The Grounds Team of Compton Verney – A Talented Bunch Indeed!

Earlier this year, when the landscape was cold and damp, the Compton Verney grounds team gathered in the cosy grounds workshop for a day split into thirds. For the first segment of the day the team headed out to explore the wider landscape, including a public footpath that takes in the lengthy lower pool over towards Combrook. Rosy faces returned with chatter about the newly discovered views of the impressive historic landscape. The second segment, after lunch, included some housekeeping items on the agenda before heading into the third and for me; the most risky segment of the day. I had in my wisdom set some homework for the team, and it was in this final session that the results would be revealed – to a good few oh’ s and ah’s, an awkward moment or two, and a fair amount of giggling! Needless to say, the team is a real cross section of talent and experience, and it leads to some fascinating discussions and laughter during work sessions, and especially during break times…I sometimes think the success of our volunteer team hinges largely on the quality of our break time chatter…and the tea, naturally! And so, back to the […]

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The Wilder Side of Compton Verney

As you may know, the park and wider landscape at Compton Verney, as well as being a designed landscape, features many different ecological habitats that are very attractive to wild flowers and creatures. Whilst we naturally manage the venue for its landscape garden qualities, we are also therefore, very much aware of its ecological importance, and we always aim to manage the landscape accordingly. I would even go as far as saying that most of our landscape management regime is based around its wild flora or fauna requirements, as opposed to managing the landscape purely for ornamental reasons. Understanding this, and that around half of the grounds volunteer team have roles devoted to wildlife or habitat recording or management, it wasn’t going to be long before we were ready to stage an event dedicated to The Wilder Side of Compton Verney! Indeed we watched with pride recently whilst our assembled team of naturalists and wildlife champions engaged visitors with the wonderful flora and fauna of Compton Verney and the local area.             Throughout the day a range of displays and activities were assembled to share information on badgers, fungi, moths, trees and wild flowers, along with bees, hedgehogs, birds […]

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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. 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. Squirrels & Badgers Just short of 3000 bulbs are in the process […]

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Compton Verney – A Majestic Landscape

Whilst the exhibitions and the main gallery do not open until Saturday March 17, I take delight in writing this blog post on the very first of the grounds-only open days of the 2018 season at Compton Verney. After a particularly tough winter period where snow and storm force winds have left their mark, I’m glad to say that the paths are swept, the benches have been cleaned, the welcome centre is warm, and the first flowers of the new year stand proudly awaiting their admirers. As an historic property, Compton Verney works in some ways like estates of this size always have, at this moment in time for example, staff are once again busily working indoors to prepare for the season ahead. Staff duties today of course are more about facilities improvement or exhibition preparation, as opposed to beating exotic rugs or buffing up a fireplace grate or twelve! In a less dramatic way the grounds team of today, whilst flexing to take care of elements such as The Clearing, the Woodland Play Area or Bird Hide; have much the same tasks in hand as gardeners would have for the last three hundred years or so. My team continues to evolve the landscape gardens at Compton Verney with a view to embracing all that it is […]

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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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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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Winter in a landscape garden…

A working landscape and expansive ever changing sky…

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