Sustainability in the gardens
Waddesdon is investing in a more sustainable horticultural and garden management plan, reducing waste, replanting bulbs, using green manures and dedicating vast areas of the grounds to wildflower meadows.
Changes in the gardens
Over the past year or so, you may have noticed changes around the gardens. We’re excited that we’re shifting the way we manage them in order to achieve a more sustainable garden, a lower carbon footprint and reducing the waste we create.
We are in a period of transition and while the gardens may not be as polished as in previous years, they are healthier, more environmentally friendly and are gearing up for some incredible late summer colour.
Traditionally we have planted the formal gardens up twice each year with thousands of plants creating vibrant, seasonal displays. However these impressive displays also created immense amounts of wastage. We are reducing the waste by up to 80% by shifting to herbaceous planting that will need replanting every three years instead of twice a year.
Visitors will still enjoy flamboyant Victorian planting using annuals but it will be at the Aviary and focussed to the central Parterre beds, and will be framed by herbaceous flowers such as Lavender and a variety of Salvia species. This reinterpretation of grandiose Victorian bedding is part of our ambition to be more responsible in the way we manage the gardens.
In addition to reducing waste, we are now recycling our use of plants. Plants you see on display this year will be nurtured in our greenhouses on the estate and will then be repositioned in the gardens next year for new displays.
Over the last few years, we have given much focus to planting bulbs that will inject natural swathes of colour across the gardens. Working with local school children we have planted hundreds of thousands of bulbs, including daffodils, tulips and snowdrops, and are planning to plant another 100,000 more this autumn.
We want to play our part in respecting and protecting the world we live in. The herbaceous plants we are now using around the gardens are more robust than annuals and require less insecticide, both reducing our carbon footprint and nourishing wildlife.
We have embarked on an ambitious programme of restoring and embellishing meadows across the gardens, initially by reducing the level of mowing. The appearances of rare wildflower species such as orchids and the showy Saxifraga granulate are a result of this approach.
An increasing proportion of our machinery is now electric, meaning they are quieter, safer to use and they release virtually no emissions.
We are also working closely with the estates department who macerate the tonnes of woody arisings we generate each year from pruning which we then turn into compost to improve the health of our soil.
Regular visitors will know our 3D birds well, a tradition introduced by Miss Alice who was a keen and innovative horticulturist. These birds take a month to plant up and are usually on display for just the summer months.
From this year, we will be planting a 3D pheasant up with herbaceous plants and it will be on display from September for an entire year.