Staffordshire’s Trentham Gardens is already one of the top four most popular paid-for garden attractions in England. But this historic garden regeneration – dubbed the ‘Garden Makeover of the Decade’ in 2014 – continues to innovate and grow, making it one of the UK’s ’must see’ gardens.
Here are our Top 10 things to discover in 2018:
1. One of the largest sequential meadows in the country – acclaimed designer Nigel Dunnett is behind what is arguably the most ambitious meadows scheme of any historic garden or parkland. The perennial meadows will increase in size again for 2018, providing “hot spots’ of colour and interest, especially around the animal sculptures within the gardens and lakeside walk.
2. Woodland walk wall of fragrance – in a first of its kind in the UK, the Zig Zag woodland walk area has been planted with 400 witch-hazels alongside richly scented flowers beneath a canopy of 250-year-old beech and oak woodland creating a new ‘perfumed walk’ of highly scented winter flowering shrubs. In 2018 new planting will add hundreds of thousands of spring flowering bulbs too.
3. Trentham will be THE place to see magnolia – 700 magnolia trees have been planted to date with single species groves in “naturalistic stands” to create a wave of white, pink and claret red. Advised by Jim Gardiner, magnolia expert and RHS ambassador, this unique scale and style of planting of magnolia will continue to mature each year before reaching its full potential in seven years.
4. A-Maze-ing Trentham – annual and perennial meadow areas will offer new features for visitors to discover as they make their way through the Hide and Speak Maze to its viewing mound with stunning views across the lake and West Park.
5. Tulip fever – tulips offer bands of colour from April on the balustrades border, thanks to tens of thousands of yellow and orange tulips, while the upper flower garden boasts tulips and daffodils in pastel colours – baby blue, sugar pinks, yellow primroses, offering an Easter Bonnet colour palette.
6. Bluebells –carpets of bluebells are once again being seen at Trentham Gardens, thanks to clearing work which has improved conditions for this ever-popular May-flowering plant.
7. Autumn colours – Trentham is already a top spot for ‘leaf peeping’, but a combination of existing planting, the new fragrance walks and a woodland entrance glade with 150 flowering dogwoods boasting purple leaf colour will add even more autumn colours for 2018.
8. A twitcher paradise – because of the on-going development of the gardens, they are a wildlife haven, offering feeding spots for flocks of finches (up to 100 at a time during early morning on the meadows) while the lake attracts migrating birds as well as occasional unusual gulls.
9. It’s all in the design – iconic perennial plantings in the Eastern Pleasure Garden by Piet Ouldolf, and in the Italian Gardens by Tom Stuart-Smith, have been maintained and enhanced to provide sensational displays throughout the year.
10. Be inspired – visitors to Trentham who enjoy the sequential meadows can “have a go” at recreating a little bit of Trentham in their own gardens. Like any good recipe, Trentham includes its own “secret ingredients” in its seed mixes. But the best insider tip for anyone inspired by his or her visit is that Trentham Gardens’ main meadowlands seed suppliers are Pictorial Meadows.
For more details about visiting Trentham, see www.trentham.co.uk
Mark Bibby Jackson
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