Woolbeding Gardens open for a new season

THE massive tulip tree for many years a focal point on the lawn in front of Woolbeding House was blown down in the great storm of 1987, but now it has been brought back to life.

The wood from the tree has been stored away for more than 25 years and used for several projects.

Camesias in the garden at Woolbeding

Camesias in the garden at Woolbeding

Now one of the last remaining pieces has been used to make a stylish new counter at the visitor entrance to Woolbeding Gardens.

It has been made by carpenter Adrian Erry, who has his workshop at Woolbeding Gardens.

And it is the focal point of the entrance and ticket office in the former cowshed which has been given a major facelift for the start of the National Trust garden’s third opening season to the public.

Head gardener Paul Gallivan told the Observer: “This is something that very much fits in with the history of the garden and it’s all about recycling and bringing the property to life.”

The area and a new cafe set up next door has been given a 19th-century shabby chic French feel, designed to link in with the house and including distinctive wooden chandeliers and understated tables and chairs.

The new look entrance is one of several new features for visitors to the garden this year.

In the vegetable garden, Pippa Richardson has created an eye-catching display using 1,200 lettuces to form the points of the compass in green Winter Density, pink Lollo Rossa and dark-leaved Nymans varieties.

Beside the mesmerising steel wineglass-shaped water sculpture by artist William Pye, the crumbling wall next to the churchyard has been reconstructed for the new season in traditional lime mortar with new planting in a border underneath it.

And behind the church, gardeners spent the autumn planting 2,500 camissias and 10,000 jonquils which have resulted in a magnificent new display for the start of the season.

The garden is open for pre-booked visitors on Thursdays and Fridays until the end of September.