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The Winter Garden at Wakehurst

Having recently undergone a radical redesign, the Winter Garden at Wakehurst in Sussex, the sister garden to Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, is a truly immersive experience of scent, colour and textures.


GAP Photos/Richard Bloom - Owner: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Feature No:   4336 

Qty of Images:    74 


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Francis Annette the garden supervisor at Wakehurst drew his inspiration for the garden from both a familiarity with the location itself and having spent time studying the surrounding natural landscape. Providing him with a deep understanding of what nature left to its own devices does in winter. Observing that in wild open spaces the natural landscape is not eclectic. There are individual species in vast numbers naturally creating scale and emotional impact. Hillsides are edged with ribbons of trees naturally creating boundaries merging into forest glades. Francis has reflected this in the expanse of low growing heather, Erica darleyenis which creates a breath-taking carpet of delicate white flowers. Elsewhere the natural landscape is evoked with the ribbons of plants creating long views and a sense of movement. The design creates fluid tiers with low growing tundra style merging with taller trees in the centre of the site. Being Wakehurst they were keen to source and display unusual plants, for example the new growth of the Rhododendron yakushimanum with its frosty looking silvery foliage. The rare Daphne bholua var. glacialis ‘Rupina La’ fills the air with its heady and glorious scent. Instead of the more common Galanthus nivalis they have planted Galanthus woronowii which while it flowers less floriferously, is more subtle and delicate. This feature illustrates the beauty of winter flowering plants, planted within a design inspired by mother nature herself, when the shapes are clearly defined and the colours fresh and vibrant illuminated by a low winter sun and bright blue skies.



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