Judy and Jen from the garden team during our Christmas wreath making workshop.
To Uppark this Christmas you really must go
The gardeners as always have put on a show
The Owl and the Pussycat this year is the theme
It’s going to be wonderful, the best ever seen!
The Story begins with an Owl and a Cat
Who went on a Grand Tour – how about that?
They sailed away in a boat of pea green
To magical lands just like in your dreams
They’ll be boats and bong trees, a note and some honey
And don’t let’s forget, the pig ring and money
Oh and Santa too, who is ready and able
To greet you at last, he’ll be in the stable
While you’re waiting to see him, there’s something to do
Make an Owl or Cat mask – which one will you choose?
At Uppark this Christmas you really must be
It’s great fun, so do come, and bring your family!
Uppark House and Garden at Christmas Open on Sundays 11am-3pm plus Saturday 7 December.
Words thanks to Susie Culhane
This year Father Christmas is at Uppark on these dates 1, 7, 8, 15 & 22 December 2013
The garden team have been very busy dressing the Stables this week and it’s a celebration of our wonderful Grand Tour theme in 2013. Earlier in the year we brought you Grand Tour Flowers and for Christmas, come sail with us as we bring you The Owl and the Pussycat.
Once this event is set up, the garden team will be turning their attention to preparing for our first Wreath Making Workshop on 5 December. This is now fully booked and if it’s a success, we may run more workshops next year.
This is a view of the South Downs and out to sea taken on Sunday (10/11/13) from the South Meadow. We’re open again on Sunday (17/11/13) so you can come and see it for yourself. We’ve got sheep grazing on the meadow but you can still appreciate the view. I’m doing conservation talks at 12.00pm and 2.00pm; I’ll talk to you about our plans this Autumn, what the garden team are doing for our Christmas display and what we’ve got planned for next year. Yesterday I gave a talk to Slindon Horticultural Society about Uppark and its people and they were a delightful audience. It was a pleasure to speak to them and to share my time at Uppark with them. Here’s a snapshot of images I used, If you’ve got any questions post a comment on the blog, send me a tweet or talk to me on Sunday. Assistant Gardener Jenny Swatton will be doing the conservation talks on 24/11/13 at 12.00 & 2.00pm.
The garden team travelled to Stourhead on 19 October to see the Autumn colour and to learn about this ‘living work of art’. We were blessed with some beautiful weather and on occasions, the sun emerged to light the arboreal autumn fireworks. Assistant Head Gardener, Penny was our guide and she provided a wonderful insight into the management of this spectacular landscape.
Below, Penny took us to see some really interesting projects; Here she’s talking to us in the walled garden about rainwater capture and the imminent installation of their exciting new Alitex glasshouse. She also spoke to us about the formative training of fruit trees into pyramidal forms where the laterals are pinned down using string anchored to the ground to encourage the development of the desired form. There are many unusual varieties of apples on show in the walled garden and these were colourfully listed on a blackboard nearby.
This view of the Pantheon is just stunning. Penny explained the way the cherry laurels are managed in the foreground to maintain this view; A team of volunteers prune the laurels next to the path by hand. Further in, the laurels are cut by a team of gardeners with hedge trimmers where the damage to the leaf is less noticeable and the clippings are left to gradually decompose into the landscape.
I was particularly interested in the management of their tree stock. Penny stopped at a lovely Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) that had recently been worked on to reduce the ‘end weight’ of some of the extended limbs, this was done primarily due to its proximity to the path. She revealed Alan Power, Stourhead’s Gardens and Parks Manager is a skilled Arborist and had worked on this particular tree. It was a great example of discrete and judicious pruning to maintain the form and health of a tree. This tree has also been braced using a tree support system specially designed to be flexible and shock-absorbing.
Above: One of the ‘Champion’ Tulip trees (Liriodendron tulipifera)
My lasting impression was the immense scale of Stourhead. I will take ideas and concepts back to Uppark and scale them down for use there, aware that visitors do just that when visiting Uppark and scale down to suit their own gardens.
Penny explained the garden team have around 10 volunteers and are looking for a few more so if you fancy volunteering here contact them here: 01747 841152 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Uppark House (original image Clive Blott)
This year we’ve got a special Halloween treat – over half term we’re running not one but two quiz trails. There’s our mythical creatures garden quiz trail for younger children and our brand new quiz set in the spooky tunnels – a murder mystery…can you piece together the clues to find out who dunnit?
Uppark Tunnels (image Russell Baker)
As it’s the first year we’ve run the tunnel riddle we’ve recruited some home educating trail blazers of our own to test it out next week. So huge thanks to the Gallivanters - they’re regular visitors to Uppark and big fans of the National Trust and their home-educating family membership packs.
Assistant Gardener Jenny has created the murder mystery tale and we’d love to hear your comments… and if you’ve got any pictures use #Uppark in any of your messages so we can see them!
Partnerships – Alitex and Harting School
We’ve got two partnerships that we’re really proud of at Uppark. One is Alitex, a local glasshouse and conservatory manufacturer and the other is Harting School and the garden team are thrilled to keep these lovely relationships going. We loved the Grand Tour flowers event earlier in the year, where children from the school produced floral arrangements of Belgium and Germany using flowers picked from Uppark garden to represent the countries visited as part of the ‘Grand Tour,’ our theme for this year.
Many of the flowers that were used in the displays, particularly the beautiful Dahlias were started off in the glasshouses at Alitex. The company are in partnership with the National Trust and for every sale of a ‘National Trust’ glasshouse they donate 5% to the Trust and their contribution for last year totalled a massive £66,500. I adore working with Alitex, they’re a delightful company to work with and a generous one too.
Alitex also contributed to our Grand Tour flowers event by producing a stunning blue and white display (below) to represent ‘Greece’, it proved to be a very popular arrangement, as has the partnership!
We’d also like the school to be involved in some way with our Christmas theme of ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. We’re continuing the ‘Grand Tour’ travel theme and where last year we had a winter woodland wonderland complete with a camp fire, this year we’ll have a beautiful pea-green boat where the children can ‘sail away for a year and a day’ in time to be seen by Santa. They’ll be able to make a mask while they wait and we’re inviting them to be an owl or a pussycat.
Father Christmas at Uppark 1, 7, 8, 15 & 22, Dec 11am-3pm
Make it a special visit to Uppark to see a very important person. Adult £3.50 Child £5.50 No need to book.
Last week I visited colleagues at Wimpole Estate (National Trust) a place where my horticultural crimes and misdemeanours were committed before moving to Uppark House and Garden to wreak havoc there. I spent (almost) three hugely rewarding years at Wimpole, cutting my National Trust teeth and I got to do some pretty exciting things there. I chanced my luck and submitted a design proposal to the Head Gardener and subject to the late inclusion of a swathe of Rudbeckia, the planting plan was approved. Many of the plants were propagated from existing herbaceous material on site and once the plant list was circulated around the team, offers of plants started flooding in, and so it began. That was 2007 and the first plants went in during the spring of 2008.
In April 2010, we planted the Cherry walk borders and I imagined solid blocks of planting to carry the eye across the beautiful orchard and beyond to the long herbaceous borders. I didn’t want visitors to see the magnificent Soane glasshouse, just yet, I wanted them to linger just a little bit longer. I’m really happy with the development of these borders, the team have stuck with the design principles and strengthened them with some knockout planting.
Wimpole volunteer Emily has been responsible for leading the Apricot border care and development since 2009 and she’s done an amazing job. As hard as it was for me to leave this fabulous project, it was great to know it was in her capable hands. The borders are still looking wonderful as are the fruit trees in the orchard, beautifully maintained by Assistant Gardener Matt, so drop in if you’re in the area and have a look.
Looking across the Cherry walk borders, beyond the orchard to the long Apricot walk borders.
Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Verbena bonariensis and Penstemon ‘Andenken an Friedrich Hahn’ (formerly known as ‘Garnet’)
Verbena bonariensis and Spartina pectinata ‘Aureomarginata’
Cherry walk borders featuring Rudbeckia fulgida var. ‘Goldsturm’ and Kniphofia ’Tetbury Torch’ and Stipa gigantea
Apricot walk borders
Present ideas? This would make a great Birthday or Christmas gift and is available in the Uppark House and Garden shop. The Wimpole borders are featured on pages 168 & 169.
Join us this weekend for our Heritage Open Days as we celebrate Harvest time at Uppark with our event Harvest Home.
We’re open both days and on Saturday…it’s free admission!
We’ve been harvesting in the garden too…