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30 Aug 2022

Of parterre importance at Pitmedden Garden


[Chris Beardshaw] For me Pitmedden is a real celebration of the bravery of the Trust, to say, 'Here's a section of the garden which is underperforming, that we think we can do something with.'

And the original idea behind the design was very much inspired by what Pitmedden is perhaps most famous for, which is the parterres on the lower terrace, and that was certainly of its time but what we wanted to do here is to reflect it and bring it right up to date.

We went back to the original designs of the historic section of the garden and it's those patterns which are now very subtly imposed as grass paths, through this terrace on the house garden.

[Phil Long] Well we're absolutely delighted to have been given support by Professor Ian Young and his wife Sylvia, who've made very generous donations to the Trust over many years, and in particular have made possible the commissioning of this new garden.

In the new garden design it combines something which is wholly modern, and creates a wonderful new experience for people, but it does it in such a way that it respects the heritage of this place. Chris Beardshaw's design and all the work that he has done with our wonderful team there, reimagines that, if you like, and draws the whole garden together in new ways, and that seems to me to be very special indeed.

[Chris Wardle] Asking a gardener what our favourite plant in a garden is is nearly impossible, it's like asking a parent to pick their favourite child.

We have to decide that in fact gardens need to be less input and higher impact. They need a lot less resources and we shouldn't be using chemicals and fertilizers, and just allowing plants to be the stars of the show; so this one particular area will then inform how we manage the rest of the gardens in this property and other properties in a more sustainable fashion.

[Chris Beardshaw] For me, what is important, is the sense that this garden is appealing to a new generation of gardeners because it looks very different to a conventional Trust garden.

We're using plants in a slightly different way: we're walking amongst the borders, rather than viewing borders from afar. So it's a very immersive, a very connective, experience and also it's about biodiversity: it's about encouraging the birds and the wildlife in, and it's important for people to understand that these are common garden plants. You know if we can grow them here at Pitmedden, you can pretty much grow them at your home, wherever you are.

Gardens are constantly changing, they're transient spaces; they reflect who we are as people and as a society, and so it's absolutely relevant that a garden like this sits right in the heart of historic Pitmedden.

The stunning new parterre at Pitmedden is transforming the way we think about and care for our heritage gardens. Hear from Landscape Designer Chris Beardshaw, Trust Chief Executive Phil Long, and Trust North East Gardens Manager Chris Wardle on what makes the new parterre at Pitmedden so special.

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