Four months ago Avebury Manor garden was looking bare and brown, suffering from the effects of box blight which meant some hedging had to be removed and others clipped back hard.
Now the garden, cared for by the National Trust has been transformed with new planting and bright colourful borders masking the on-going battle with the disease.
The prompt, precise and tireless work of Simon Brooks, head gardener at Avebury and his dedicated team of staff and volunteers, has succeeded in preventing the box blight problem from becoming a disaster and instead he’s used it as an opportunity to recreate parts of the garden.
Simon describes the changes they have made: ‘At the time we were very dismayed to have to pull out all the box borders in the Monk’s Garden – it was a real shame, but these were only planted in the 1980’s and what it has done is to give us the opportunity to rethink the design and improve accessibility. We’ve planted ornamental vegetables and flowering plants – cornflowers, sweet peas, dahlias, beans, nasturtiums and cosmos are particularly loved, not only by the visitors, but also by bees and butterflies.’
Stefan Hastilow, Visitor Services Manager added: “Avebury Manor garden is designed as a series of garden rooms. The Topiary, Half Moon East Garden, and South Lawn are typical of a country manor house, whilst the wildflower Orchard, Church Garden and potager style Monk’s garden give a different experience.”
Simon continued: “We want our visitors to feel that they can spend time in the garden, bring a book and have a relax in the steamer chairs, or enjoy a picnic in the Church garden – there’s no rush, it’s a place to be enjoyed. We’ve had some wonderful comments from our visitors, especially our regular ones who have followed our box blight journey with interest, and temporary planting has added even greater interest to other areas of the garden.”
The box blight story at Avebury Manor garden is not over yet, there are still strategies in place to minimise the spread but it is proving to be an excellent example of how it can be managed well with a positive outcome.
For further information about our box blight journey visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/avebury or call 01672 539250.