do you prefer to stroll around the vast East Park to enjoy the wider scene? Or maybe you prefer to pause on a bench at the foot of the mansion wall? If so you might be surprised to see how the gardens and landscape are transformed under snowy conditions, and for this reason, especially during our present closed season at Compton Verney, I thought it worth reaching back to some January 2013 images collected over a couple of personal visits to check the condition of the grounds. To set the scene, the main roads were passable each time, but beyond this minor routes and private estate tracks remained under snow. Temperatures were below freezing with an icy breeze, and a sparkling carpet of insulation concealed the varied ground beneath…. 

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The Figure in the Estate

You may recall mention of a brief appearance at the Maison Française in Oxford, as a panel member for a discussion on the role of gardeners and stewards in designed landscapes. Quite a wide discussion was enjoyed by all I trust, with much audience participation in a subject that clearly has much more scope for future exploration. A very knowledgeable collection of speakers gave illustrated talks, as follows: The Serviceable Ghost; the Forgotten Role of the Gardener in England from 1630 to 1730. Speaker: Sally O’Halloran, Sheffield University William Speechly and the Scope of Estate Gardening at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire in the later 18th century. Speaker: Susanne Seymour, Nottingham University Surveying the Prospect: Landowners and Poets in the Eighteenth-Century Country House Poem. Speaker: Clare Bucknell, All Souls College, Oxford Following these excellent presentations, Glyn Jones (Hidcote Manor), Nick Lightfoot (The Vyne), Barry Smith (Stowe) and myself took questions about the present role of gardeners and stewards. For interested folk, the link below connects to the MFO web page where podcasts for each presentation can be found, along with one for the gardeners question session – I would add that due to microphone issues, the gardeners session only lasts approximately 30 minutes – but a grand 30 […]

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Colour – An Autumn Selection from Compton Verney.

Although our gates are closed to general visitors for a month or so, activity continues apace in and around the grounds. More of these goings-on in a forthcoming post, for now I hope to bring a shot of colour to the generally gloomy December days we are presently experiencing. I count myself amongst the luckiest of people, being able to work at such a special location; dripping with character, packed with variety and full of rich colour – especially so in autumn. Before the memory of autumn is completely replaced by the festive glow, I thought I’d bring together a selection of images taken whilst out and about at Compton Verney. A link at the foot of this post links to these, and more images in the form of a video. Enjoy!

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Bee Hive Theft – round two!

In early November, an isolated area of the grounds at Compton Verney received a visit from thieves in the night intent on removing, unbelievably, our two bee hives. A link at the bottom of the page describes that nocturnal visit, but this post is to bring news of a second visit where thieves aimed to remove the one remaining bee hive.

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The Figure in the Estate.

I am honoured to have been invited by Laurent Châtel to the Maison Française d’Oxford tomorrow to represent Compton Verney in a seminar titled: The Figure in the Estate – The Rôle of Gardeners and Stewards in the Designing of Landscapes. The seminar is open to visitors, please click on the link above for more information. The seminar is taking place between 10:45am and 4:30pm at the Norham Road base, and from a garden and landscape history perspective, it looks to be a fascinating day. Key players in the line up are Sarah Law and Susanne Seymour, Nottingham University, Sally O’Halloran, Sheffield University and Clare Bucknell, All Souls College, Oxford. Towards the end of the day, I shall be joining Glyn Jones (Hidcote), Nick Lightfoot (The Vyne), and Barry Smith (Stowe), in a discussion titled: ‘From The National Trust Head gardener’s Point of View : Current Practice – Consensus or Dissensus?‘ Of course, I shall be trying my best to hold a candle up to Compton Verney, moreso in the presence of such notable National Trust gardeners – wish me luck!  Gary Webb,  Head of Landscape and Gardens, Compton Verney

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A Wreath for Compton Verney

A short video from the grounds team, showing the making of a Christmas Wreath for Compton Verney. The mansions portico is decorated each November with four large Christmas trees between the columns, with the wreath positioned centrally above the Adam Hall doors. The video will explain more, but I hasten to add that the wreath and video is an amateur production – so please be kind! Don’t forget you can see the wreath, trees and more by visiting one of our Winter Weekends – 7th and 8th, and 14th and 15th December 2013 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gvt52lsiQzE&w=420&h=315]

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Installing Christmas…

Its another time of year when grounds teams across the land get creative and join in with decorating their properties in the name of Christmas. OK, so it’s only mid November, but with temperatures lowering, nights drawn-in, and festive adverts on TV; we can’t hold it back much longer! l Here’s just a few teasing images to show that the #CVGrounds team are getting festive too, but naturally, we like to do things that little bit differently at Compton Verney. The grounds team have put aside the planting for the time being, thought long and hard whilst sipping our gardeners tea, and have hopefully come up with something a little different this year.   Our portico trees have today been lifted into position, and even with mechanical assistance from our neighbouring farmer, I can confirm that they certainly put up a fight! They’re a popular addition to the front of the mansion, and look so beautiful that we just can’t deviate from this decorative approach, but inside the mansion….     We have gone for something altogether more natural – well sort of! Yes it is a little different, but the initial response from visitors is very positive – thankfully! […]

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Bee Hive Theft!

Very sad and surprising to report that between Sunday afternoon and this afternoon, an attempt was made to steel our two bee hives.This is so sad after so much effort from our volunteer beekeeper Rod this year to set up and settle down the bees.

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Heritage Volunteering Online Portal launched

A really useful website for volunteering in and around south Warwickshire. Hopefully the site will be useful when I need to recruit for future Capability Brown Tercentenary activities, where there’ll be volunteer opportunities for landscape interpretation. Watch this space!

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Spotted and Potted – Grounds Update October 28 2013

I’m relieved to report that at least as far as Compton Verney’s grounds are concerned, the damage expected from the overnight storm hasn’t materialised. Most of the leaves are left on the trees, much as last week, and although a little damp underfoot, the grounds are largely back to normal – and awaiting your visit!

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Georgian Weekend Revelry

Now that the dust has settled, if not the post event gossip, I thought it worth adding a short post about the Georgian Weekend we enjoyed at the end of September. In the very least, I hope the photographs might paint a picture of the general revelry we enjoyed over the weekend.

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Bee Keeping @ComptonVerney 2013

So, with the season drawing to a close we’ve had a chat to our resident volunteer beekeeper, Rod Oates, for a review of the season. Beekeeping was introduced to Compton Verney at the end of April this year with the purchase of a nucleus – essentially a small colony of bees consisting of five frames on which there was a queen, some brood and worker bees. This nucleus was placed in a wooden hive situated to the west of the grounds.

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Barn Owl Boxes are Go!

We recently ventured out and across the East Park at Compton Verney, on a long-awaited mission to place our new barn owl boxes into position. We’ve opted for two boxes at present, the location chosen carefully to offer protection from the worst of the winter weather, along with ease of access for barn owls. Additionally, the location is far enough away from main woodland areas to avoid occupation by squirrels, and from roads to avoid owl collision with vehicles – we hope.

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Heritage Open Day Tours

Just a quick peek at the landscape view we were enjoying as part of our Heritage Open Days East Park Tours these past two days. This brings to a close Compton Verney’s involvement in HODs for this year, but I know there are many other venues available this weekend so please check the Heritage Open Days website where you’ll be able to search on locations near to you. Compton Verney will of course be open as usual, and there’s still time to see the current exhibition – Turner and Constable: Sketching from nature. Tomorrow I’ll be away visiting other Heritage Open Day events, picking up tips and inspiration. Many thanks to all who showed interest and gave encouragement for our tours; I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to return with more next year. Gary  

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Heritage Open Days – East Park Tours

Another new step for the grounds team – Heritage Open Days! More specifically, we’ll be stepping in the direction of the East Park at Compton Verney, an area yet to be conquered with general grounds walks. The Heritage Open Days offer will be one tour each morning on the 12th and 13th of September. Each tour will be free to join, but we are limited to 20 people per tour so please book ahead – and soon! To book or ask further questions, please contact gary.webb@comptonverney.org.uk or call 01926 645 535

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Landscape & Garden Photography

Landscape & Garden Photography Do you have a Digital SLR camera and enjoy landscape, gardens and architecture? If so, do spare a minute as I bring you news of a creative venture at Compton Verney. We have connected with respected Stratford-Upon-Avon based photographer Sally Crane who will lead a workshop titled ‘Beginners’ Digital SLR Photography’.  The workshop will involve explanation and practical demonstration, where Sally will guide you through the basics of light, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and composition. Skills can be put into practice with informal walks into the grounds, where you’ll be able to take inspiration from the beautiful landscape, gardens and architecture of Compton Verney. All participants will need to provide is a digital SLR camera, batteries charged and ready to go! Saturday 19th October 2013 Tickets: £65 to book call 01926 645 500 Compton Verney Website and Information – Click Here About Sally Crane – Click Here

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A Thinking Gardener…

A few observations as I travel through the grounds of Compton Verney before work… Those clumps of Lily of the Valley I brought from home last year are establishing well, I wonder how far they will spread across the corner near the visitor lodge. The shrubs we planted the season before last however have good-sized cracks in the soil around them; just like the parkland soil last week. The plants are OK, but we’ll need some rain soon or they’ll need a good soak…

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An Afternoon Snack…

Spotted on a Sunny August afternoon in the grounds at Compton Verney, munching their way through a weedy goat willow: Lesser willow sawfly larvae, or Nematus pavidus we believe.

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New Queen Bee

I bumped into beekeeper Rod on Wednesday who had an update on our newly installed bee hives at Compton Verney, particularly the latest colony to be added into the second hive. In short, the new queen hasn’t fared particularly well, having become weaker over the last few days, and a new queen bee has become necessary to boost an otherwise failing colony. In light of this, Rod had a good chat with our friends over at ‘Honey Bee Suppliers’, who immediately responded by offering to send out a new queen bee, who is pictured below having just arrived in her postal transport case! It’s hard to believe that bees travel by post, but as one tweeter mentioned it is Royal Mail after all! It’s hard to see in this image, but she has a little dot of red paint on her back, none harming I hasten to add, so that she may be easily identified and checked when finally introduced into the hive. Let us hope that she settles in quickly and heads up the colony in style! Hive one I have to say is doing extremely well, and we’re looking forward to harvesting some honey shortly. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that the […]

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Beech Tree Downfall

The link below is to a video showing the felling of a mature beech tree in the grounds of Compton Verney. The tree previously had the crown branches removed to reduce weight on the stem, which was had been seriously weakened by the fungus Ganoderma adspersum. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi6XGr2p6lw&w=420&h=315] The stump will be cleaned up and left in-situ to act as a visual reminder to the spot where this significant tree once stood – believed to be approaching 200 years old. A new beech tree has been planted on the edge of woodland nearby, amongst many other trees.

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Compton Verney Survey

A quick post this may be but one that could mean a great deal to the landscape and garden that surrounds the art gallery that is Compton Verney. We’re currently preparing a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding, and as key stakeholders your thoughts can be critical as we develop our plans to restore and re-invigorate the landscape. We are asking the Heritage Lottery Fund for £2.46 million to help with this project to restore our ‘Capability’ Brown chapel and to bring back to life more elements of our landscape for our visitors – we therefore need to know what you think! PLEASE help us by taking a few minutes to fill this on-line survey. Click Here

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Compton Verney Award for Wildlife Conservation

Earlier this week I popped across to Moreton Morrell College, part of the successful Warwickshire College group to meet with staff and students on a special occasion. The event, also being enjoyed by many proud parents was the college annual awards ceremony.

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Grass Happy at Compton Verney!

The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind to be fair, the team having been reduced by 50% due to some well deserved annual leave. Negatively, much has needed to be put on hold during this time as the demands of the season call for grass cutting; and lots of! On the positive side however, I’ve been forced into spending much more time out in the grounds so as not to fall behind with mowing, time that I’ve cherished.

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Warwickshire – Compton Verney

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Split Willow, Cowslips & a Bat Box?!

Just a quick post to thank visitors who ventured out around the grounds over the bank holiday weekend; the weather was kind with blue sky and fluffy clouds passing briskly over our grassy East Park and Lake. If you did visit and snap any photographs – do mail them in, facebook or tweet them to @Comptonverney or #CVGrounds and we’ll share the love!

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New Carp!

An icy day in early March saw our first delivery of fish to the lake known as middle pool, at Compton Verney. Six good-sized Carp were introduced breathing new life into the lake; the first introduction of new stock for many years. Andrew Ellis, a fisheries consultant arrived nice and early with the precious cargo and wasted no time introducing them to us before seeing them off safely into the lake. They were keen to go off and explore, and I guess that is most likely the last time I shall see them! In addition to the new introductions was the first application of calcium carbonate to the middle pool in an attempt to raise the pH (the pool was measured as being slightly acidic last year.) Andrew is a firm believer of the benefits of calcium carbonate treatment and has used this method on many occasions elsewhere to great effect. The application is of course a trial at Compton Verney and could need repeating over many seasons before we see any visible results. However, I’m assured that even this first treatment will cause action in the depths of the lake by triggering the break down of detritus. Although the lake is large, it is slow-moving, and we can only hope that the through-flow doesn’t negate the effect of […]

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Day of a Thousand Plugs

Out in the grounds at Compton Verney tomorrow, we’re playing host to a group of volunteers on behalf of Give & Gain Day 2013. This is an international day of employee volunteering which for the 2012 day saw over 19,000 volunteers from 391 companies take part, for the benefit of over 339 community groups. It is the UK’s biggest day of Employee volunteering.

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Grounds Tour

Interested in gardens, art, plants or landscape history? Or are you planning a visit to view Compton Verney’s stunning collections and exhibitions? You may be interested to hear that whilst on site, you can join me, head of landscape and gardens for a one hour tour of the grounds where I’ll talk about all of the above and more. We shall be walking around the lawns and through the restored path network of the wooded ice house coppice, where I shall describe and point out the key historical development of the grounds, lost and restored features, and of course our valuable plants and wildlife. The grounds tour is a great opportunity to see another, very different side to this magnificent arts venue. Tours are on the first Thursday of each month, at 1:30pm, and are available free to members or for visitors who purchase a collection and grounds ticket – please sign up at ticket desk on arrival. Do come along and show your support for the grounds. I very much look forward to seeing you on the next tour! You can also pick up on our occasional tweets via the Compton Verney Twitter page – just search on #CVGrounds  Gary Webb Head of Landscape and Gardens For […]

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Seeing the woods..and the trees

Forest School at Compton Verney is going from strength to strength. I really do hope that this element of the grounds continues to grow, as I believe it has so much potential. Forest School offers a really special experience to youngsters, engaging them with woodlands in many exciting ways. Gary Webb.

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Green Machines

We were greeted this particular Monday morning by nice sunny weather at Compton Verney. However, whilst it would have been a great day for grass maintenance, the grounds team were booked in for an away day to our nearby neighbours – the National Trust site of Charlecote Park. It would be very easy to slip into the historical links between Compton Verney and Charlecote, especially the Capability Brown connection, but for this post I shall stay with the reason for the invite; which was for a day’s testing of ‘Green’ garden machinery. A range of property teams from across the region had been invited to a trial day which had been arranged in association with Sally Drury on behalf of Horticulture Week magazine – the industry standard magazine for garden and grounds maintenance professionals. The key reason for the day was to put a number of manufacturers machines together in one location, to compare and obtain feedback from a range of operators – a kind of Top Gear special for gardeners but without the attitude! ‘Green’ machines refreshingly were the central focus, battery powered items were therefore the order of the day. We’ve a small but effective range of petrol/diesel fuelled machines at Compton Verney, and with our […]

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Easter Weekend

It’s been a particularly tough week for outdoor workers of late with that chilly east wind dropping the temperatures below freezing even during the daytime, but with Easter and the open season upon us we’ve carried on regardless. By this date we would normally have cut the lawns a few times, spruced up planted areas and would be ‘simply’ blowing the paths of debris each day prior to opening. This year however the winter season refuses to let go, and keeps giving us snow and ice to deal with! At the start of this week the grounds team were busy clearing drives of snow and ice, but thanks to the drying if chilly breeze; we did manage to move onto other tasks as the week progressed. Some of the benches have enjoyed a winter spruce up to keep them lichen and algae free, coppice prunings have been tidied away and stored for re-use, and the courtyard gravel has been levelled and re-levelled following the necessary snow shovelling with the tractor last Saturday. The sunshine is threatening to peek through over Easter, and I hope it brings warmer temperatures for our weekend visitors. It may still be a little cool to sit outdoors, but we’ve been busy in many areas of the grounds, which are all set for the season ahead. The last of the Snowdrops are […]

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Compton Verney Grounds Blog

Welcome to the first post from our eagerly awaited Compton Verney Grounds Blog! This blog is a new venture for the grounds team from spring 2013 and the main objective is to post information about the grade II* listed landscape and garden surrounding the art gallery – Compton Verney. I do hope that the blog will not only become a device for us to share interesting facts, photographs and information, but will also become a place for people to visit and ask questions about the grounds and our work in caring for them. I’m also personally hoping that the blog will us me to show you how We shall try to make each article accurate, informative and worthwhile, and will be looking to add approximately two posts per month. Having said this, other duties may need to take priority during busy periods, so please keep with us if we drift a little now and then! In between posts, you may wish to follow @ComptonVerney on twitter, where you’ll pick up occasional tweets and images from us with the hashtag #CVgrounds Posts will be assembled by grounds staff and volunteers on many aspects of the landscape and gardens at Compton Verney, including: planting, […]

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