Landscape & Garden Update – 13.11.18

Time Flies

Time has certainly flown of late, as you’ll know by the scarcity of landscape articles since the summer! Back we are though with a busy autumn period, and enough on the task list to see us through to the New Year.

First of all I have to make reference to The March of the Imagination, our light up the landscape evenings that finished their run Sunday last. As a landscape focussed lighting experience, #CVMOTI as it became known was one of collaboration and team effort, and its execution was carefully planned to ensure that the event had minimal impact on the landscape and ecology.

A view of Compton Verney mansion and front lawn cedar by night, with hundreds of reflectors lighting the way to the courtyard. Part of The March of the Imagination art installation.
‘Migration’, part of The March of the Imagination.

Light Bulbs To Flower Bulbs

To that end ecologists were employed to review plans for the installation, going on to survey many trees intended to be lit during the event. All, I’m glad to say, was very sensitively arranged.

At this time of year, one of the work activities to keep us busy between the many housekeeping tasks is bulb planting. For 2018 this is a larger than usual challenge thanks to some additional funding intended to boost horticultural interest during the early part of the season.

A work bench in the garden workshop covered with packets, and packets of new bulbs to be planted.
New spring flowers for Compton Verney

Squirrels & Badgers

Just short of 3000 bulbs are in the process of being planted out permanently, in a range of areas. Next spring, if the squirrels and badgers allow, we’ll be able to enjoy Narcissus poeticus ‘Actaea’ beside the path from the welcome centre, these will accompany single snowdrops and wild daffodils already establishing from 2016 and 2017 planting.

A lawn area at Compton Verney with numerous holes dug ahead of bulb planting.
Planting holes dug by the grounds team ready for daffodil bulbs.

Giant Snowdrops

Spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) will be naturalised around the distant fringes of the west lawn, along with snakes’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) – something of a trial. Granted, snowdrops establish more quickly when planted ‘in-the-green’, but we’ve also taken the opportunity to introduce two new snowdrop varieties to Compton Verney, Galanthus nivalis ‘Viridapice’, near to the ice house, and Galanthus woronowii, known as the Giant Snowdrop. Others include wood anemone, scilla siberica, crocus and some dazzling crown imperial bulbs intended literally to lift the colour right up in the air!

Needle like Larch tree foliage turning yellow in the ice house coppice, a woodland garden area at Compton Verney
Larch tree foliage changing colour before leaf drop, one of the few deciduous conifers.

All The Leaves Aren’t Brown

Alas, time is always ishort, but I couldn’t finish this post without reference to the fantastic autumn colour we’re relishing just now. Whether it’s the result of gradually fading temperatures, moist ground conditions, or possibly the stress of the summer heat; it is certainly causing some brilliant hues throughout the park. Above, the maturing Larch trees are buttery yellow, while the oaks throughout the parkland and coppice areas are positively glowing in the low autumn sunshine – exquisite!

Golden brown oak tree foliage illuminated by low autumn sunshine.
Sunshine from the south illuminating oak tree foliage at Compton Verney.

If you’ve an hour or more it is certainly worth a visit to stroll around the paths of the west lawn, to sit in the calmness afforded by the chapel, or to trot around one of the orienteering circuits established in the park.

Until next time…

Gary, Head of Landscape & Gardens, Compton Verney

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